PGA Tour: Sony Open Preview

Golfer line sup iron shot

Yet another stop in the ‘Hawaiian Swing’ sees a fairly robust field compete in the first full-field event of the season: the Sony Open.


Players will be keen The Sony Open actually dates way back to the 20’s and became a regular season event on the PGA Tour in 1965. This will be the 21st year that Sony has been a sponsor of the event and it has renewed its sponsorship role till 2022. Waialae Country Club in Honolulu will once again play host to this event.

The Sony Open | 10 - 13 January | Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii 

The course was designed by Seth Raynor and is a typically short, tree-lined coastal course. It has small Bermuda greens and typically plays far tougher when the wind gets up. Predictions seem to suggest that there are unlikely to be mammoth gusts this week, which should encourage low scoring. The course only has two par 5’s and fairly tough par 3’s. Par four scoring could prove critical this week. This course is famed for its mirroring of famous holes, with the 10th hole a direct parallel to St Andrew’s ‘Road Hole’.

Several of the players involved in last week’s Tournament of Champions will be teeing it up once again. Perhaps the man with most to prove will be Gary Woodland, who looked set to win wire-to-wire before Xander Schauffele’s final round heroics. Course specialist Justin Thomas will be looking to regain some lost momentum while Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed will no doubt attract large galleries this week. Defending champion Patton Kizzire will look to rekindle some magic as his season rather fizzled out towards the back end last year.

Past Winners
2018: Patton Kizzire (-17)*playoff
2017: Justin Thomas (-27)
2016: Fabian Gomez (-20)*playoff
2015: Jimmy Walker (-23)
2014: Jimmy Walker (-17)

To Win Outright:
Justin Thomas 7/1 | Bryson DeChambeau 10/1 | Jordan Spieth 14/1 | Gary Woodland 14/1 | Mark Leishman 20/1

Value Bets

Hideki Matsuyama- To Win 28/1, To Place 6/1
Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama stood on the brink of world domination towards the end of 2017. He captured the WGC Firestone Championship in fine style and narrowly missed out on his maiden Major at the PGA Championship. But 2018 proved an extremely tough year for Matsuyama. But there is no doubting his massive potential and his last two appearances suggested a possible return to form. Consecutive 18th place finishes at the CJ Cup and Hero World Challenge could be the start of a Japanese resurgence. He should benefit from a long layoff and diminished expectations.

Kevin Kisner- To Win 33/1, To Place 7/1
The metronomic Kevin Kisner has become a regular contender on tour and always relishes this period of the season. The 34-year-old is an eight-time winner on tour and boasts a fine record on this very course. He averages 66.42 around Waialae Country Club and boasts two top fives over the last three years. That comprised of a third in 2017 and a fifth in 2016. Kisner is a past master in windy conditions, though most predictions seem to anticipate a fairly tranquil weekend. Regardless, Kisner’s performances on corollary courses such as Sea Island make him an enticing prospect at 33/1.

Brian Harman- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Another in the Kisner mould of deathly accuracy, Harman’s season waned fairly noticeably towards the tail end of last year. Harman was in contention for five early events last season, which included a real push at Waialae. He was actually the halfway leader after shooting rounds of 64 and 63. He ultimately tied for fourth after a slightly lacklustre Sunday. Harman finished in a tie for 13th here in 2015 and 2016, which clearly demonstrates his suitability to this course: his prodigious par four scoring is no doubt a huge asset around here. Harman won the QBE Shootout around a month ago alongside Patton Kizzire, with Kizzire effusive in his praise for Harman’s game. 60/1 seems more than reasonable.

The Man to Beat- Jordan Spieth- To Win 14/1, To Place 3/1
2018 will go down as a year to forget for the young Texan. Spieth never even qualified for the season-ending Tour Championship. Having said that, he could have won at both Augusta and Carnoustie. So not all is doom and gloom for one of the most talented players of his generation. Spieth just has to exorcise those putting demons and he will no doubt be amongst the winner’s circle again. He was third round here in 2017 and scores brilliantly on par fours: he was third on the PGA Tour for Par four Scoring last season. Spieth is a class act and will be gutted following last year’s winless campaign.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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