Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour 2020: Sony Open Preview

PGA Tour 2020: Sony Open Preview

What a wonderful location for the very first full-field event of the calendar year. The Sony Open actually dates back to the 20’s but only became an official PGA Tour event in 1965. Back then it was known simply as the Hawaiian Open. Once again, picturesque Waialae Country Club will play host to the event.
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

US PGA Tour | Sony Open
Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii 
Thursday 9 January 2020 - Sunday 12 January 2020

Justin Thomas emerged victorious in a quite enthralling appetizer to the year’s action at the Plantation Course. He held off the advances of fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele, setting down a strong marker for the season to come. What a wonderful location for the very first full-field event of the calendar year. The Sony Open actually dates back to the 20’s but only became an official PGA Tour event in 1965. Back then it was known simply as the Hawaiian Open. Sony came on as a sponsor in 1998 and have recently extended their partnership to 2022. Once again, picturesque Waialae Country Club will play host to the event.

Waialae was designed by Seth Raynor and is really dependent on windy conditions for defence. Winds were quite blustery at the Plantation Course last week and are expected to gust for the first three days here. This course is fairly short and obviously exposed to coastal winds. Stats suggest that driving accuracy is more crucial than distance. However, it’s what you do from the fairways that is really going to matter this week. Guys with Jedi-like iron control will fare better than bombers this week. Since 1996, only Russell Henley and Patton Kizzire have won this event without playing it twice already. This is a course that rewards familiarity.

Justin Thomas is in supreme form and returns to a venue where he holds the 72-hole course record. It would take a brave man to completely discount the impressive Thomas. Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson are other notable attendees. Elsewhere, 2019 Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im will look to carry on with his current excellent form. Hideki Matsuyama has also slowly re-established himself as a real contender to compete on a weekly basis.

Past Winners
2019: Matt Kuchar (-22)
2018: Patton Kizzire (-18)*playoff
2017: Justin Thomas (-27)
2016: Fabian Gomez (-20)*playoff
2015: Jimmy Walker (-23)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Justin Thomas (11/2)
Webb Simpson (11/2)
Patrick Reed (12/1)
Hideki Matsuyama (16/1)
Collin Morikawa (18/1)


Value Bets

Sungjae Im
To Win (20/1), To Place (44/10)

Sungjae Im is one of those guys that I tend to pick from time to time. He developed a wonderful habitual instinct for contending in his rookie year. Last year’s Rookie of the Year was recently the joint top point scorer in the President’s Cup. He also finished in a tie for 16th on debut here last season. That bodes well considering the fact that experience has proved so vital to success here. He has been in impressive form of late, finishing in a tie for 11th at the WGC HSBC Champions and a tie for 3rd at the Zozo Championship. He currently sits 6th on tour for shots gained putting and 4th for birdie average.

Brian Stuard
To Win (55/1), To Place (22/1)

Brian Stuard gets my vote when looking slightly off the beaten track. He has started the year in extremely solid fashion and is yet to miss a cut thus far. But it’s his course form that really intrigues, making him a potent combination of form and history. He has picked up two top 10 finishes over the last three years. He actually has a total of four top 10 finishes at the Sony Open. Perhaps the underlying reason for such consistent form in this event lies in his driving statistics. He has ranked inside the top 10 for driving accuracy on tour for each of the past four years.

The Man to Beat

Collin Morikawa
To Win (18/1), To Place (39/10)

Fresh off the college scene, Collin Morikawa was always primed to be a success. He actually tasted victory in just his 8th PGA Tour start, capturing the Barracuda Championship. Morikawa showed tremendous levels of consistency in his rookie season, failing to miss a cut and amassing six top 20 finishes. He made his debut at the Plantation Course last week, finishing in an ominous tie for 7th. He may not have officially played this event before, but the American has deep local knowledge through his familial ties to the island. Morikawa’s accuracy-based game should make him an excellent choice this week.

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