Sony Open Betting Preview

Sony Open Betting Preview

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Sony Open Betting Preview

This week, the Tour stays in Hawaii for the first full-field event of 2019, the Sony Open. What better way to ease yourself into a new year on the PGA Tour than spending a week in Hawaii?

The Sony Open has been recognised officially since its modern-day inception in 1965 and has been contested every year since, barring 1970 when the event moved from November to February. With Waialae Country Club playing host to this event from the beginning, there is plenty of history and it is one of the most recognisable stops on Tour.


2017 winner, Justin Thomas returns to the Sony Open again, two years on from his Hawaii double. Winning the Sony Open two years ago, a week after his Tournament of Champions victory highlights what can be achieved when in good form and acclimatised to conditions. With a week of battling the Hawaiian winds under his belt, Thomas can go into this week full of confidence once again. The last five winners have all played the Tournament of Champions the week before, so it’s worth keeping that in mind, when considering Thomas, or anyone else for that matter. 3rd behind the impressive Xander Schauffele and Gary Woodland, Thomas is clearly in form and capable of winning this title for a second time.

Bryson DeChambeau tees it up for his second Sony Open start this week, hoping to better his T49 finish in 2017. A four-time PGA Tour winner since his debut here, plenty will be expected of the man who appears to be centre of attention most weeks. If it’s not his one-length clubs, it’s putting with the flagstick in that keeps Bryson’s name on everyone’s lips, even when he’s not winning. The latter is all that matters though and his win tally speaks for itself. The youngster can build on his 7thplace finish last week, and what he learned here two years ago, so we should expect a better performance this time around.

Gary Woodland faced heartbreak in more ways than one last week, so no one would begrudge him a win this week, at a course he’s performed well at in this past. Woodland lost his Grandmother whilst in Hawaii last week, but still managed to post four rounds of 68 or better, including a bogey-free 68 on Sunday, when starting the day with a three shot lead. Despite the lead he had built, and his spectacular final round, Woodland still couldn’t claim victory, due to Schauffele’s course-record tying, 62 (-11) on the final day. Woodland who won his third PGA Tour title at last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, has now finished T8 or better in 5 of his last 6 starts, including two runner-up finishes, so is clearly in the form of his life. Last week may be a further sign that he’s ready to go from nearly man, to a perennial winner in the coming years, and this spot is perfect for him to claim another victory. Three top-7’s and a 13th in his last four starts at Waialae, it is clear Woodland likes this course, and he may go better than his T3 finish here in 2015, assuming he doesn’t withdraw following his Grandmother’s passing.

One player who will want to quickly put 2018 in the rear view is Jordan Spieth. The Texan had a year to forget, going a calendar year without victory for the first time since 2014, failing to build on his three-win season in 2017. His putter didn’t cooperate last year, and with much of his success being built upon holing miraculous putts, when that goes so does his game – to an extent. 11 PGA Tour victories, of which three are major championships, Spieth has already had a career that many could only dream of, and he’s still just 25. With time on his side, Spieth will keen to prove he has plenty more to offer, and a fast start here can set the tone for the rest of 2019. In three starts at this course Spieth missed one cut on debut before finishing 3rd and 18th, so there’s obviously something he likes about this event.

Another player who was in the hunt last week, and has won recently is Australian, Marc Leishman. Leishman won the CIMB Classic back in October, romping home to a five-stroke victory. 2nd at the Australian PGA and T4 last week in two of his three starts since, Leishman is clearly a man in stellar form, and he also has previous at this course. In nine starts here, the Aussie has never missed the cut and whilst most instances have seen him finish down 20th or below, he does have three top-12’s here. A best finish of 5th here, Leishman will look to capitalise on his recent form and better his record here, by winning his 5th PGA Tour title.

Patrick Reed is playing here for the first time since missing the cut on debut in 2013, and he will be looking to turn his form around. Since finishing T2 in Dubai and T7 at the WGC in China, at the tail-end of 2018, Reed has struggled. T45 in Hong Kong, 11th in an 18-man field in the Bahamas and 25th out of 33 players last week, this is not the kind of form expected of a reigning Masters champion. He does however have a tendency to play well, just as people are starting to overlook him, such is his character, and it is rarely a surprise when he wins, given his talent level. Strong winds won’t suit Reed, but if conditions can remain relatively calm, he will look to take advantage.

There is a huge buzz around long-hitter, Cameron Champ this season, and to this point he has not disappointed. He won the Sanderson Farms Championship on just his second start as a PGA Tour member, and followed that up with top-10 finishes at the Mayakoba (T10) and RSM Classic (T6). One over-par round last week (74), which could have been a lot worse were it not for three birdies in his last four holes, cost Champ a chance of a top-5 finish, but he impressed again nonetheless. This may not appear the ideal spot for Champ, but the same would have been said at the RSM Classic and he played well enough there, so it will take a brave soul to write him off here. His extraordinary power will not be required here, with plenty of opportunity to leave driver in the bag, so it will be good to see if he stands out as much here. The new star of the PGA Tour is the name on many lips at the moment and he’s so far justifying the hype.

Dark Horses

Following his recent return to the winners’ circle, after an 11-year absence, Charles Howell III should be full of confidence as he prepares for his second week in Hawaii. Howell could only manage a T14 finish in the 33-man field last week, but he bounced back well from an opening round 74, getting progressively better as the week went on (70-69-69). Since 2008, Howell has four top-5, two 8th’s, a 13th and a 100% strike rate in cuts made in his eleven starts here. His recent win may be enough to get him over the line again, on a course where he should probably already have a win to his name. His best effort was a T2 finish in 2012, where he and Luke Donald finished one shot shy of eventual winner, Paul Goydos.

Zach Johnson is well known for repeat performances, picking up the label of “course horse” at multiple spots. He won twice at; TPC Sugarloaf (BellSouth Classic, AT&T National), La Cantera GC (Valero Texas Open) and Colonial (Crowne Plaza), not to mention his exploits at TPC Deere Run (win and multiple top 5’s), so it’s fair to say he has his favourites. This is all worth mentioning, because it’s a similar case here, as Johnson has a victory (2009) and three top-10’s here since 2008. Just one missed cut amongst those 11 starts, and top-14 finishes in each of his last three here, Johnson is worth a bet after finishing T7 at the RSM Classic last time out. Johnson has also won down the road at the Tournament of Champions (2014) to add to his chances.

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