PGA Sony Open Handicapping Preview & Betting Tips

by Earl Campbell | January 6, 2020 |

The PGA gets into full swing this week with a full tournament of players and a regular cut with the Sony Open.  

Last week, we saw Justin Thomas take the lead, then give it up again, only to come back and win the first tournament of the season, the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions, in a playoff with Patrick Reed and Xander Schaufelle.  

This week, we stay in Hawaii and handicap the Sony Open in Honolulu.  

Sony Open in Hawaii Overview

The Sony Open takes place from Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. Waialae CC is a 7,044 yards golf course that plays out as a Par 70.  There is a huge difference between last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions compared to this week at the Sony Open.

Last week, golfers were less worried about hitting fairways because they were enormous and nearly impossible to miss. This week, that will not be the case. The course is completely different and is much more difficult of a course.  

Trees line the greens and make the approach shots so much more important.  Waialae Country Club is one of the toughest courses each year on tour for driving.  To give you a better understanding of just how tough this course is off the tee, over the last 14 years, less than half of all tee shots ended up in the fairway!!!  

That being said, just because there are a ton of trees on the course, does not mean that the wind of Hawaii is any less of a factor. You will need to make sure that your golfers are able to play in the windy conditions or you are wasting your time and money investing in them because I can almost guarantee that it will be a factor this week.  

The greens at Waialae are small and are made up of Bermuda Greens.  They are fast and tough to putt on. Fabian Gomez won this tournament 3 years ago by crushing everyone else in Strokes Gained: Putting and that has been a trend of the top finishers here at the Sony Open.  

System Attributes

We are going to focus on several factors this week for the Sony Open.  First and foremost, we will pay close attention to Strokes Gained: Approach The Green.  

As we said earlier, these greens are lined with trees so the approach shots will be very important this week.  If you want to score on this course, you MUST have a good approach shot.

Staying on that same thought process, we will put a decent amount of weight into Greens in Reg and Scrambling.  I think this week will come down to who plays the best around these greens. We will also be using the following:

  • Strokes Gained: Approach The Green
  • Greens In Reg
  • Strokes Gained: Tee To Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Ball Striking
  • Par 4 Birdie or Better
  • Par 4 Scoring

Additionally, there are two trends that you should be aware of when picking your golfers this week. 

  1. 7 out of the last 8 winners of the Sony Open, played in the Tournament of Champions the week prior
  2. The last 8 Sony Open winners were T6 or better in one of their last three tournaments that they played in.  


Webb Simpson – No one in this tournament sets up better for this week, than Webb Simpson.  He punches all the boxes for us and while his odds aren’t all that great, we are absolutely in love with him this week.  Simpson has improved his finishing spot in each of the 8 times he has played here at the Sony Open, with his latest finish coming in 4th place in 2018.  Simpson is the ONLY golfer this week that ranks inside the Top 25 in every system attribute we are using, and one of the best approach hitters. 

Sung-Jae Im – Im played here last year and ended up finishing in 16th place.  Not bad for a first time playing on a course that is actually tough on golfers without much accuracy. Im isn’t known for being an accurate golfer but rather a smart player that uses his approach shot to score.  Im has very good numbers in Par 4 Performance and will be a very strong candidate to win this week. 

Corey Conners – Conners is one of the few golfers that both played last week in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and also finished inside the Top 6 in one of his last 3 tournaments.  Conners finished in 3rd place here last year and sets up really well for this week.  

Sebastian Munoz – Munoz played here for the first time last year and played well, finishing in 10th place out of 150 golfers.  He is another golfer that both played last week in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and also finished inside the Top 6 in one of his last 3 tournaments.  He finished 17th last week in the Tournament of Champions and came 3rd in the RSM Classic. Expect a big showing this week out of Munoz at really strong odds.  

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