PGA Sony Open in Hawaii Handicapping Preview & Betting Tips

by | Jan 8, 2019 | Golf

Matchup at a Glance

Course: Waialae Country Club

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Date & Time: Thursday, Jan. 10 – Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019



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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 the young lion Xander Schauffele come out of nowhere and win the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  

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

Last year, we saw Patton Kizzire win the Sony Open for the first time and this year it should be a great tournament, with several of the big names participating on the beautiful Hawaii Islands.

Sony Open in Hawaii Overview

The Sony Open takes place from the 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 13 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 2 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
  • Scrambling
  • Greens In Reg
  • Strokes Gained: Tee To Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Ball Striking
  • Par 4 Birdie or Better
  • Par 4 Scoring
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Gary Woodland +1400 at GTBets for 2 units

Woodland is coming off a strong showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions Tournament last week and many, including myself, expect him to have a big season in the PGA. Woodland is really playing some great golf right now and if he can carry his momentum over from last week, he should definitely be there at the end on Sunday.  His putting does concern me a bit but there were a few tournaments last year that his putting caught on and his overall performance was very strong! What makes me really like him is his approach shots are some of the best in the tournament and that is what is the most important stat for us this week.


Cameron Smith +2907 at Bookmaker for 1 unit

Smith isn't getting the odds that I thought he would coming into this one.  He has played here the last 3 years and has improved each year. He was 81st in 2016, then went up to 27th in 2017 and last year, he finished in 18th place.  Smith is fresh off a win in his last tournament, which was Australian PGA Championship in his hometown and a 10th place finish at the Emirates Australian Open, also in his homeland.  The Aussie now comes back to the PGA Tour and will be looking to improve on his 29th ranking in the OWGR.


Kyle Stanley +4250 at Bookmaker for 1 unit

Stanley is playing in his first tournament since the end of October 2018 and this is the ideal tournament for him. His approach shots and accuracy have always been one of his key traits and it will help him drastically this week at the Sony Open.  Stanley finished in 10th place last year and if he puts up a tad bit better performance this year, he will be there on Sunday competing for the victory.


Scott Piercy +6000 at MyBookie for 1 unit

Piercy is playing really good golf right now.  He is coming off a 19th placed finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week and prior to that, he placed 6th at the OHL Classic in Mexico.  He has 4 straight top 20 finishes and holds entirely too much value for this tournament.


Shugo Imahira +15000 at MyBookie for 1/2 unit

Imahira is one of the more interesting players in this tournament.  He is very accurate and has strong fairway numbers, both of which will benefit him here.  He played here last year, and didn’t do hateful knowing it was his first time in the tournament.  His odds are just too strong to ignore here! He is coming off a 12th, 8th, 13th, 8th, 12th,4th, 4th, and a 1st place finish in his last 8 tournaments.  Definitely worth a ½ unit.


Cameron Smith over Paul Casey +140 for 2 units

I normally like Paul Casey but I really wasn't impressed with his performance last week.  He sort of floated under the radar and never really competed for the lead. On the other side, I really like Smith this year and think he is in for a big season.  He has made it known that he wants to compete at the highest level this year and take his game to the next level.  I think he has what it takes to win this tournament, if not at least a top 5 finish. 

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