Waialae Country Club has hosted the Sony Open since 1965 (except 1970), which is the fourth longest standing course to host a tournament on the PGA TOUR. Having said that, course experience isn’t as important in Honolulu as it is at a course like Augusta National — we’ve seen Johnson Wagner miss the cut three straight times before winning in 2012, Russell Henley win in his first start back in 2013 and Fabian Gomez claim victory back in 2016 after missing the cut twice and recording a 67th as his best finish before that. We’ve also seen some of the absolute best do well here like world No. 4 Justin Thomas win twice and Matt Kuchar gain 17 strokes last year on his way to a four-shot victory over Andrew Putnam. We’ve also seen those who qualified at Kapalua the week previous have success in Oahu, with seven of the past eight winners at the Sony Open playing in The Tournament of Champions the week prior. Waialae CC will set up as a Par 70, measure 7,044 yards and again be putt on Bermuda greens.
Looking back at the winners and their odds is quite interesting. The average number of the past winners dating back to 2012 is +6250 with the highest coming from Johnson Wagner at +15000 in 2012 and the shortest coming from both Jimmy Walker (2015) and Justin Thomas (2017) at +1200.
If you already read my previous article on DK Playbook, you know I like Patrick Reed at +1200, Sungjae Im at +2600 and Harry Higgs at +17500 (Top-5 +2800, Top-5 +1200), but there’s a couple more guys we should be considering this week at Waialae CC.
PGA HIGH OR LOW
Joaquin Niemann to Win +3500Niemann notched his first PGA TOUR victory earlier this season at The Old White at TPC, which is another Par 70, and had a solid performance in Kapalua finishing inside the top 5 after leading at the end of the first round. His low-ball flight off the tee should help if the conditions get windy, but it’s his par 4 scoring that should be on display this week finishing ninth in the field at Kapalua gaining 3.1 strokes. He’s young and should have a ton of confidence coming into this season after a strong Swing Season.
J.T. Poston to Win +5000You’ll notice a trend with Niemann, Reed and now Poston, which is to get exposure to guys who played in Maui. While Poston lost 2.7 strokes in ball-striking, he gained five strokes on the greens, which ultimately allowed him to finish just outside the top 10. Poston won’t be able to just rely on his putting this week, he’ll need to rely on his ability to score on Par 4s where he ranks ninth over his last 36 rounds.
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