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Sony Open Course Preview and Betting Picks

Course: Waialae Country Club

Par 70, 7,044 Yards

 

The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii for another week with 22 of the 33 golfers from the Sentry Tournament of Champions making the short trip over to Oahu. One interesting note off the bat is that 14 of the 20 Sony Open winners have played at Kapalua the week before. The Sony Open is the 1st full field event with 144 players. Waialae CC was founded in 1927 and designed by Seth Raynor. The putting greens are Bermuda and run at a 11 stimpmeter rating.

There are total of 84 bunkers and 9 water hazards throughout the course. Several holes are patterned after famous holes found on  other courses. For example, the signature 17th hole is a Redan hole. Par is a great score on this par 3 with 5 bunkers surrounding the green. The 1st hole is built mimicking the famous road hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews. It is former par 5 that now plays as a 480 yard par 4. Waialae CC plays as a birdie fest with -17 under or better as the winning score in the last 6 years. Justin Thomas set the course record in 2017 with a 1st round 59 and -27 winning tournament score. I was fortunate to experience his record winning tournament first hand. The first thing you notice while walking the course is how narrow the fairways are. Although the fairways are hard to hit, there is barely any rough.

A lot of the other courses in Hawaii have punishing rough that pulls your club when you find it, but you just don’t see it as much at Waialae. This gives grip and rip it players the green light as they can use wedges into the easy greens to hit. The course will be won on putting and ball striking. Par 3s tend to play over par as the scoring average was 3.074 last year. Both of the Par 5s are reachable in 2 with a scoring average of 4.25 yards. 7 holes played under par last year with the majority of them in the back 9. There are a few changes to the course from last year. The 18th green is now 33% bigger and the greenside bunker on the right is removed. Also, the 10th green has doubled in size and a fairway bunker has been removed from the hole. Wind should not be an issue this week with the current forecast of winds below 10 mph and temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

 

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The Sony Open Six Pack

 

Cameron Champ 25/1

We all know about his length off the tee, which he can take advantage of on this course. Champ also comes in with tremendous form and unlike many players he has already played a fair share of golf in the 2018-2019 PGA season. He has not finished outside the Top 30 in any of the 7 events. Champ is currently ranked 3rd in Birdie average, 5th in SG: Off The Tee, and 26th in SG: Putting this season.

 

Cameron Smith 26/1

A hot Fall run came of golf came all together with a repeat win at the Australian PGA Championship in late November. Cameron Smith is now ready for his 1st start in 2019. He has finished 18th and 27th at his last 2 Sony Opens.

 

Scott Piercy 45/1

Piercy had a rough start to Kapalua last week but rallied to finish T19 with a pair of 69s during the weekend. Hopefully he can carry that momentum onto a course that he has contended on. Piercy has  finished inside the Top 25 in 3 of the last 4 Sony Opens. He was 24th in Green In Regulation % in 2018.

 

Russell Knox 70/1

Russell Knox is great value at 70/1. He has found a lot of success at Waialae Country Club with a  T10, T11,T13 in 3 of the last 4 years at the Sony Open. He is a great ball striker who finished 27th in Green In Regulation % last season.

 

Jamie Lovemark 140/1

A long hitting dark horse who has found success on at Waialae. Despite a MC last year, he finished T4 in 2017 and T7 in 2016. I wish his form was little better coming in but there is a reason why he is 140/1.

 

Kevin Na 140/1

After a W/D last week, we have to pay attention to his status for the week. This is a course that fits Na’s game. He finished 26th in Birdie or better %, 19th in Proximity To Hole, and 11th in SG: Putting in 2018. These were all of the key stats to winning last year’s Sony Open for Patton Kizzire.

 

*Odds provided by Vegas Insider

 

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