Sony Open Betting Tips & Preview

Niall Lyons has picked out some big potential value in Hawaii.

Niall Lyons
 | 
Tue, 8 Jan, 3:40 PM

Punters welcome the start of every year with plenty of form lines and information available on two of the most well known courses on the schedule. Congratulations to all Schauffele backers last week. It is clear this lad has buckets of guts and determination in battle and plenty of big wins in the near future are in no doubt. We tackle leg two of the Hawaii mini tour this week and the Waialee course by the sea. Over the years we've gotten to know a lot about this course and there's no question form on similar seaside tracks is a positive when looking for potential winners. The El Camaleon course used for the Mayakoba is a huge pointer with three players (Wagner, Wilson and Kizzire) win both events and there are other numerous players who have played well in both. The RSM, Harbour Town and Pebble are maybe other places to look for formlines which could translate to the Sony.

 

Understandably Justin Thomas is jolly with the ever improving Bryson DeChambeau tucked in behind. Thomas showed his skills here in 2017 upon winning and shooting a 59. Low scores are the norm here however the weather will determine if the winning score gets into the 20s or remains in the mid teens. Spieth is another who makes the trip and slots in at a top price of $19 which is very tempting and at the time of writing I may still go with him. He has form on plenty of these types of layouts and despite searching for some form unsuccessfully at the back end of last year he sits at a juicy enough price to my eyes.

 

MATT KUCHAR (best price $41) is such an obvious pick here this week given the correlations between here and Mayakoba, nevertheless I think he has been chalked up the same price he would have been if he had not entered the winners enclosure in Mexico. Plenty talk about Kuchar's win ratio and although extremely respectable he may not have won as much as what people expect. Nevertheless he has tonnes of experience and that always helps around Waialee. His last five attempts here read 13-3-8-5-5. Given the link with Mayakoba and a win at another seaside track at Harbour Town it makes a lot of sense to me that he should be one of the main contenders. My thoughts therefore turn to price and whether it is value and I think it is. Hideki may be on the road to recovery but being shorter than Kuch here doesn't make much sense. Kisner and Casey are another two who I couldn't have shorter than the world no 32. Kuchar ticks plenty of boxes and his price renders him a decent betting proposition this week.

KEEGAN BRADLEY (best price $56) was out of sorts last week and struggled in the high winds on day one and a return to some calmer shores may be just what he needs. He has bounced right back to some serious form over the last six months culminating in a win during the fedex playoff events at the BMW. Another impressive outing followed that in Sheshan and a respectable top 20 when he travelled to Australia. His record here has been sketchy enough but for the last number of years he has struggled finding any sort of game. Now he is back inside the worlds top 50 he can be expected to pull off performances akin to when he burst onto the scene and became a Major Champion. Performances of note are a 15th place at his only outing at Pebble Beach, and 15th and 8th on his only two trips to Mayakoba. Another slightly underestimated in the market.

It is no surprise to see CHARLES HOWELL (best price $26) backed early doors for this event but like Kuchar he holds plenty of aces this week. Towards the end of 2018 a bunch of guys won who had been waiting a long time to do so. Westwood and Willett combined on the European Tour whilst Howell and Kuchar became the story in the states. Howell of course won at the RSM by the sea which is a nice pointer towards Sony form. He has posted two runner up finishes here, a 3rd, a 4th and a 5th. This is one of his happy hunting grounds and again plenty above him in the market make little appeal to me. Played respectable stuff last week and must be respected with the winning feeling still fresh in the mind.

RYAN ARMOUR (best price $126) has far from disgraced himself after surprisingly winning the Sanderson Farms at the back end of 2017. A lot of respectable results have followed and on a course that requires a neat and tidy game he must be respected. Add to that his record at seaside tracks and he must be backed at triple figures. He has made 10 from 11 cuts at Mayakoba, Pebble Beach and Harbour Town combined and ranks high enough in the field in GIR. It pays to have a few three figure golfers on side at the Sony down the years and it looks an event to take on the top end of the market for me.

ANIRBAN LAHIRI (best price $151) is another I look to on tracks that require an accurate game and he is another string to my punting bow this week in Hawaii. We backed him in Mayakoba where he finished 10th. I was hugely impressed by the way he played that week and a few more putts dropping would have made all the difference. Played ok in Indonesia before the break and I think a return to a track like this will play into his hands.

Plenty of players have come straight off the Web.com tour and played well off the bat at Waialee and the most likely to shine this week for me is SUNG-JAE IM (best price $81). The Korean golfer was a revelation on the web.com last year and played impressive stuff when he took to the big tour late last year. It is a bit of an unknown which courses will play to his strengths but I'm prepared to take a risk this week. He kicked off in style this time last year with a win and a 2nd spot in two courses by the sea in the Bahamas. Seaside tracks may just be where his expertise will translate and with not as much wind as usual in these parts he may just get similar conditions to what he did last January. Again worth chancing at triple figures. Sam Burns, Brady Schnell and Sepp Straka are three worth noting having won on similar type tracks on the web tour. Si Woo Kim was another who ticked plenty of boxes, but 6 is more than enough. It's one of those weeks you could easily regret leaving one or two off the staking plan. The list of 10-12 golfers was tough to whittle down. In the first full field event of 2019 here's hoping we get some luck.

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