Sony Open - Winner

The Hawaii swing heads to the coastal layout of Waialae for the Sony Open where there are plenty of trends worthy of note. 8 of the last 10 winners played the year opener at Kapalua which looks like an obvious place to start. Those with a tournament under their belt in 2022 or at the very least a run out in December (as was the case with Smith a few years ago) have a distinct advantage here. SG Approach always ranks highly in the stats of winners here but it is certainly worth noting that good putters do well here with 9 of the last 10 winners finishing inside the top 50 in SG Putting for the season. It is always difficult to predict who will have a good week on the greens, but decent putters is certainly a good place to start. Experienced campaigners certainly do well here also and rarely do we see a winner who didn't have some solid results in the lead in. Waialae certainly seems a place where it is difficult to find form from nowhere.

Kevin Kisner at 35/1 (8 Places)

Kevin Kisner ticks plenty of boxes this week and although I usually urge caution with him, he looks impossible to leave out of the staking plan at Waialae. Four top 5 finishes here show just how close he has come to winning this event and seven made cuts on the trot at this venue tell us this is a week where he can be relied upon. 11 of his last 12 rounds here have been in the 60s. 8th last week at Kapalua was just the tonic Kisner needed heading to Waialae having gone slightly off the beaten track since winning the Wyndham last August. Approach play improved a lot compared to his last efforts at the end of 2021 and the fact he competed last week given his disadvantage off the tee is a positive sign. His price is only fair and not one I'd get overly excited about even with all the credentials I have mentioned for this venue. His wins all come at correlating courses. Colonial, Sedgefield and Sea Island is exactly the CV you look for when looking for Sony contenders and Kisner's return to form last week is a huge boost to his chances here.

2pts each-way K.Kisner 35/1 (1/5 8)

Kevin Kisner - 2pts e/w @ 35/1

Billy Horschel at 50/1 (7 Places)

Matsuyama makes appeal towards the top of the market but I worry about his putting which has been extremely poor bar the win at the Zozo. Of the prices towards the top he certainly looks the most attractive but I think he is a risky play given his history with the flat stick. Seamus Power is another who could go well but the price looks skinny enough for my liking despite him looking like a much improved golfer of late. Instead I'll take the risk that Billy Horschel bounces back with his irons this week after a poor showing approaching the greens last week. He once again putted very well and has become one of those golfers to rely upon on the greens. Kapalua is a strange course with sideways lies and elevation changes so I'm prepared to forgive Billy's poor approach play last week as he returns to a much flatter, straightforward layout this week. His consistency has been remarkable with only one missed cut since March last year and he got his reward by winning at Wentworth. 65-66-66-65 was an excellent effort here at Waialae last year and he'll surely fancy his chances of returning something similar. Another who has been around the block a few times and can benefit from experience at this layout.  

1.5pts each-way B.Horschel 50/1 (1/5 7)

Billy Horschel - 1.5pts e/w @ 50/1

Joel Dahmen at 66/1 (8 Places)

Joel Dahmen already has a win by the coast in Punta Cana and can give a bold account returning to a venue where he has recorded two top 15 finishes in four appearances. He can struggle on the greens but it is worth noting his 12th place here two years ago ranks in his top ten putting weeks in his career. He struggled on and around the greens at Kapalua but first timers there are notorious for taking their time to adapt to the nuances around the surfaces there and the greens take a lot of getting used to. Other parts of his game were solid enough to suggest we may see a repeat of his 5th place in Houston three starts ago and possibly even better. Tee to green is where he excels and he should give himself plenty of chances and if he returns to the form we saw in Sea Island with the putter then he could pull off a huge victory.

1pt each-way J.Dahmen 66/1 (1/5 8)

Joel Dahmen - 1pt e/w @ 66/1

Zach Johnson at 125/1 (8 Places)

With a win and a handful of top tens here down the last few decades I think Zach Johnson has been dismissed a shade too easily by the layers. Old timers have a great record around this track and Zach has the opportunity to roll back the years here given the lack of world class golfers after the first handful in the market. We know he has the perfect game for here and he looked to be hitting it well last time out, all be it 6 weeks ago. Sea Island is another spot that suits the game of the double major winner and he showed that by posting a top 20 having been in second place after round 1. Similar might occur here and we know how lethal he can be with the putter on any given week. Worth a pop at triple figures.

1pt each-way Z.Johnson 125/1 (1/5 8)

Zach Johnson - 1pt e/w @ 125/1

Matt Kuchar at 100/1 (5 Places)

Talor Gooch could continue his gold run of late but the market looks to have a firm hold on his chances. Aaron Rai is another who could take to this test like a duck to water given his form towards the end of the last year. Upon debut though it difficult to pull the trigger. Russell Henley is a tough one to follow given he is now winless in five years but the Sony represents one of his better chances to break that duck and at 33/1 and 8 places available I'm sure that will interest plenty. With a win and numerous top tens here down the years though I'm prepared to take the chance on another old timer in Matt Kuchar. This was the scene of Kuchar's last win on tour and although he has managed a win in Singapore since it has been slim pickings on the main tour. Out of the blue he did have a huge run at last years Matchplay finishing 3rd. This season has seen a small upturn in form though with four made cuts on the trot and four top 40 finishes. If he can dial in his approaches he would have a fair chance as he was putting better than most towards the end of last year.

1pt each-way M.Kuchar 100/1 (1/4 5)

Matt Kuchar - 1pt e/w @ 100/1