Sony Open in Hawaii Odds: Cameron Smith and Webb Simpson Lead the Wave in Hawaii
Sony Open in Hawaii Odds: Cameron Smith and Webb Simpson Lead the Wave in Hawaii
This is the second event of the PGA Totu season, which sees us stay in Hawaii for the 2022 Sony Open. We have already seen the current crop of Korn Ferry Tour graduates come through and play in events throughout October and November, but it will still feel like a new start for them here, as they kick off a full calendar year as a PGA Tour member.
Other wily vets will also look forward to a fresh start in 2022 and this has been friendly to players of that nature over the years, on a course where any type of golfer can win. It is also an event that rewards experience, as we will see later on in this article. It may only be Augusta that favors those with good course form more than this event. With this event having such a rich history, many return every year and know their way around the place.
24 players from last week's Tournament of Champions will be making the short trip to this event, including the winner, Cameron Smith.
How to watch the Sony Open
- Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Sony Open in Hawaii Odds
|Odds to Win
Qualifying criteria for the Sony Open
Major winners (five-year exemption)
WGC winners (three-year exemption)
PGA Tour Tournament winners (two-year exemption)
Career Money Exemption
PGA Section Champion/Player of the Year
Top-125 Prior Season's FedEx Cup
Major Medical Extension
Leading Points Winners - Korn Ferry Tour
Korn Ferry Tour graduates via The 25 and The Finals 25 (reordered)
Nos. 126 - 150 on Prior Season's FedEx Cup Points List (reordered)
Kevin Na won this event last year, and it was an incredibly strong weekend in total. He shot a 61 on Saturday, and then started Sunday with birdies on the 5th and 9th hole, while parring the rest on the front.
Na's first error came on the 12th which he bogeyed, before rattling off three-straight birdies and following up with another at the 72nd hole to win by one from Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann.
Only one player that finished inside the top-10 failed to maintain or improve on their position on Sunday, and that was the 54-hole leader, Brendan Steele who led by two going into the final round. Steele was coming to Hawaii a year after losing in a playoff to Australian, Cameron Smith in 2020.
It looked good for Steele who never relinquished his lead on the front-nine, despite seeing his two-shot lead halve before he eagled the 9th and took a three-shot lead going into the final nine.
Interestingly Steele stated the very hole where it started going wrong for him. "Playing really well, feeling really good about it. Thought I hit a perfect shot on 10. Got a weird lie there, totally changed the momentum. Every single shot I hit after that ended up with a weird lie, one foot through the fairway, really struggling after that. Completely changed the momentum and super bummed."
Cameron Smith (+1100)
Cameron Smith won this event in tough winds in 2020 and with a win last week he became the latest player to complete the Hawaii double, so he's in great shape.
This is the latest in a really good run of form for the Australian, as he had posted five top-10's in his previous eight starts prior to last week.
Now returning to a course he's won on before and a -34 winning score last week under his belt, there's no reason to think the scoring will get away from him here, as it will return to 20-under or better this week, so he is likely to post another respectable showing here.
Justin Thomas went back-to-back in Hawaii in 2017 and Ernie Els did the same in 2003, with six players in total completing the double at these two events. Jimmy Walker also won here in 2015 not only as the defending champion, but off the back of a playoff loss the week before at the Tournament of Champions, so form tends to repeat itself.
The number is short and I won't be betting him, but I couldn't find a negative for you, other than his putter may finally cool off this week.
Sungjae Im (+1800)
Sungjae Im won the Shriners towards the end of 2021, and that was a relief after a mixed year.
Now though his last six starts have seen him post a win, a 3rd, an 8th, and a 9th so he's red hot and ready to contend again.
In terms of course history, Im is 3 for 3 for made cuts here, with two top-21 finishes and he will expect to better his best finish (T16 in 2019) this week. He opened that week with an over-par round of 71, but followed it with rounds of 64-65-68 so a faster start here should see him perform better.
Like the front two, he has very obvious claims this week and while I will look elsewhere given the odds, I do really like his chances of another victory.
Hideki Matsuyama (+2000)
2021 Masters Champion, Hideki Matsuyama has played a lot here over the years and has made it here in four of the last five, but his record is fairly lackluster.
He missed his first three cuts here, while he was still cutting his teeth on the PGA Tour, but even after winning on TOUR in 2014, he finished T78 here in 2015 and T29 in 2017 to suggest he doesn't like the layout.
His last two starts however have shown huge improvement, as he finished T12 in 2020 and T19 in 2021, and in 2020 he was battling after an opening-round 74.
A T13 finish last week was solid enough as he shot 21-under par and that's a good warm up for a course he's starting to figure out.
His last start in 2021 was a win in his homeland at the ZOZO and he also kicked off the new season with a T6 finish at the Fortinet Championship, so there's every reason to think he can contend.
Of the group, he probably represents the best value at the top of the board.
Webb Simpson (+1600)
Simpson wasn't at Kapalua last week and to some. that may be a negative, but Simpson is the sort that can win here without that run out.
His course form shows he's made 10 of 11 cuts and finished 13-13-13-4-3-4 over his last six starts here, and in only one of those six starts (2021) was he coming over from the Tournament of Champions so he can buck that trend here.
You will have to make up your mind whether his current form or lack of warm up bothers you, as there is an argument to be made that he may have converted one of those finishes into a win, were he to have played the week before, but on course form alone, he's a lively runner.
Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
Length: 7,044 Yards
Greens: TifDwarf Bermuda
Designer: Seth Raynor (Opened 1927), Tom Doak restoration (2017)
Correlating Course & Events
Mayaoba/World Wide Technology Championship
- Matt Kuchar has won both events.
- Patton Kizzire has won both events.
- Johnson Wagner has won both events.
- Mark Wilson has won both events.
- Justin Thomas has won here and finished 3rd at the World Wide Technology Championship.
- Pat Perez won Mayakoba and has four top-10's, including a T4 here.
- Harris English won Mayakoba and has T3 and T4 finishes here.
- Graeme McDowell won Mayakoba and finished T4 here.
- Brian Gay won Mayakoba, and finished 5th here.
- Fred Funk won Mayakoba and has four top-10's here.
- Matt Kuchar has won both events.
- Jim Furyk has won both events.
- Davis Love III is a five-time Heritage winner and finished runner-up here.
- Brandt Snedeker, Aaron Baddeley and Carl Pettersson are all Heritage winners and runners-up here.
- Luke Donald has four runner-up finishes at the Heritage and has finished runner-up here.
Disclaimer: Most of these are elite players who would be favorites for this event so that will be a significant factor.
- Three of the last ten Players Champions (Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and KJ Choi) have won here.
- Jimmy Walker has won the Sony Open twice and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Jim Furyk has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Zach Johnson has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- David Toms has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Vijay Singh has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Paul Goydos has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Jeff Sluman has won the Sony Open and finished runner-up at the Players.
- Davis Love III has won the Players Championship and finished runner-up here twice.
- Adam Scott has won the Players Championship and finished runner-up here.
- Tim Clark has won the Players Championship and finished runner-up here.
- Jeff Maggert has finished runner-up at both events.
Other events considered: Wyndham, Greenbrier, Honda and FedEx St Jude
Key Stats & Trends
This is truly a second-shot golf course. It used to be that you had to rely on accurate driving around Waialae Country Club, as the rough was longer than it is now (only now around 2”) and the fairways used to be pinched. Now we have seen with the recent winners that supreme iron play and a hot putter is the path to success, which it is most weeks. Here is the rankings of each of the last five winners in SG Approach the week they won here:
2021 – Kevin Na (5th)
2020 – Cameron Smith (53rd)
2019 – Matt Kuchar (7th)
2018 – Patton Kizzire (3rd)
2017 – Justin Thomas (4th)
Smith is the clear outlier in terms of his approach numbers but his -11 winning score was the highest since Vijay Singh in 2005 on the same score, which suggests the trade winds turned it into a different event than we are used to. Smith’s opponent in the playoff, Brendan Steele did rank 2nd in SG Approach for the week though so had he have won, we would have had no winner ranking outside the top-7 in approaches in the past five renewals.
In terms of Driving Accuracy, Justin Thomas hit just under 45% of fairways in 2017, Kizzire hit 51.8% in 2018, Cameron Smith 64.3% in 2020 and Kevin Na hit 55.4% last year for respective rankings of 66th, 56th, 41st and 50th for Driving Accuracy. Matt Kuchar did hit 71.4% of fairways (4th) in 2019 but he’s the anomaly. This suggests you can get away with errant tee shots here now, and focus on hitting it close even from the rough.
In terms of SG Putting, Kevin Na (23rd) is the only player to win this event over the past five renewals while ranking outside the top-3 in SG Putting for the week. Cameron Smith led the field in 2020, to make up for is lack of strong approaches whilst the two before him ranked 3rd and Justin Thomas ranked 2nd. Clearly then to win what could be a birdie-fest, it is important to hole more than your fair share of putts.
Recent Start – Tournament of Champions
Of the past five winners, four have played the Tournament of Champions, with Smith in 2020 the sole exception. He had however played two events in Australia on either side of the Presidents Cup in December 2019, so had barely put the clubs down heading into this event.
In total, since the Tournament of Champions returned to Hawaii in 1999, 16 of the 23 Sony Open winners have played the Tournament of Champions the week before winning this.
Russell Henley (2013) is the first and only player to win on his course debut so clearly, even if it is just one previous start here, a prior look at the golf course is generally a pre-requisite. Henley was a man in form heading into the week, having won two Web.com events late in 2012, and he was also the first player in a decade to win on his first PGA Tour start. It was also at the time the second-best 72-hole score in PGA Tour history, it was a record at this event by four strokes (Thomas -27 since surpassed it) and he finished with five-straight birdies, of which just one was inside 10 feet. Obviously, this is something a course debutant is unlikely to repeat.
Incoming Form (Last 15 Weeks)
Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past fifteen weeks (not including Hero World Challenge, PNC Championship of QBE Shootout)
Cameron Smith - 9-15-4-1
Webb Simpson - 30-MC-14-8
Sungjae Im - 31-1-9-19-8
Talor Gooch - 4-11-5-11-60-1-15
Matt Jones - 27-38-18-MC-MC-3
Denny McCarthy - MC-17-MC-39-15-11-10
Russell Henley - 21-25-56-7-22
Marc Leishman - 4-3-38-19-10
Corey Conners - 17-40-22
Adam Long - MC-29-MC-25-22-11-16
Course Form (Last 10 Years)
Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past ten years.
Corey Conners - 39-3-12
Bryson DeChambeau - 49-10
Patton Kizzire - MC-1-13-MC-7
Charles Howell III - 2-3-8-26-13-8-32-8-12-19
Brendan Steele - 2-4
Marc Leishman - 9-5-37-28-20-47-3-28-4
Webb Simpson - 38-20-13-13-13-4-3-4
Nick Hardy - 14
Brian Stuard - 5-6-MC-45-4-8-53-47
Hudson Swafford - 8-MC-9-13-54-3-57-25
Past Champions (Past 10 Years)
2021– Kevin Na (-21, 1 stroke)
2020 – Cameron Smith (-11, playoff)
2019 – Matt Kuchar (-22, 4 strokes)
2018 – Patton Kizzire (-17, playoff)
2017 – Justin Thomas (-27, 7 strokes)
2016 – Fabian Gomez (-20 playoff)
2015 – Jimmy Walker (-23, 9 strokes)
2014 – Jimmy Walker (-17, 1 stroke)
2013 – Russell Henley (-24, 3 strokes)
2012 – Johnson Wagner (-13 2 strokes)
Si Woo Kim (+7000)
Si Woo Kim’s course form here is truly indicative of his career as a whole, as the one thing we attribute to Kim, is volatility. In four starts Kim has finished 4-MC-58-25, and given he can find form at any time, there’s a good chance he spikes again here.
The good thing with Kim though, is we know his upside is winning the Players Championship, as well as two more times on the PGA Tour. Those two wins came at the Wyndham Championship and the American Express and all threw wins have some crossover with this event, which is no surprise given the length of the course and the nature of the tests.
Kim’s three wins have seen him claim scalps over Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay, but he is 0-3 in playoffs, losing out to Aaron Baddeley, Satoshi Kodaira and Kevin Kisner, again showing his volatility. This means Kim could easily be a six-time PGA Tour winner since 2016, and given where his best performances come, I am happy to chance he gets 2022 off to winning fashion here.
His three wins all correlate nicely as we have said already, but his 3rd at the Mayakoba and 4th here on debut in 2016 solidify his suitability to this test. When 4th on debut, Kim ranked no worse than 7th after any round, and last year when 25th he shot rounds of 64, 65 and 67 to combat his level-par round on Friday.
Seamus Power (+5000)
Seamus Power has terrible course form here, but whilst course experience is a prerequisite to success here, high finishes are not necessarily.
In four starts here he's missed two cuts and his best finish was his 49th on debut, but I think we can ignore that given his significant improvement in 2021.
This is the first time he's come into this event after a week at Kapalua and considering he finished T15 last week despite putting poorly, I think that is a huge boost. To start this season in general, he's been superb, with finishes of T21, T12, T11 and T4 before last week.
T6 at the Heritage and T11 at the Mayakoba the past two seasons give a reason for optimism, as does his T12 at the St Jude back in 2018, so all in all I think Power significantly improves on prior showings here, this week.
Joel Dahmen (+7500)
Joel Dahmen has played here three times, and like his career in general he has been steadily improving, making 3 of 3 cuts and finishing 73rd, 22nd, and 12th in those starts.
He wasn't great last week in Kapalua, but he lost one stroke simply for thinking it was lift, clean, and place as it had been earlier in the week and he also made a triple-bogey 7 on #6 yesterday so there's four very quick dropped-shots he could have avoided. He only managed a two-under 71 yesterday but he made eight birdies and given his recent form that's enough for me. Dahmen has missed just two cuts in seventeen since winning the Corales last year, and already has T24, T5, and T29 finishes to start this new season.
Dahmen ranks 18th in this field in terms of SG Approach over the past 15 weeks which is a good sign and now coming to this event as a PGA Tour winner for the first time, we could see an uptick in his performance.
Keith Mitchell (+9000)
Keith Mitchell has three top-25's here, and just last year shot 62-63 on Friday and Saturday to sit 9th after 54 holes, and when he was 16th here in 2019 he was 3rd after 54 holes, after a 63 on Saturday, so he's been striking position a couple of times here already.
His Honda Classic win is a nice pointer and were the wind to hit, his two top-6's at Bay Hill would suggest he will be ok.
He has history of repeating form as shown at Bay Hill, Wells Fargo and here, so I am pretty confident he can make a run this week given his current form.
In his last ten starts, Mitchell has posted three top-8 finishes and also finished T12 on his last start of 2021 at the RSM Classic, so he's in good shape. He had a great chance to win the CJ Cup back in October, when opening with rounds of 62-64 but a Saturday 73 hurt him. Still he bounced back with a final-round 67 to secure a T3 finish and I like his chances of contending again.
Tom Hoge (+10000)
Tom Hoge tends to flash at odd points during the season and then we don't see him for weeks but there are certain types of courses he excels at, and this is one of them.
He had his best chance to win to date at this event in 2018 when taking a one-stroke lead into the final-round but a double-bogey at the par-4 16th and a disappointing par at the par-5 18th saw Hoge miss out on the playoff by two strokes in the end. He had 9ft putts for birdie in each of the last two holes as well so he had his chances, but perhaps a lack of experience hindered him that day.
In terms of Hoge's best finishes on TOUR, his 4th at the Northern Trust in the 2021 FedEx Cup playoffs secured him the most World Ranking points, but his 2nd at the Greenbrier (another Seth Raynor design) and 3rd place finishes here and the Mayakoba are his highest finishes, all of which point to this being his type of test.
His most recent start was saw him finish T4 at the RSM Classic and he finished T14 at the Shriners, so in recent starts he's played well which is encouraging. Nobody ranks higher in this field than Hoge in SG: Approach over the past 15 weeks, as he ranked 3rd and 8th in that department in his last two starts and 14-21-16 before that. I like his chances at long odds.
Others considered: John Huh, Brendan Steele
- Abraham Ancer
- Paul Barjon
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout
- Keegan Bradley
- Joseph Bramlett
- Wesley Bryan
- Hayden Buckley
- Kevin Chappell
- Stewart Cink
- Corey Conners
- Austin Cook
- Joshua Creel
- Joel Dahmn
- Cam Dav
- Luke Donald
- Brett Drewitt
- Tyler Duncan
- Harris English
- Jim Furyk
- Brice Garnett
- Brian Gay
- Michael Gligic
- Lucas Glover
- Talor Gooch
- Branden Grace
- Lanto Griffin
- Emiliano Grillo
- Scott Gutschewski
- Bill Haas
- Chesson Hadley
- Nick Hardy
- Brian Harman
- Russell Henley
- Lucas Herbert
- Jim Herman
- Kramer Hickok
- Garrick Higgo
- Harry Higgs
- Lee Hodges
- Tom Hoge
- Billy Horschel
- Rikuya Hoshino
- Charles Howell III
- John Huh
- Sungjae Im
- Stephan Jaeger
- Zach Johnson
- Matt Jones
- Peter Jung
- Takumi Kanaya
- Sung Kang
- Jerry Kelly
- Chan Kim
- Si Woo Kim
- Chris Kirk
- Kevin Kisner
- Kurt Kitayama
- Patton Kizzire
- Russell Knox
- Satoshi Kodaira
- Ben Kohles
- Jason Kokrak
- Kelly Kraft
- Matt Kuchar
- Nate Lashley
- Hank Lebioda
- K.H. Lee
- Marc Leishman
- Haotong Li
- David Lipsky
- Adam Long
- Justin Lower
- Peter Malnati
- Hideki Matsuyama
- Denny McCarthy
- Graeme McDowell
- William McGirt
- Max McGreevy
- Maverick McNealy
- Troy Merritt
- Keith Mitchell
- Ryan Moore
- Taylor Moore
- Trey Mullinax
- Kevin Na
- Keita Nakajima
- Henrik Norlander
- Andrew Novak
- Garrett Okamura
- Ryan Palmer
- Taylor Pendrith
- Pat Perez
- Scott Piercy
- J.T. Poston
- Seamus Power
- Andrew Putnam
- Aaron Rai
- Chad Ramey
- Chez Reavie
- Seth Reeves
- Davis Riley
- Sam Ryder
- Rory Sabbatini
- Adam Schenk
- Greyson Sigg
- Webb Simpson
- David Skinns
- Roger Sloan
- Alex Smalley
- Cameron Smith
- Austin Smotherman
- Brandt Snedeker
- J.J. Spaun
- Kyle Stanley
- Brendan Steele
- Sepp Straka
- Robert Streb
- Brian Stuard
- Adam Svensson
- Hudson Swafford
- Callum Tarren
- Sahith Theegala
- Curtis Thompson
- Michael Thompson
- Brendon Todd
- Martin Trainer
- Kevin Tway
- Peter Uihlein
- Omar Uresti
- Dawie van der Walt
- Erik van Rooyen
- Jimmy Walker
- Richy Werenski
- Vince Whaley
- Jared Wolfe
- Brandon Wu
- Dylan Wu
- Cameron Young
Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!