Sony Open Picks & Betting Preview

Six picks from our golf expert for the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Niall Lyons
Tue, January 7, 8:39 AM EST

The Hawaii swing rolls into Waialae in Honolulu and we get our first full field event of the calendar year. The Sony Open is always an opportunity for punters to get their teeth into some decent bets with seaside golf and a host of form lines from the last 20 years. Seaside golf is certainly a decent pointer here and those with form at the RSM, Harbour Town and Pebble are often worth a glance. The El Camaleon course used for the Mayakoba is another of extreme interest as four players have won there and the Sony (Wagner, Wilson Kizzire and Kuchar). Those who played in the Sentry generally have a good record in the second Hawaii event and with the wind set to blow again those who got used to it last week may just pose a significant threat.

2017 Champion Justin Thomas is worthy favorite this week having come out on top after it seemed nobody wanted to grasp the win at the Sentry. He opened with a 59 for that 2017 win and he must hold every chance with a few of the big names from last week skipping this event. Reed continued his excellent run last week and probably rates a slightly better bet at the price than Thomas, but both are near their mark for me and this event throws up enough bigger priced winners and placers for me to look elsewhere for bets.

Cameron Smith toppled an in form Justin Thomas in the singles at the Presidents Cup and looks overpriced to land a blow here in Hawaii this week. The Australian proved a consistent sort in the second half of last year and was also just in behind Justin Thomas with a 3rd placed finish at the CJ Cup. 11 of his last 12 rounds played here at Waialae have been in the 60s and has posted three respectable top 30 finishes here in the past 3 years. His credentials are super and its getting towards the point where he needs to get over the line to cement his place among the top 50 in the world. Plenty of young kids are ready to win in the States, but despite back to back successes in the Aussie PGA in 2017 and 2018 he has yet to break his duck on his bread and butter tour. He looks overpriced to do so this week.

1.5u - C.Smith @ 55/1

1.5u - C.Smith Top 10 @ +500

I was surprised to see Kevin Kisner chalked up at 50/1 given how well he went for 3 rounds last week. A final round 76 derailed his chances at the Plantation course but he heads to Waialae where he has some good memories. He managed two top 5 finishes here in 2016 and 2017 with a 3rd round 60 not enough to bridge the significant gap with runaway winner Thomas. He relishes the challenge of seaside golf with a win at the RSM and a runner up finish at Harbour Town. He can cope with some tougher conditions and having gotten a run out last week looks a decent bet at 50/1.

1.25u - K.Kisner @ 50/1

1.25u - K.Kisner To Finish Top 10 @ +450

Corey Conners is slowly establishing himself as a force in the game and he will be looking to gather some pace to get inside the top 50 in the world and the rewards that follow. The 28 year old Canadian impressively won the Texas Open last year having not had a whole pile of experience in the heat of battle on the big stage. He has now racked up a fair amount of solid finishes and having shaken off some rust last week should be well prepared to take on Waialae once again where he finished 3rd last year. 6th at the Zozo tucked in behind the likes of Woods, Matsuyama and McIlroy was another sign of just how far this lad has come in a short period of time. Another win looks likely to follow this year and this is one of the more likely venues for him to get it.

1u - C.Conners @ 40/1

1u - C.Conners To Finish Top 10 @ +400

JT Poston is another 55/1 poke worth siding this week given he got off to a solid start last week. Poston is another to make a quick transition onto the main stage and got off the mark by winning the Wyndham in Autumn. More solid finishes were to come and a 6th placed spot at Harbour Town is another sign this lad can play seaside golf. Four rounds in the 60s here last year is another positive and he still may be one slightly ahead of the handicapper.

1u - JT Poston @ 55/1

1u - JT Poston To Finish Top 10 @ +550

We'll finish off with a couple of triple figure pokes. Matthew NeSmith is an interesting sort given he topped the GIR stat on the Korn Ferry Tour last year. Historically that stat has been important around Waialae and a top 20 in the RSM is another sign he may go well here. As we know, Korn Ferry graduates are becoming more and more equipped and ready to win straight off the bat and it'd be no surprise of Matthew adds his name to that list. Doug Ghim is a risky one but the Sony has had plenty of rookies play well here down the years. Ghim maybe hasn't set the world alight as was once expected but holing an 8 footer to earn his PGA Tour card was ballsy and the fiery character may well be suited to the birdie fest that usually plays out here. 2 made cuts from 5 since joining the tour is far from spectacular but hasn't disgraced himself just yet. Former Amateur World no1 who is worth the risk here.

0.75u - M.NeSmith @ 250/1

0.75u - M.NeSmith To Finish Top 10 @ +2000

0.5u - D.Ghim @ 300/1

0.5u - D.Ghim To Finish Top 10 @ +2500

By Niall Lyons

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