Sony Open In-Tournament Picks: Look for Conners, Wu to Make a Run

Sony Open live-betting predictions and picks. Andy Lack gives us his in-tournament outright picks and analysis for the Sony Open. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
Andy Lack |
Sat, January 15, 8:43 AM EST | 8 min read
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Corey Conners Hawaii

Sony Open In-Tournament Picks

Sony Open Live Picks

Current Leader: Russell Henley

Round 3 Start Time: 1:15 pm ET

Course: Waialae Country Club

Purse: $7,500,000

Click here for the latest Sony Open odds.

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Sony Open Predictions

We've reached the halfway point of the first full-field PGA Tour tournament of the season, and oddsmakers seem to believe that the outcome is all but a foregone conclusion. Russell Henley shot opening rounds of 62 and 63 to post a 15-under total heading into the weekend. The University of Georgia alumn is three strokes clear of Haotong Li, who is competing in his first PGA Tour event since the Open Championship. 2019 Sony Open winner Matt Kuchar sits at 11-under par, four strokes back of Henley. Right behind Kuchar, Michael Thompson lurks at 10-under par after a late surge. After that, there is a massive group of 11 players at nine-under par. It's not often that only four players are within five strokes of the leader at the midway point, but Henley has played two flawless rounds of golf, and he'll be a tough man to catch.

Russell Henley is a three-time PGA Tour winner, arguably the best mid to short iron player in this entire field, has won this tournament in 2013, and boasts an impeccable resume on corollary short, positional golf courses with Bermuda-grass greens. Henley can currently be found as high as +140 via OddsChecker golf grid.

I imagine this all sounds too familiar. Back in August, Henley entered the weekend of the Wyndham Championship with a four-stroke lead. Henley put together a solid Saturday, but the wheels came off on Sunday, and the World No. 56 ultimately finished one stroke out of a six-way playoff, eventually won by Kevin Kisner. I wouldn't entirely hold this against him. Winning golf tournaments is a muscle, and I'm sure that Henley learned about his tendencies under pressure and will be far more equipped to finish the job this week. With that being said, +140 is still an unreasonable price for a player who hasn't shown the ability to close the door in nearly five years.

Instead, I'll turn my attention to the group at nine-under par. While six strokes is a lot to make up, outside of Henley, this group only has to pass Haotong Li, Matt Kuchar, and Michael Thompson. Li hasn't contended on the PGA Tour since his infamous late-night range session at the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park, and since then, he has 19 missed cuts in 26 starts on the European Tour. Kuchar is a far more accomplished player, but it's still been nearly two years since he seriously contended on the weekend. Michael Thompson is in a similar boat, with just one top-10 finish over his last 30 starts. I'm fairly confident that several of the players at nine-under possess the ability to close the gap, yet Corey Conners feels the most likely.

The 2019 Valero Texas Open winner was a popular pre-tournament selection, and for good reason. Conners rivals Henley as the best approach player in this field, he is deadly accurate off the tee, and even his putter has a history of cooperating on Waialae's greens. The numbers from Conners' first two rounds should not come as a shock to anyone familiar with his game. Heading into the weekend, the Canadian ranks 17th in strokes gained off the tee, fourth in strokes gained approach, fifth in strokes gained tee to green, and 67th in strokes gained putting. Conners has essentially been a neutral putter through two rounds, which isn't particuarly abnormal, as he's gained exactly zero strokes putting over his last 20 tournaments. With that being said, Conners has been a much better putter at Waialae, averaging a robust 4.4 strokes putting across three appearances. If Conners even remotely comes close to that total over the weekend, I think there is a good chance he wins the tournament. 22/1 on BetMGM via the OddsChecker US golf grid seems an awfully fair price.

Since we aren't grabbing one of the favorites, I definitely see room to sprinkle on a longer shot farther down the board, which brings me to Dylan Wu. The PGA Tour rookie sits at nine-under par after rounds of 65 and 66 on Thursday and Friday. While far from a household name, Wu boasts an impressive resume that includes a win last year on the Korn Ferry Tour and a top-40 finish at last year's U.S. Open.

I have high expectations for the Northwestern stand-out, and his PGA Tour career is already off to a solid start this Fall swing, with four made cuts across five starts. Most notably, Wu appears to be completely dialed right with his irons, ranking sixth in this entire field in strokes gained approach. The 25-year-old is far from a proven commodity, but 100/1 is just far too high for a player that sits second in this entire field in strokes gained tee to green through two rounds. Will he win? Probably not. Will be he be relevant this weekend and present bettors with a massive hedge opportunity? I certainly believe so. Dating back to his days on the Korn Ferry Tour, Wu has always been an excellent putter, yet he hasn't made anything this week. I'll gladly take my chances on Wu's coming out party at 120/1.

Sony Open Live Picks

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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