Sony Open in Hawaii Betting Tips & Predictions – Thursday 10th January 2019

The PGA Tour woke from its winter slumber last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Xander Schauffele proved once again that he is a player of the highest calibre by holding off the challenge of several world class player and whilst he is off to enjoy his victory the PGA Tour remains in Hawaii this week with the Sony Open.

This is the first full field tournament of the year and sees a mixture of PGA Tour stars and stalwarts get back to action. That mixture of players has combined with the fair nature of the course at Waialae Country Club over the years to produce winners from different parts of the market so a varied approach is recommended this week. When it comes to those towards the top of the betting the odds of 16/1 that Ladbrokes are quoting about Jordan Spieth really stand out as he seeks to get 2019 off to a fast start after a disappointing 2018.

Top Tips

Jordan Spieth @ 16/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Course Info

Waialae Country Club is just a short hop from last week’s venue at Kapalua but these are two very different layouts. Whereas the Plantation Course was hilly and long, Waialae is almost completely flat and plays to a maximum yardage of just 7,044 yards. The one thing it does have in common with Kapalua is that the wind dictates scoring to a large degree but there isn’t anything too troubling in the forecast.

The Sony Open used to be a tournament in which shorter hitters who were deadly with their wedges and putters would come to the fore. More powerful players have had a better time of it in recent years but that is not to say shorter players should be discounted. This is a course at which any style of golf can succeed which makes this such an interesting but unpredictable tournament.

CourseLocationLengthPrize Money
Waialae Country Club Honolulu, Hawaii 7,044 Yards $6,400,000

Recent Winners

The five most recent winners makes the unpredictable nature of the Sony Open in Hawaii clear. On the one hand you have a classy player like Justin Thomas who won both of the year opening events in Hawaii in 2017 and Jimmy Walker who was playing at the very top of his game in both 2014 and 2015. On the other you have outsiders like Patton Kizzire and Fabian Gomez who went off at 80/1 and 100/1 respectively for their wins.

YearWinnerTo ParWinning Margin
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

Analysis: Plenty of Value About at Waialae

Driving accuracy is no longer the important stat that it once was at Waialae. Hitting the fairways is always going to be advantage but it is possible to hit the greens from the rough at the Honolulu venue and it’s on and around the putting surfaces where this tournament will be won. With conditions set fair and scoring expected to be low this week’s winner will need to set up and take scoring chances with regularity whilst being able to scramble well to keep damaging bogeys or worse off their card.

Spieth Set to Fire Early Doors

It’s not exactly a case of ‘new year, new me’ for Jordan Spieth but he is definitely looking for a significant improvement in his results in 2019 compared to 2018. Spieth has seen his world ranking tumble and his position as the great young hope of golf usurped by some of his close friends. He’s had all sorts of issues with his game but the one thing that remained throughout last year was the fire that burns underneath him.

Missing out on a place in the Tournament of Champions will doubtless have hurt Spieth’s pride and he is wasting no time in getting back to action. He’s played well at Waialae before (he finished third in 2017) and at his best his game is very well suited. Providing he putts well and maintains the improvements he made with his approach play, Spieth could quickly look far too big at 16/1 with Ladbrokes so is the pick from the top of the market even if Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Marc Leishman are in better current form.

Consider These Long Odds Each Way Options

Every golfer begins the New Year with high hopes of writing new chapters in their careers. Few of those in the field this year have a story that can match the highs and lows of Luke Donald. The Englishman has reached the heights of number one in the world rankings and suffered the lows of a loss of both his fitness and golf game. Donald has been grinding away to get his game back to where he wants it and could see the benefit of that work in Honolulu. On a course that suits, Donald could well challenge for one of the seven places that Betfair are paying at 200/1.

Keegan Bradley is a good friend of Donald. The pair will likely have spoken about the challenges that come with losing your game having tasted great success and they’ll be happy for each other’s recent improvement. Bradley got back in the winner’s circle at the BMW Championship last season and following on from last week’s tune up may well play well enough to push the leaders at 60/1 with bet365.

Two time Sony Open champion, Jimmy Walker, is another who has had to contend with health issues over the last couple of years which have impacted on his game. He will have to manage the effects of Lyme disease for the rest of his career but is thankfully able to compete again. Walker’s troubles have seen him take a more relaxed approach to his golf but he may see those competitive juices flowing again this week if he gets into contention at 90/1 with Ladbrokes.

Final Verdict: Jordan Spieth to Win

The Sony Open in Hawaii is such an open tournament that it makes sense to focus on the value available. Any of the players at the top of the betting have a real chance of winning and there are some excellent golfers available at big odds but the chance to back Jordan Spieth at 16/1 at a course at which he has played well before and a time at which he is desperate for success looks too good to ignore.

About

The Sony Open is the second event of the calendar year and follows on from the Tournament of Champions the previous week. It's been running since 1965 and is one of the more popular spots on tour, mainly because a lot of the players tie it in with a bit of a vacation, given that a lot won't have been playing in the previous week due limited field size of the Tournament of Champions.

The tournament takes place at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii, which is actually one of the shortest courses on tour, measuring just over 7,000 yards. Over the years it's had several sponsors, include that of United Airlines and currently that of Sony, who have been main sponsors since 1999.

In 2017, the winner, Justin Thomas, went on to set a number of records, including low scores for 18 holes (59), 36 holes (123), 54 holes (188) and subsequently the tournament record of 253, ending up a staggering 27 under and 7 strokes clear of second place, Justin Rose.

On the morning of the 2018 tournament, all players and residents within the Hawaii area received a push notification to their phones alerting them of a ballistic missile that was heading for the island. Missile alarms were sounding across the island, but it was later revealed that someone had "pushed the wrong button" and the messages and sirens were sent as a mistake.

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