Having been originally set up in 1965, the Sony Open is one of the more established events on the PGA Tour and it has drawn a competitive field for the 2021 edition. While the biggest names in golf may be missing, this year’s event will see a strong set of players, many of whom are looking to challenge the top of the rankings this year.
We came very close to starting 2021 in profitable style as our pick for the win, Justin Thomas, came within one shot of joining a dramatic playoff. There was, ultimately, no profit to be had but it’s an encouraging start so let’s see if we can convert, as the Tour continues, with our Sony Open predictions this week.
To say that it’s tight at the top is an understatement and we have no fewer than four players listed at 14/1 in places. That list of joint favorites consists of Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger, Collin Morikawa and last week’s Tournament of Champions winner Harris English. Of the quartet, Morikawa is better placed in the power rankings but English’s record stands out. Sunday’s winner has made the cut here seven times from eight and boasts three top ten finishes.
Simpson’s record is similar to Harris English while Daniel Berger’s price has shortened overnight following the withdrawal of Patrick Reed. All four make good cases but there are plenty of options moving through the field.
Behind the top four, the betting remains close for a while with Sungjae Im next up at an average of around 18/1. The South Korean actually leads those power rankings this week and, having tied for 5th at Kapalua last week, Im is in good touch as Thursday approaches.
Just behind are Joaquin Niemann and Hideki Matsuyama who can both be found at 20/1 in places while Abraham Ancer is slightly further back at 22/1. Niemann is attracting interest having reached that playoff on Sunday while Ancer returned some good stats as he tied for 17th last week.
Cameron Smith is the defending Sony Open Champion having edged out Brendan Steele in a playoff last year. At best odds of 28/1 for a successful defense, there hasn’t been too much interest in the Australian but a tie for 2nd at the Masters in November tells us that he has an appetite for a big challenge.
Also in the chasing pack are Kevin Kisner, Russell Henly and Adam Scott who are all at 30/1. Elsewhere, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson and former Sony Open champion Matt Kuchar are listed at 40/1. The veteran Kuchar won here during a purple patch in 2019 while Horschel has three top fives in this tournament and is a solid contender for a single digit finish at the very least.
Anyone looking for mid-range value should certainly consider Henly who recorded a breakthrough win in this tournament back in 2013. He has added two top 20’s since and was consistent on Tour last season.
After a long subdued spell, Sergio Garcia is making a welcome return to form. A good showing at Kapalua last week could make the Spaniard a worthwhile outside punt at an industry best of 45/1. Moving through a strong set of outsiders, other names to take into account might include Jason Kokrak, Emiliano Grillo, Marc Leishman, Kevin Na and Charles Howell III.
It could be a week for the outsiders to come through so let’s move on and see what it will take to get over the line.
Our Preview’s Sony Open Predictions & Picks Verdict with Course & Betting Trends
We remain in Hawaii for this week but, while the Tournament of Champions was played out on a monster, 7,500 yard course, this week’s venue is far more modest in terms of length. The Waialae Country Club provides a par 70 which comes in at just 7,044 yards.
External conditions could play a part here with strong winds a typical feature of the venue. As for the surface, players simply have to take advantage of the two par 5s where a par will be seen as a stroke lost. Last year’s champion Cameron Smith scored well on the two holes in question, 9 and 18, while he also ranked highly in Greens in Regulations. Converting those chances is clearly key and this year’s winner will have to show form with the flatstick.
It’s another tough call but there’s a lot of interest around Sungjae Im and there are good reasons for that. He is consistent, he has good relevant stats and, while his record in this event isn’t stunning, there isn’t a single player who stands out as a banker for the Sony Open. If he’s on form, Im can convert at a strong price while the three top ten picks are optional extras as we look to claim a profit after last week’s promising start. Here are the picks and the conclusion of our Sony Open predictions:
- Take Sungjae Im to win @ +2000 (20/1) with Bookmaker or Intertops.
- Im (best at +175 BetOnline), Abraham Ancer (+250 Bovada, BetOnline), Kevin Kisner (+275 BetOnline) and Billy Horschel (+350 BetOnline) for top 10 finishes.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.