Xander Schauffele was the first Tour winner of 2019 as he came from behind to edge out Gary Woodland in a tight finish on Sunday. Schauffele recorded a brilliant 62 on the final day and the thrilling conclusion sets us up for a great year of golf.
We recorded a modest return on Marc Leishman in the top 10 finishers markets after the Australian tied for fourth so let’s see if we can build on that as we remain in Hawaii for the Sony Open.
There is a strong field this week but there’s no Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson or new World Number One Justin Rose so it’s Justin Thomas (+650 or 13/2 with our top-rated sportsbook Bovada) who leads the outright market. JT was the 2017 Sony Open Champion, having won by a huge seven stroke margin over Rose and he looked sharp in his third-placed finish at the weekend.
His overall record in this event is solid enough although a tie for 14th in 2018 was a disappointing result.
Bryson Dechambeau (+1000 or 10/1) was our tip for glory last week and while he didn’t convert, he was consistent over four rounds to finish with a solo seventh. Bryson is few points behind Thomas in the outright betting and with three wins in his last six starts is an obvious man to watch through 2019.
Last weekend’s runner up Gary Woodland (+1400) follows and then we have the first appearance of the year for Jordan Spieth (+1400). It is a fresh start for a man who hasn’t won since July 2017 and he has a notable scoring average in this event of 66.25.
Also included in the chasing pack are Marc Leishman (+1800), Cameron Champ (+2500) and 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed (+2800). Of those three, Leishman is a regular in this event and with a number of top 20 finishes, the Aussie is one to watch.
Paul Casey (+3300 or 33/1) leads the outsiders and is a consistent pick for us in the top 10 finishers markets. The Englishman was down the field on Sunday and we will therefore avoid him for now. As we move much further down, we finally come to our defending champion Patton Kizzire (+4000) who took this tournament via playoff over James Hahn (125/1) twelve months ago.
Elsewhere, Brandt Snedeker (50/1) was a runner up here in 2016 and is a favorite of ours while a strong field also carries tempting odds for Keegan Bradley (+5500), Bubba Watson (+5000) and Kevin Tway (+6600) amongst others.
The 2009 Sony Open Champion Zach Johnson (+4000) could be one to watch while there is some support this week for Brian Harman (+5500). The 31-year-old scrapes into the Power Rankings for Hawaii on the back of a strong record in this tournament that includes a tie for fourth twelve months ago.
Also look for recent Tour winner Matt Kuchar (+4000) who carries a distant price into Thursday’s first tee time.
Our Preview’s Sony Open Predictions & Picks Verdict with Course Trends
The Waialae Country Club in Honolulu has hosted every edition of this tournament since it debuted as the Hawaiian Open back in 1965. The course itself is one of the shortest on Tour at some 7,044 yards and not surprisingly, it carries a par 70.
Distance hitting will therefore be irrelevant over the four days but accuracy is vital on narrow, tree lined fairways and small greens. Wind can be a factor and the length of rough varies from year to year but the key is to stay out of it and reach those tight greens in regulation where the Stimp runs at a modest 11.
Multiple winners are fairly scarce and although Jimmy Walker completed a double in 2015, only he and Ernie Els have lifted the trophy on more than one occasion this century. Only five non-Americans have won it since 2000 and while that’s to be expected in a US dominated field, it’s a trend that we expect to continue this week.
As for the winner, Justin Thomas looked impressive last week without ever really threatening to win the tournament and he is an obvious favorite with the US golf oddsmakers.
A lot will depend on the weather and the strength of the wind but in general we are looking for a player with a consistent record in this particular tournament. It has an almost unique challenge and while there is no form to back this up, Jordan Spieth’s performances in this event stand out and can’t be ignored.
He is too good to remain winless so for the first of our Sony Open predictions, Spieth in the outright winner betting odds is the picks. We also have a couple of top 10 finishers bets, which will hopefully all add up to a nice profit come Sunday. So this is the advice of our Sony Open preview: