PGA Tour Picks: Sony Open in Hawaii Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Quite the impressive start to the calendar year for 25-year-old American Xander Schauffele. He entered the final round of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua on Sunday five shots out of the lead but tied a course record with a 62 and beat 54-hole leader Gary Woodland by a shot. The 11-under-par mark was the second-best score to par in a final-round win in PGA Tour history. It was the largest final-round deficit overcome in the history of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. Did I mention that Schauffele actually bogeyed his first hole?
It was Schauffele's fourth career Tour win and second in a row - he took the HSBC Champions in late October. We have an early Player of the Year favorite! He has come from behind to win all four of his Tour titles and birdied the final hole to either win by one or force a playoff each time. Schauffele also jumped to a career-high sixth in the world. Speaking of rankings, England's Justin Rose replaced Brooks Koepka at No. 1 even though Rose didn't play in Hawaii. Koepka had to finish T8 or better to keep the top spot but finished 24th.
I recommended Patrick Reed to win and he finished T25 in the 34-player field. Did get Dustin Johnson (-225) and Bryson DeChambeau (-120) for Top 10s.
Now the PGA Tour shifts Hawaiian Islands for the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club, a par 70 that can play as long as 7,044 yards. It's the 54th straight year it hosts this tournament, which is the fourth-longest uninterrupted streak on Tour. Schauffele is not playing (neither is Rose), but 22 guys who teed it up last week are. Since the Tournament of Champions moved to Hawaii in 1999, 14 of 20 Sony Open winners have prevailed after playing Kapalua the previous week.
Last year's tournament wasn't so memorable for Patton Kizzire winning, although it was a pretty memorable playoff victory over James Hahn because it took six holes - the longest playoff on Tour in almost six years. Hahn forced a playoff with a blistering final-round 62. Tom Hoge had a one-shot lead on the 16th tee but double-bogeyed. What was memorable about this tournament last year was that missile scare in Hawaii that turned out to obviously be false and Golf Channel video and audio union members walking out during the tournament in a labor dispute. That led to limited coverage of the final round.
Kizzire looks to become the first repeat champion since Jimmy Walker in 2015. It's going to take at least 20 under part to win most likely as four of the past six winners have gone at least that far under par - although Kizzire and Hahn finished at 17 under in 2018.
Golf Odds: Sony Open in Hawaii Favorites
At Bovada , Justin Thomas is the +650 favorite. He crushed the field by seven in 2017 at 27-under 253, with the total being a tournament record. Thomas had an opening 59 that year. Thomas finished T14 last year at 12 under and third last week, five behind Schauffele.
DeChambeau is +1000. He's playing as well as anyone the past five months or so and already has win this year, at the Shriners in early November. DeChambeau was seventh last week and didn't play the Sony in 2018.
Woodland and Jordan Spieth are +1400 and Aussie Marc Leishman +1600. Woodland clearly likes Hawaii because he was seventh here last year, sixth in 2017 and third in 2015. Spieth makes his 2019 debut off a horrible (for him) 2017-18 season. He was third here in 2017 and T18 last year. Leishman was T4 last week and has a best result of T5 at this tournament.
Golf Odds: Sony Open in Hawaii Picks
Have to like Thomas at -150 for a Top 10 as well as Woodland at +125. Also like 2009 winner Zach Johnson at +300, who has five other Top 15s here.
Go Leishman at +120 as top Aussie and Paul Casey (+163) as top European player. Head-to-head, bet Matt Kuchar (even) over Hideki Matsuyama (-130), Charles Howell III (-140) over Kevin Kisner (+110), Leishman (-190) over Cameron Champ (+150), and Johnson (-140) over Bubba Watson (+110).
You can get both Thomas & Woodland (+400) vs. the field (-650) and Thomas & Spieth (+400) vs. the field (-650). I do obviously like Thomas this week, but we're going with Kuchar at +4000. He hasn't played here in three years, but in a five-year stretch before that never missed a cut or was worse than T13.
Two of our top experts both Indian Cowboy and Raphael Esparza offer their expert golf picks every week of the season. Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews