PGA Picks: Sony Open Golf Predictions with Betting Odds
After last week’s Tournament of Champions, won by Cameron Smith by one shot over Jon Rahm, several that played in that event are sticking around for the Sony Open, also in Hawaii.
This is the first full-field golf event of 2022, with the anticipated number of players at 144. Kevin Na is the defending champion, and he was -21 for his four days of work a year ago. With the PGA Tour wanting to make their players look like superstars, a -20 is the median winning score since 2013 at Waialae C.C. The complete tournament can be seen on the Golf Channel Thursday through Sunday.
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A Look at the Field
Here is a look at the Top 12, with ties, with the lowest golf odds to win it all at online sportsbooks.
Cameron Smith +1000 - Sungjae Im +1600 - Webb Simpson +1600 - Hideki Matsuyama +1800
Marc Leishman +1800 - Corey Conners +2200 - Abraham Ancer +2800 - Kevin Na +2800
Talor Gooch +2800 - Billy Horschel +3300 - Harris English +3300
Kevin Kisner +3300 - Matt Jones +3300 - Russell Henley +3300
Cameron Smith is an obvious choice, having won in Hawaii last week and taking this tournament in 2020. He’s second in scoring average and 3rd in birdie average. The biggest question is if he can stay locked in for another four days to win.
Im will get serious run from bettors, having three Top 10 in five starts, including a victory at the Shriners in October. Simpson did not have his usual season a year ago, but he’s a perfect 11-for-11 for a Top 10 finish at Waialae.
We are finding Leishman is drawing a lot of sharp money for golf picks, with four of five Top 20s since the 2021-22 season commenced. He’s also found Top 5’s in two of his last three opportunities at this course.
Like Leishman, Conners is an equally popular choice, and he’s in the Top 20 in driving accuracy, greens in regulation and scoring.
As mentioned, Kevin Na is the defending champ and should be a factor, but repeating is always challenging. In terms of courses that fit style, Waialae is suited to Ancer’s game.
Opinions vary on Gooch and Kisner, with each being highly thought of for different reasons. Both could be a factor or not at all.
Course Characteristics of Those Who Can Win or Secure Winning Golf Bets
Waialae C.C. has been the home course of this tourney since way back in 1965. This is a classic old course that is not long by today’s standards (7,044) but has narrow fairways and smallish greens.
This is not ideal for long hitters. However, the rough is not long (purposely); thus the penalty for not hitting the fairway is not severe. The only real defense this layout has is the wind, which is not expected to be a factor and the greens are slower than Tour standards because of the coastal conditions. The slower greens will help players who can hit shots into greens yet are generally average putters.
None of the par 4’s are over 425 yards and only one par 5 is over 550 yards, making this a course that will yield eagles, and lots of them. In fact, when it comes to eagles, this layout annually ranks around the 10th easiest to pick up two shots on the Tour.
What will this all mean? It’s a certainty that some players might not even have a driver in their bag, preferring a three-wood or a 2-iron for control. With this, on the par 5’s, that club selection and long iron can be enough to reach the green in two. And depending on the exact par-4 layout, a long iron and short iron could be enough to set up birdie attempts. Who will score well this weekend?
Those that will do best will keep the ball in the fairway for the best angles to hit greens. If the wind doesn’t come up, the pros can hit a high short iron to fire at the stick and not have much roll. As mentioned, no advantage for anyone with the flat stick, just for those that get hot rolling the ball.
Golf Picks: Who to Consider This Week
With Smith having the lowest current odds at +1000, that tells you this tourney is rather wide open. That could mean staying away from picking a winner and focusing more on Top 5, 10 and 20, depending on the odds.
Smith has excellent appeal, but he’ll have short odds. Players like Leishman, Im, Simpson and Conners have the game for Top 5 and Top 10 finishes.
If you feel a little more adventurous, Seamus Power and Brendan Steele have the type of games that are conducive to putting up low enough numbers to reach the Top 20 and they have good payouts.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports was in the golf business for over 20+ years and understands the ins and outs of what it takes to find winners on the Tour.
Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports has - 23 Documented No. 1 Titles - 96 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 2 Handicapper of the Month Awards. (Latest: MLB September 2021) Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.