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Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2023 Sony Open

Sony Open tips & predictions

The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the calendar year. The tournament is contested at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. The course has hosted the event since its modern-day inception as the Hawaiian Open in 1965. Sony took over as title sponsor in 1999.

An interesting fact to consider this week is that since the Tournament of Champions moved to Hawaii in 1999, 15 Sony Open winners have emerged victorious having played the Plantation Course in Kapalua the previous week.

That said, two of the last three winners (Kevin Na & Cameron Smith) didn’t tee it up in Kapalua prior to their Sony Open victories. Last year, Hideki Matsuyama finished T13 in the Sentry TOC before going on to win at Waialae Country Club.

YearSony Open ChampionWinning
Sentry TOC
(week previous)
2022Hideki Matsuyama-23T13
2021Kevin Na-21DNS
2020Cameron Smith-11DNS
2019Matt Kuchar-22T19
2018Patton Kizzire-17T15
2017Justin Thomas-271
2016Fabian Gomez-20T6
2015Jimmy Walker-232
2014Jimmy Walker-17T21
2013Russell Henley-24DNS
2012Johnson Wagner-13T9
2011Mark Wilson-16DNS
2010Ryan Palmer-15DNS
2009Zach Johnson-15T6
2008K.J. Choi-14T28

In 2017, Justin Thomas won both the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open. Ernie Els matched this feat in 2003.

Course Overview

Waialae Country Club was designed by Seth Raynor and opened for play in 1927. The 7,044 yard Par 70 is tight and features small Bermuda greens. Length off the tee takes second place to accuracy.

Scoring, as you would expect in Hawaii, is dependent on the strength of the wind. The average winning score since 2000 is just shy of -18 so a fast start is essential. You need to be playing from the short stuff in order to attack the small greens and set up scoring opportunities.

PGA Professional tips on playing Waialae Country Club

Waialae Country Club Scorecard

Hole #ParYardsHole #ParYards

2021 Sony Open | Kevin Na

Last year, Kevin Na carded a -5 (65) in his final round for total -21 (259) to win the 2021 Sony Open. His score was enough to edge out Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann, who tied for second one stroke back. It was the 37-year old’s 5th victory on Tour and first since the 2019 Shriners Hospitals Open.

“I felt like Waialae is a golf course I really have a chance at, and there’s not too many of these left anymore, so I have to take advantage of it. What a great feeling to win at a golf course I really feel like I can win at.”

Kevin Na

Tee-to-green is what laid the foundation for the California native’s victory and in particular on approach and around the green. Na finished 5th in Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green and 2nd in Strokes Gained Around-The-Green. Combined this yielded a gain of 8.361 strokes or nearly 70% of his overall strokes gained for the tournament. Other stats for the week include T75 for Driving Accuracy, 125th for Driving Distance, T43 for GIR and 23rd in Strokes Gained Putting.

2020 Sony Open | Cameron Smith

In 2020, Cameron Smith made an 8ft birdie putt on the final hole of the Sony Open for a final round -2(68) and force a playoff with Brendan Steele. The Australian went on to win the tournament with a par on the first extra hole.

”Just had to hang in there. No one was playing good golf today, it seemed like. Just hung in there, and what do you know?”

Cameron Smith

Greenside is where the magic happened for the Aussie, finishing the week 9th in Strokes Gained Around-The-Green (2.374 strokes) and 1st in Strokes Gained Putting (8.232 strokes). Combined these contributed over 90% of his overall strokes gained for the week. Other stats include T41 for Driving Accuracy, T5 for Driving Distance, T20 for GIR and 2nd for Putts per GIR.

2019 Sony Open | Matt Kuchar

In 2019, Matt Kuchar emerged victorious in the Sony Open winning by 4 strokes from Andrew Putnam on a score of -22 (258). It was his second win of the season having won the Mayakoba Golf Classic a few months previous.

Kooch made only one bogey through 54 holes shooting rounds of 63-63-66-66 on his way to victory.

“I kept plugging along, and I knew good things were going to happen”

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar finished the week 3rd in both the key categories of SG:Tee-To-Green and SG:Putting. In particular, his approach play was dialled-in and was backed up with a solid display with the flat-stick. Other stats for the week include 14th for Driving Distance, T4 for Driving Accuracy, 1st for GIR and 5th for Putts per GIR.

2018 Sony Open | Patton Kizzire

In 2018, Patton Kizzire pipped James Hahn in a six hole playoff to capture the Sony Open title. He closed with a final round -2 (68) to finish on a score of -17 (263) and force the playoff.

“It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was nice to come out on top”

Patton Kizzire

His approach play and putting were key to capturing his second PGA Tour title having won the Mayakoba Golf Classic just a couple of months previous. He finished 3rd in both the Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green and Strokes Gained Putting. Kizzire ranked 54th for Driving Distance, T56 for Driving Accuracy, T23 for GIR and 2nd for Putts per GIR.

2017 Sony Open | Justin Thomas

In 2017, Justin Thomas finished on a score of -27 (253) to complete the ‘Hawaiian-double‘. He finished an impressive seven shots clear of his nearest rival Justin Rose. His ball-striking master-class included a first round 59.

Thomas finished the week first in both Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee and Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He backed up his superb ball-striking with his putting, finishing the week 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting. Thomas ranked 9th for Driving Distance, T66 for Driving Accuracy and 12th in GIR.

2016 Sony Open | Fabian Gomez

The 2016 winner, Fabian Gomez, finished the week T7 for GIR hitting the greens 77.78% of the time. He was also 5th in Strokes Gained Putting, T60 in Driving Accuracy and T27 in Driving Distance.

Scoring and saving par are key attributes this week. Previous course knowledge and an ability to manoeuvre the ball in breezy conditions are usually two fundamental requirements.

Sony Open Tips & Predictions

Corey Conners golf betting tips

Corey Conners 22/1 (E/W) – a regular to Waialae Country Club, his last three results there read T3-T12-11. Has 3 x Top 25’s from 4 starts this season including a T18 in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Canadian squared only three bogeys and one double around the Plantation Course at Kapalua. The ball-striking-machine places inside the Top 30 in this week’s Stats Analysis. Fits the archetype for success this week on a course that should suit his eye perfectly. Good value at top end of market.

Tom Hoge golf betting tips

Tom Hoge 22/1 (E/W) – a regular at the Sony Open, his standout result in the recent past is a solo 3rd in 2018. His T3 finish in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions puts him firmly in this week’s crosshairs. Prior to the Christmas break he had a run of 4 x Top 13 finishes from 6 starts. His excellent form is reflected in his stats, placing top of the pile in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 10th on Tour for GIR and 15th for Birdie Average. Ticks a lot of boxes and some to make it win No. 2 on Tour this week. Hard to ignore based on game and form. Good each way value.

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