Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2022 Sony Open
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, neither of the last two winners (Kevin & Cameron Smith) teed it up in Kapalua prior to their Sony Open victories.
In 2019, Matt Kuchar finished T19 in the Tournament of Champions before going on to win the Sony Open. In 2018, Patton Kizzire finished T15 in Kapalua the week before winning his second PGA Tour title at the Sony Open. 2017 saw Justin Thomas win both the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open (Ernie Els matched this feat in 2003). In 2016, Fabian Gomez, finished T6 the week before and the 2015 Sony Open winner, Jimmy Walker, finished runner-up in Kapalua.
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 -17 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.
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
Hideki Matsuyama 16/1 (E/W) – sticking with the Japanese maestro again this week. A T19 in last year’s edition of the Sony Open was preceded with a T12 in 2020. Features in the Top 5 in this week’s Current From table thanks to his victory in the ZOZO Championship. No sign of rust at last week’s Tournament of Champions where he finished T13 on a score of -21 (271). The 29 year old tee-to-green machine squeezes into the Top 10 in this week’s Stats Analysis. With game and form in a good place he will fancy his chances this week.
Corey Conners 25/1 (E/W) – followed up a T3 in the 2019 Sony Open with a T12 in 2020. Has 2 x Top 25 finishes from 3 starts this season including a T22 in his last outing at the RSM Classic. A rock-solid all-round game puts the 30-year old Canadian 5th in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 9th on Tour for Driving Accuracy, 14th for GIR and 16th for Scoring Average. Statistically a perfect fit for Waialee, he now has a good blend of experience and confidence to add to his 2019 Valero Texas Open win. Decent value.
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