The Sony Open marks the first full-field event on the PGA Tour in 2019: Find out who to watch, and who to back this week
It’s the first full-field event on the PGA Tour in some eight weeks, and Patton Kizzire returns to defend the title he claimed after outlasting James Hahn over six holes of sudden death last year.
Kizzire was one of the 33 players who teed up in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, and is one of 22 of those playing in their second consecutive week, including 2017 winner Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Cameron Champ and Marc Leishman.
Jordan Spieth makes his first return to action since November, having taken time away to get married, in addition to the likes of Cameron Smith, who returns to the PGA Tour following his latest victory in Australia.
Course: Waialae Country Club, 7,044 yards, par 70.
Records: 72-Hole Record 253, Justin Thomas (2017) | 59, Justin Thomas (1st round, 2017).
The Sony Open: How To Watch
Friday & Saturday: Sky Sports Golf (00:00), Sky Sports Main Event (00:00)
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (00:00), Sky Sports Golf (23:00)
Monday: Sky Sports Main Event (01:00)
The Sony Open: Betting Tips
Justin Thomas: 6/1
The 2017 Champion posted an eight-under final round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week, and will be hoping for his first victory of 2019. In four appearances JT has gone T6-MC-1-T14, and that victory came with that infamous 59. So far this season, the World No.4 ranks 1st for SG: Approach the green, 2nd for SG: Tee to green, 9th GIR and 10th birdie average.
Bryson DeChambeau: 10/1
DeChambeau tried and tested out the latest putting rule at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week to great effect (T7) and heads to the Sony Open for just the second time following a T49 in 2017. In his last six starts he’s had three wins and no worse finish than T19. Ranks inside the top 11 so far this season for GIR, Birdie Average, Scoring Average and Driving Accuracy.
Gary Woodland: 11/1
Officially announcing his club deal with Wilson Golf last week, Woodland raced to his seventh 54-hole lead last week in Kapalua but was unable to hold off an exceptional challenge from Xander Schauffele. Still, it was his fifth top 10 in six starts this season, and after a T7 in last year’s Sony Open, we reckon he’s a good bet this week. Ranks 1st for birdie average, 5th for GIR, 6th for SG: Tee to Green, 7th for SG: Approach the green and 10th for scoring average so far this season.
Marc Leishman: 16/1
Leishman finished fourth last week in Hawaii and prior to that was 2nd in Australia, T18 at the CJ Cup and claimed the CIMB classic in October. Plenty of course experience for Leishman, who has teed up at the Sony over 10 times and posted two top-10s. Leishman is currently ranked 8th for birdie average on Tour this season.
Jordan Spieth: 18/1
Spieth is a bit of an unknown quantity heading in to this week, having been a late entry in to the event. The three-time major champion missed out on qualifying for the Tour Championship last year and struggled with his form – his last outing was a MC at the Mayakoba Classic in the second week of November, and his previous two results (two T55s) were less than encouraging. Then again, Spieth’s uncharacteristic bad streak isn’t going to last forever, and he has a best result of T3 at the Sony Open. Was T18 here last year, and despite a mixed bag of results still ranked inside the top 10 for birdie average, scoring average (actual) and 12th for GIR on Tour last season.
Cameron Champ: 28/1
Ever since claiming his first PGA Tour title in just his second start of the season, Champ has been a guy everyone has their eye on, posting a T11 last week and two consecutive top 10s before that. Some might be put off by the fact that only one player (Russell Henley in 2013) has claimed the title on their debut, but we wouldn’t be: he hadn’t played at the Sanderson Farms Open either, and yet still took home the trophy. Ranks inside the top 10 on Tour for scoring average, birdie average and SG: Off the tee.
Charles Howell: 30/1
A solid bet this week to do well. Howell III has nine top 10s at the Sony Open, including runner-up finishes in both 2012 and 2007. Was T14 in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, and claimed his first title in 11 years at the RSM Classic at the end of November. Ranks 6th for GIR.
Cameron Smith: 33/1
Playing in his first event since claiming the Australian PGA Championship at the end of 2018, Smith has been on consistently good form. He finished T7 in his last start on the PGA Tour at the CJ Jup @ Nine Bridges, and followed it up with a T54, T10 and his win. T18 here last year.
Patton Kizzire: 45/1
Kizzire gained his second PGA Tour title at last year’s Sony Open, outlasting James Hahn over six holes of sudden death. He also recorded a top 10 last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Brian Harman: 60/1
Harman hasn’t posted a top 10 since the Travelers Championship at the end of June, but he has performed consistently well at the Sony Open. In last five starts in Hawaii he has gone T4-T20-T13-T13, and has a scoring average of 66.68.