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Sony Open in Hawaii: Expert Picks

Brendan Steele is a ‘steal’ on this course.

Sony Open in Hawaii - Round Three Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Tournament Information:

Sony Open in Hawaii
Date: January 13th – 16th
Course: Wai’alae Country Club
Purse: $7.5mm ($1.5mm to winner)
2020 Winner: Harris English (-25)

Course: Waialae Country Club

At 7,045 yards, this par 70 was opened in 1927 and designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks. Much like last week, wind can definitely be a factor that golfers have to be cognizant of during shots. On holes 9, 11, 12 and 17 (the signature hole) the wind can come up off the Pacific Ocean and play havoc to high altitude or softer shots. Lakes and bunkers are layered beside many of the fairways, requiring accuracy off the tee. Despite all of this, it always comes down to the putts for successful golfers here.

Sony Open in Hawaii - Round One Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

My Starting 4

Brendan Steele (first selection this year) – Steele landed in the top five each of the last two years at the Sony Open. He’s top 25 in FedEx Rankings and 23rd in strokes gained off the tee. He struggled in the two tournaments leading up to this tournament, which is the norm for him.

Webb Simpson (second selection this year) Webb has been among the top 15 here in four of the last five years. His last three tournaments were all top 20 finishes and he is top 30 in OWGR.

Hideki Matsuyama (second selection this year) Hideki was top 15 last week at Plantation Course. This week he comes to Wai’alae where he has top 20 finishes in the last two years. He’s top 20 in OWGR and FedEx Ranks. His iron play is going strong this year.

Cameron Smith (second selection this year) I mean that effort last week was just “wow.” It might be unlikely to see lightning strike twice, but he does have a decent history here with four top 30 finishes in the last five years.

My Bench 2

Patton Kizzire (first selection this year) Patton has top 15 finishes here in three of the last four years (he finished 99th in 2020). He has just one top 30 finish this season. This looks like the 2020 season where he struggled, which is why he’s on the bench while we see how he does.

Marc Leishman (second selection this year) Marc rewarded my selection last week with a 10th place finish. I’m doubling down as he has success at Waialae with top 30 finishes each of the last three years here. He now has top 20 finishes in five of the six tournaments he has played in this year.

2021-2022 Stats

Start: Average Finish 38th (35th percent)
Bench: Average Finish 62nd (57th percent)