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DraftKings PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf Preview: Sony Open in Hawaii Course History vs. Current Form

Zach Thompson takes a look at some of the golfers with the best course history and current form ahead of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The PGA TOUR is staying in Hawaii and completing a two-week stay in the Aloha State with its annual trip to Waialae Country Club for the first full-field event of 2021. Harris English ($10,800) will look to complete the sweep of the two island events while Joaquin Niemann ($10,400) will look to get a win after losing in the playoff last week.

Each week this season, I’ll take a look at two of the key factors to consider when building DraftKings lineups. We’ll take a look at players who have a good history at the specific course being played (or similar courses if it’s a new venue), and we’ll also take a look at some of the golfers coming in with the best recent results.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $600K Resurgence [$200K to 1st]

Course History

The Sony Open has been held at Waialae Country Club each year since its beginning as the Hawaiian Open in 1965. Unlike last week’s course in Maui, length off the tee isn’t necessary on this track. This week’s flatter, tree-lined course is a more typical par-70 after last week’s par-73. As is usually the case with par-70 courses, success on par 4s will be key along with accuracy on approach.

Course History

Player Name Salary 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Player Name Salary 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Webb Simpson $11,100 13 13 4 -- 3
Sung Jae Im $9,800 -- -- -- 16 21
Cameron Smith $9,600 81 28 18 22 1
Kevin Kisner $8,800 5 4 25 69 4
Zach Johnson $8,500 9 6 14 82 28
Charles Howell III $8,000 13 8 32 8 12
Brian Harman $7,800 13 20 4 131 32
Chez Reavie $7,400 42 8 18 3 82
Brian Stuard $6,900 22 45 4 8 53
Hudson Swafford $6,800 9 13 54 3 57

Cameron Smith ($9,600) beat Brendan Steele ($7,100) in the first hole of a playoff last year with Webb Simpson ($11,100) just one shot back. Smith bounced back after a bogey, triple-bogey start to his tournament and thrived in windy conditions during the first two rounds before grinding out the win with a two-under Final Round. Smith has been in the top 30 in four straight years at Waialae and got that win while posting an impressive +4.8 Strokes Gained: Putting.

His third-place finish last season was Simpson’s tenth straight made cut at this event, although he did pass on the tournament in 2019. He has been in the top 15 in each of his past five trips to Honolulu and has averaged 1.32 adjusted strokes gained per round in his career at Waialae.

While Simpson is at the top of the salary structure, there are plenty of cheaper options, though, that also have good success at this course. Charles Howell III ($8,000) has produced 1.86 adjusted strokes gained per round in his career at this course which is more than any other player in the field. Howell has made the cut in all 19 trips to this venue with 10 top-10 finishes, including two runner-ups. Even under $7K, you can take a shot on Hudson Swafford ($6,800), who has three top-15 finishes in the past five seasons and also notched a top-10 in 2014. Swafford has struggled since winning in the Dominican Republic earlier this season, but he has good history here in Honolulu.

Current Form

After a break for the holidays, the top PGA TOUR players returned to action last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. In the past several years, finishing well at that event has led to a successful second week in the Rainbow State. Of the past nine winners of the Sony Open, seven have played the previous week at Kapalua, and four of the past six finished inside the Top 15. Here are some of the players coming in with good momentum.

Current Form

Player Name Salary CJ Cup Zozo Houston Open The Masters RSM Classic Mayakoba Sentry TOC
Player Name Salary CJ Cup Zozo Houston Open The Masters RSM Classic Mayakoba Sentry TOC
Webb Simpson $11,100 12 17 -- 10 37 -- 17
Harris English $10,800 10 28 -- -- 6 5 1
Sungjae Im $9,800 45 41 40 2 CUT -- 5
Cameron Smith $9,600 11 4 -- 2 -- -- 24
Abraham Ancer $9,400 28 35 13 12 -- 17
Ryan Palmer $9,200 17 -- -- -- 4 -- 4
Kevin Kisner $8,800 45 14 -- CUT 2 -- 24
Sebastian Munoz $7,800 9 14 19 CUT CUT 17

English’s win last week came after he teamed up with Matt Kuchar ($8,400) to run away with the unofficial event at the QBE Shootout in his last start before the holidays. He has five top-10 finishes in his seven events on the PGA TOUR this season and ranks in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Total. Most of his success has come on the green, where he is picking up .841 shots per round, and last week he was even hotter with 1.711 strokes gained putting. Most of his success did come on the Par-5s which he played in 14-under for the week.

While Par 5 success isn’t necessarily the most important stat this week, some of last week’s most successful finishers ranked highly in stats that should correlate. Last week, Niemann was second in the field on Shots Gained: Approach while Ryan Palmer ($9,200) was fourth in that stat, Simpson was fifth and Sungjae Im ($9,800) sixth. Palmer and Im also tied for second in par-4 scoring last week while Sebastian Munoz ($7,800) finished in the top 10 in that category as well on his way to his fourth top-20 finish over his past six starts.

Palmer had a share of the lead coming into the Final Round at Kapalua but had to settle for a solo fourth. He hadn’t played since the ZOZO in October, when he also finished in the top five. Another veteran with some good momentum is Kevin Kisner ($8,800), who had a pair of top-15 finishes around a missed cut at the Masters and returned to action at Kapalua with a tie for 24th.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $600K Resurgence [$200K to 1st]

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