Following Cameron Smith’s record setting win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the PGA TOUR takes a short trip from Maui to Honolulu for the Sony Open. Since this tournament’s inception in 1965, Waialae Country Club (par 70, 7,044 yards, Bermuda greens) has been the only home of this event. Kevin Na took home the novelty check last season at -22, making him the sixth Sony Open winner over the last decade to shoot -20 or lower. Evident from short hitters like Na and Matt Kuchar picking up wins at Waialae over the past three years, being long OTT isn’t necessary at this tropical venue. Your work with your irons is far more pivotal and Waialae is a prime example of a second shot course. Of the last five Sony Open champions, four have ranked seventh or better in SG APP during their victories.
Unsurprisingly, given that Waialae is a par 70, meaning there are 12 par 4s and only two par 5s, being efficient on the par 4s will be a primary ingredient for success this week. In fact, each of the last five victors in Honolulu have finished inside the top six in par 4 efficiency. Last but not least, when anticipating a birdie fest like the Sony Open, we need to target strong putters with positive splits on Bermuda, if possible. Prior to Na’s win last season, five consecutive winners of this event ranked in the top three in SGP during their victories, with two of these players leading their fields in the stat.
After the small field, no-cut field this past week at the Tournament of Champions, the Sony Open presents a full field of 144 golfers, with a top 65 and ties following the first 36 holes. Nine of the top-30 ranked players in the world will be competing and below are four of my favorite options priced under 7.5K on DraftKings.
Denny McCarthy ($7,400)
McCarthy has never teed it up Waialae before, but the Bermuda specialist is a perfect fit for the seaside par 70. When we compare this field’s last 50 rounds specifically on Bermuda, no player has gained more strokes putting than McCarthy. The 28-year-old has proceeded to the weekend in eight of his last 10 starts at venues that are home to Bermuda greens, most notably with a T11 at the Houston Open and then a T10 at the RSM Classic to close out the fall swing.
Including these finishes, McCarthy has carded a top-20 finish five times in his last 10 starts and ranks second in SG on par 4s across his last 24 rounds. McCarthy should thrive in his course debut this weekend and is a strong gamble for at least a top-30 finish.
Stewart Cink ($7,200)
Last week at the Plantation Course, Reavie posted a respectable T21 finish, thanks to an outstanding showing with his irons. For the tournament, the veteran ranked second in greens found, only trailing world No. 1 ranked player Jon Rahm, who finished the event as the runner up to champion Cameron Smith. Reavie will now look to carry this momentum over to Waialae, where he has made seven cuts in a row, including back-to-back top-20 finishes.
Cink’s best putting splits come on Bermuda and at the minimum, the 48-year-old should get us four rounds of golf this week.
Scott Piercy ($6,800)
Editor’s Note: Scott Piercy has withdrawn from the Sony Open.
Piercy has made nine of his last 11 cuts on TOUR, with four top 20s mixed in this run. To finish out the fall, the veteran gained strokes on APP in four of his final five starts of 2021. Additionally, Piercy ranks 18 th in SGT2G over his last 24 rounds. Now, to kick off 2022, Piercy returns to Waialae, where he owns an impressive resume. In 13 career starts at the par 70, Piercy has made nine cuts and produced seven top-25 finishes. Evident from his course resume, the 38-year-old tends to shine at tracks that yield low numbers, and Piercy is a terrific bargain this week that will almost certainly be low owned. Heading into this tournament, he has been less than 5% owned in the main GPP of the week for 14 consecutive starts.
Mark Hubbard ($6,600)
Hubbard has been extremely consistent, advancing to the weekend in 12 of his past 13 starts. The 32-year-old has recorded a top 20 in five of his 10 most recent tournaments and has been stellar as a ball striker, ranking seventh in SGT2G and 10th in SG APP over his last 24 rounds. Furthermore, Hubbard has been great on the greens, gaining stokes with his flat stick in six of his last seven starts.
To top it all off, Hubbard has made three of five cuts at Waialae for his career. A top 25 is absolutely in the realm possibilities for Hubbard this weekend and it’s hard to argue against him at this low of a cost.
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