Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Sony Open 2021 - Waialae Golf Club, Honululu, Hawaii

 The PGA Tour jumps islands in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open where a full field is in attendance. Most of the field will be dusting off the cobwebs following the Christmas and New year break and the tendency over the past years is to focus on those who played at the Tournament of Champions in Maui the week before on the premise that they have warmed up and acquainted themselves with the climate and winds. That may prove to be the case again this year but the key to winning here appears to be strong GIR and putting stats. You certainly need to be warmed up here this week and ready to go!

The blog has been very unlucky of late with two playoff defeats within the last three PGA Tour events; Kisner at the RSM Classic and Joaquin Niemann last week in Maui. Indeed that brings my playoff record to 4/18 since 2009.Whilst 2020 was good year for me, I really am hoping that this run of hard luck in playoffs will turn soon as it was hard to see the first event of the year lose out, but we'll take the place money and go again.

I mentioned the playoffs and Kevin Kisner for good reason. Both Kisner and the RSM Classic are good pointers for who could well here at Waialae as the course is not overly long and I'm keen to get onside with Kevin Kisner again. At 30/1, there is a bit of value given the head of the market. Kis has solid course form having posted 3 TOP-5s here in his last 5 visits.

I've had a good long rethink between Daniel Berger & Sungjae Im as to who I wanted on the staking plan and the South Korean gets the nod. 16th on debut two years ago was followed up by a 21st placing twelve months ago but his recent form is eye-catching and his travel between last event and this week is very minimal compared to most weeks. 5th last week in Maui and 2nd (!) at Augusta shows his potential and I don't think we'll be waiting much longer to see him return to the winner's enclosure and he has a great opportunity here this week. Much like my reasoning for Niemann last week, Im can play in winds and his ball striking will serve him well here and if the putter ignites he could be the one they have to chase down come Sunday. At 18/1 - 8 places, Im has a seriously good chance of victory.

I've missed the price on Niemann this week as he's come into 20s so I'm hoping I don't rue the missed opportunity here but I do expect him to go well again this week. I've also been too slow off the blocks on Zach Johnson, Charles Howell, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, and Billy Horschel to consider but I will complete my selections with small stakes on the outright along with TOP-20 market in the shape of  Hudson Swafford @ 200/1 - 8 places and 8/1 for the TOP-20. The Floridian is a recent winner having won the Corales Puntacana last September and although having missed 4/6 cuts since, he may just find his game at Waialae where he has produced decent results at in the past; 3 TOP-10s in his last 7 visits with just the one missed cut (2015). According to the OWGR website, Swafford's best 20 achievements to date show that he has contributed 4 Sony Opens to the list - he seems to like it here.

Robert Streb has shown signs of a return to form of late culminating in the win at Sea Island and like Harris English & Brendon Todd, may be about to continue to rise the rankings and knock on more doors. He has missed the cut here the past 3 seasons but can be overlooked given his recent form which also included a 21st finish at Corales Puntacana and he warmed up nicely last week albeit a low finish. 250/1 - 8pcaes as well as 7/1 for TOP-20 is of interest

Others to mention - Brandt Snedeker is way too short for me here but could surprise


1 pt e/w K. Kisner @ 30/1 - 8 places
1.75 pts e/w S. Im @ 18/1 - 8 places
0.25 pts e/w H. Swafford @ 200/1 - 8 places
2 pts TOP-20 H. Swafford @ 8/1
0.25 pts e/w R. Streb @ 250/1 - 8 places
2 pts TOP-20 R. Streb @ 7/1

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