We stay in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open, and as was the case last week, we’re on the hunt for a few standouts in the non-outright markets. First, a quick recap of last week’s efforts. In Maui, Patrick Reed’s top-five chances were massively dented when the Texan struggled to an opening round of 74, and although he rallied, playing some excellent stuff on the following three days, he was unable to fully recover, finishing in a tie for 15th. Fortunately, Marc Leishman did the business by playing his way to a T10 finish, providing a +225 winner.
Who has form in the book at Waialae Country Club?
Those who did well at Kapalua last week will likely fancy their chances this week, especially since plenty of that group has performed well at this venue in the past. Speaking of form at Waialae, since this track has been in operation on the PGA Tour rota for some years, there’s no shortage of the previous form to delve into. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into who has enjoyed themselves in the Hawaiian capital before.
Eight previous winners of the Sony Open will be teeing it up this week, including Jimmy Walker and Cameron Smith, both of whom have won this tournament not once but twice. The other six winners are Patton Kizzire, Russell Henley, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Na and Jerry Kelly.
Not only are there a handful of previous winners of the Sony Open lining up this year, but there’s a whole host of players who’ve performed well here. Aside from the eight winners, 25 of the players teeing off on Thursday have finished inside the top five at this tournament at least once before. Of those 25, 11 have hit the top five on two or more occasions.
For those that find this sort of information either interesting or useful, the list of players to the top five at least once is as follows. Those with multiple top-five finishes at this tournament are marked with *.
Previous top-five finishes at Waialae (excluding winners)
Charles Howell III*
Si Woo Kim
So, which golfers rate as worthy bets in the alternative markets? Highlighted below are a few players, who for one reason or another appear to warrant sportsbook support ahead of this week’s action in Honolulu.
Top Five Finish
Webb Simpson – 1 Unit @ +350
Webb Simpson’s stock has fallen somewhat over the last 12 months or so, and the man who not that long ago was hovering around the world top ten has slipped down to 29 in the Official World Golf Ranking. However, he’s still one of the highest-ranked players in this event, and what better place is there to re-find some form than a venue where you’ve continuously performed well?!
In fact, re-finding form is something Simpson had already started to do prior to the festive break. He finished T14 at the CJ Cup, before following up with solid efforts at both the RSM Classic and the Hero World Challenge, finishing T8 and 17th respectively. Combine this renewed vigour with the fact that he likes it as this venue, finishing in the top five on four separate occasions, including in three of the last four seasons, and the man from Raleigh North Carolina starts to stand out as a chief top-five candidate.
What’s more, Simpson boasts some impressive strokes gained numbers on this track, collecting 1.38 strokes tee-to-green per round, which makes him the sixth-best in the line-up in that respect. He also ranks eighth for strokes gained: putting, picking up an average of 0.75. If we exclude players who’ve only played this tournament once or twice, then Simpson rises to third and sixth in those areas, while he is the second-best in its line-up in terms of strokes gained: total at Waialae Country Club in the last five seasons. That last stat is very hard to ignore. Put it together with everything else and odds of +350 on Simpson hitting the top five for a fifth time look on the large side.
Top Ten Finish
Brendan Steele – 1 Unit @ +650
For my money, Brendan Steele is a massive price to finish in the top 10. OK, at number 102 in the world, we’re not talking about one of the big dogs, but in golf, there are horses for course and Steele is very much a horse for the course at Waialae Country Club.
Since 2010, the three-time PGA Tour winner has featured four times in the Sony Open and he’s certainly enjoyed himself in the Hawaiian capital, posting three top-five finishes, including two seconds, the most recent of which came in 2020. Last year he finished fourth. It’s clear to see that the Californian plays some of his best golf at this venue.
When it comes to strokes gained at Waialae, few come into this week with a stronger profile than Steele, who picks up an average of 2.7 strokes per round, which makes him the number one player in the field in terms of strokes gained: total on this track. He’s also the best in terms of strokes gained: putting, which is not to be overlooked. In other areas, he shows up favourably too, ranking eighth for both strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: tee-to-green.
At the end of the day, you won’t find him at the head of the outright market, nor is he considered a massive favourite for a top-ten finish, but make no mistake about it, Brendan Steele means business on this course, so don’t be surprised if he outplays what is an eye-catching price-tag.
UK based freelance sports betting writer. Specializing in golf and soccer, Bradley has written for numerous websites and publications both in the UK and abroad, covering a range of sports betting topics from match/event previews to betting guides.
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