Aloha, Hawaii! The second leg of the Hawaiin swing gets underway and features the first full field of the PGA Tour. The Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, is the destination for the Sony Open. Another of golf's more scenic courses, this tropical paradise could be a potential goldmine as the number of runners heading to the Polynesian Archipelago testifies. Join our man as he mingles with the caddies and sinks a Long Island Iced Tea before walking the course and bringing us his tips 'n' picks in his preview below:
Favourite: JORDAN SPIETH | 4/1
TOURNAMENT & COURSE OVERVIEW
Originally established in 1927, this par-70, 7,020-yard beast was originally designed by Seth Raynor in 1972, with Desmond Muirhead revamping it somewhat in 1992. It's a mature, lanscaped course, full of right and left dog-legs and plays off Bermuda grass fairways and greens. Attention and devotion has been given to every detail, with Coconut, Monkey Pod and Kiawe trees lining the fairways and boasting the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, the trade winds coming off the open expanse play their part in ensuring that the Waialae Country Club not only looks beautiful but remains a challenge for any player.
There is some dispute as to which is the 'signature' hole. The seventeenth bears the name of the Sony Open fire-bird according to Hawaiian folklore which is very difficult to tame. Originally a par-5, it is now listed as a par three and this could be the one that trips a few up. However, others suggest that the 186-yard par-three eighth, bordered by the Pacific, is the signature, simply because of its scenic qualities.
PRIZE POOL: The prize pool is $6,000,000, with $1,180,000 up top for the winner Should pay for a few days vacation in Hawaii... book it, Danno!
WEATHER: Pretty much perfect golfing conditions. Cloudy, yet sunny, with slight showers on Tuesday/Wednesday to aid the zip of the ball. Temperatures range between 27-29 degrees and will speeds will average around the 11-15km mark, N/Ne.
NIBBLING AT BERGER
Last week’s opener, the Sentry Tournament of Champions doesn’t just allow the players to blow the dust away, playing as it does it’s a really good barometer of what to expect here and it’s no surprise that 13 of the last 19 winners competed in the Sentry the week before. Indeed, the last four winners all featured in the Sentry, so you could be excused for restricting your choices to a player from that stable. However, as good a pointer as that is, this tournament, historically, has been a great event for punters to get their beaks wet early, with plenty of big-priced winners in amongst the places.
Last year’s champion, is second favourite Justin Thomas (15/2), who destroyed this course, opening with a quite spectacular 59 and never looking back. However, he struggled last week, though his final round six-under 67 showed his mettle. He’s lost regular caddie Jimmy Johnson, and it’ll be interesting to see how this affects him. Knowledge of this course is important, but it’s not vital, so whilst Thomas does that in his locker, we’ll look elsewhere for value.*
The marvellously-named Ollie Frank Scneiderjans is our first pick this week. The 24-year-old Texan has a knack for finding tees and greens which will be essential on this course. Length isn’t a necessity, whilst accuracy is. The course can be windy, so controlled putting should feature high on any checklist for your selections this week. He went close a couple of times to breaking his PGA duck last year and showed well here in 2017, where he was inside the top-10 going into the last round… An each-way dabble, but at 60/1 we’ll have a nibble!*
Speaking of dabbling, a player we’ve enjoyed varied success with is the 24-year-old Daniel Berger. He finished a respectable 11th last week, which is smart enough on its own, but more importantly he was third GIR. As we mentioned above, those are the types of stats that play well here. He’s a back-to-back winner at St. Judes, a course that compares favourably, and he’s surely far too big at 28/1 to overlook!*
Lastly, we were torn between last week’s shout, Marc Leishman and Kevin Kisner, finally plumping for the latter. The 33-year-old is another who can handle windy courses, having finished runner-up at the Heritage and won a both Sea Island and the Colonial. He loves the Bermuda grass and is as accurate as a die in reaching the greens. He has an equable temperament ad remains calm under pressure. If anyone is going to push the favourites, then Kisner could be that man! 22/1.*
In an ocasional piece we bring you news hot from the Trading Floor. Today's nugget:
We’ve seen a fair bit of each-way attention go towards Charles Howell, and at 40/1 he could represent good each-way value for a player who finished T4th in his most recent tournament, the OHL classic at Mayakoba.
Please do bet responsibly, and the best of luck!
- 2017 - Justin Thomas
- 2016 - Fabian Gomez
- 2015 - Jimmy Walker
- 2014 - Jimmy Walker
- 2013 - Russell Henley
Whoever you're backing, don't forget StanJames are offering our famous ACCA Insurance on the Sony Open and BMW SA
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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