The PGA Tour concludes its brief Hawaii Swing with the first initial full-field event of the 2022 calendar year with the Sony Open. It will take place at the 7,044 yard, par 70 Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
Kevin Na will be on hand to defend his title, one of 23 players who also teed it up last week in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui, won in record-breaking fashion by Cameron Smith, who will be looking for back to back wins to start the year.
The Sony Open is actually the 11th official event of the 2021-2022 wraparound PGA Tour season, but for traditionalists, it still represents the beginning of the golf viewing year.
Sunshine, gentle breezes, and warm temperatures are a welcome respite from the cold winter weather that grips much of the United States in January, and with college football in the rearview mirror, it affords a relaxing sports watching experience.
After almost two years of Covid-19 affected events, things are beginning to return to normal on the PGA Tour, with events welcoming full complements of spectators, although the Sony Open in Hawaii requires proof of vaccination for entry to the grounds.
Na used a late charge on Sunday afternoon with no spectators in attendance in 2021 to pick up his fifth PGA Tour win by a shot over Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann at 21 under par 259, firing a final round 65 after getting into contention with a 61 in Saturday’s third round.
Unlike last week’s undulating Plantation Course at Kapalua, Waialae Country Club is a primarily flat layout that affords low scores. Still, at a par 70, it offers fewer eagle and birdie opportunities on the par-five holes.
On his way to victory in 2017, Justin Thomas set the single-round record with a 59 and the tournament mark at 27 under par 253.
Betting Odds Favorites
After his 34 under-par performance last week that bettered world number one Jon Rahm by a shot, Smith is a big favorite at +900 odds to capture the Sony Open, especially after the withdrawal of Bryson DeChambeau, who had been listed at +1100.
Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, who finished tied fourth in 2021, is at +1800, but those odds could certainly change without DeChambeau in the field.
Sungjae I’m and Hideki Matsuyama, who both played last week in Maui, have odds of +2000, followed by Na and Australian Marc Leishman at +2900.
Among others are Talor Gooch, the FedEx Cup points leader, at +3400, the same odds as Matt Jones, who shot 123 on the weekend to surge to a third-place finish in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Nearly 70 percent of the past 23 winners in the Sony Open played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions the prior week, so it’s a smart bet to include at least one player who finished well in Maui in a wagering list.
Although it’s difficult to win in back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour, Smith will be traveling to Oahu with a lot of confidence and, with his putting skills, should make another serious run at Kapalua.
Smith’s partner in their win in the Zurich Classic last year, Leishman, played solid golf last week, finishing in a tie for tenth.
Matt Jones, another Australian, should also be carrying a lot of momentum from last week’s closing performance and provides the possibility for a significant payout at +3400.