The PGA Tour does some island hopping this week, moving from Maui to Oahu for the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, the first full-field event of the 2022 calendar year and 11th of the 2021-2022 wraparound season.
Defending champion Kevin Na leads 139 players who will tee it up at Waialae and is one of 23 who played in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, won with a Tour record 34 under par score by Cameron Smith.
While the Tournament of Champions is played at the par 73 Plantation Course at Kapalua, Waialae Country Club plays at 7,044 yards with a par of 70, so even though it yields low scores, they aren’t of the same magnitude as at Kapalua because of the lack of par five scoring opportunities.
The players who teed it up on Maui will also be facing a primarily flat layout as opposed to the dramatic changes in elevation found on the Plantation Course.
Na won in 2021 with a score of 21 under par of 259 by birdieing four of the last six holes, including the par five 18th, to defeat Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann by a single shot for his fifth victory on the PGA Tour.
Last week, Smith became the first player to qualify for next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions by outdueling world number one Jon Rahm and hard-charging Matt Jones, who shot 62-61 on the weekend to jump into third place.
Betting Odds Favorites
Bryson DeChambeau’s Monday morning withdrawal affected the odds, as he was the second behind favorite Smith when they were initially released. Smith is now an even bigger favorite at +850, with most of the other top players in the world choosing to skip the Sony Open in Hawaii, putting Webb Simpson next at +1500.
Of the following ten players in the futures odds, nine were in the field at Kapalua, led by Sungjae Im, who finished in a tie for eighth last week and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama at +1700. Marc Leishman rounds out the top five in the odds at +2200 after losing three spots to the field with a closing 68 last week to finish in a tie for tenth.
Underdog Betting Picks
Embed from Getty Images
Kevin Kisner, despite facing a long golf course that challenged his middle of the pack length, was able to finish in a tie for eighth last week and has odds of +3600 to win the Sony Open. In the previous four years, Kisner has two top-four finishes at Waialea and should be given serious consideration given his performance in the Sentry TOC.
Kirk was one of last year’s runners-up, who had to record a high finish to keep his Tour playing rights after coming off a medical exemption. He has odds of +5500, and in addition to his great performance in 2021, he also had a tie for tenth in 2018, so he has a track record of good finishes at Waialae.
In 2018, another player had a great Sony Open in Hawaii, with Patton Kizzire bursting onto the scene with a win in Honolulu, his second and most recent win on the PGA Tour.
Kizzire is at +9000 and had a top ten finish in the Sony last year among five he had during the 2020-2021 season, which he completed by making it into the second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.