Sony Open: Betting Predictions and Picks

What a first week in Hawaii. Harris English was able to take down a charging Joaquin Niemann in a playoff, his first win since 2013. Now, we move on to the first full field event of 2021.

The Sony Open will have it’s strongest field in years. Although some aren’t making the short trip over to Waialae CC, 32 players who tee’d it up in Kapalua will again this week. The defending champion of the event, Cameron Smith, is in the field and currently sits at +3000 to re-peat (DraftKings). Let’s take a look at the rest of the field.


Harris English will look to win back-to-back weeks and sits as the 3rd betting favorite. Joining him are big names like Collin Morikawa (T7 at TOC), Webb Simpson (T17 at TOC), and Sunjae Im (T5 at TOC).

Some of the players who weren’t at Kapalua and will be making their 2021 debut include Matt Kuchar, Emiliano Grillo, Russell Henley (past winner), Charles Howell III, Zach Johnson (past winner), and Chez Reavie.


Waialae Country Club

Par 70

7,044 yards

Bermuda Greens. Hitting greens is going to be critical, as the scoring is usually very good. The winning score is normally around 16 – 23 under, making birdie bids a must. Good news is these greens are hit in regulation a lot, sitting at a generous 67%.

Key Stats


Off The Tee.

I mention both of these things every week, but they’re important. The fairways here are hard to hit, unless the area gets some rain this week. And with the amount of birdies needed to keep up with the field, the guys will need to hit greens.

Data Golf Information

Course Fit: 1. Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), 2. TPC Sugarloaf, 3. Brown Deer Park GC

It’s worth mentioning, that on 2 occasions, the winner of the Mayakoba Golf Classic also won here in the same year (Kuchar 2018, Kizzire 2019). The course is coastal, short, and features Bermuda – the same guys usually play well at all of these events.

Trending (of the players in this field): 1. Harris English (Last 3 starts on TOUR – T6 T5 1), 2. Cameron Smith (T4 T2 T24), 3. Joaquin Niemann (T44 T23 2).

% Chance to Win (Baseline, Course History & Fit): 1. Webb Simpson, 2. Harris English, 3. Patrick Reed.

Betting Odds


Twilight 9 Card

With the full field, it’s nice to be able to look at all betting categories again – Top 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, Match-Ups, Top 20 after Round 1, etc.

Top 20 – Sunjae Im (+110)

In his last 2 starts, he has 2 Top 20’s (T14 in Dubai, T5 in Kapalua). He couldn’t get it going on the greens last week, but his iron play was phenomenal. He can make birdies in bunches, and that skill set will be needed at Waialae. In his 2 previous appearances in this tournament, he has a 16th and 21st. If he gets the putter going at all, he’ll be right there.

Top 20 – Abraham Ancer (+110)

Bet on him last week, didn’t cash out, but let’s try this again. At the RBC Heritage in 2020, he finished solo 2nd. His last 3 starts are all Top 20’s, and in a weaker field than last week, I see Ancer hanging around the top of the leaderboard.

Top 20 – Cameron Smith (+138)

In his last 5 starts, he hasn’t finished outside the Top 25 – 2 of those are Top 5’s. He is the defending champion coming into the week, and has finished inside the Top 27 every year here going back to 2017. I expect that trend to continue.

Top 30 – Charles Howell III (+120)

In 19 appearances at this course: 10 Top 10’s, 2 3rd’s, 2 runner-up’s. All-time money leader here without ever winning it. His last 2 starts are Top 30’s, so with history and form, this feels like a safe bet. Let’s hope that it is.

Top 20 – Kevin Kisner (+138)

Going back to my guy. Since 2016, he has 3 Top 5’s at this event, including a T4 last season. He’s hitting nearly 69% of greens (nice), and ranks 6th on TOUR this season in FIR (fairways in regulation). In his last start before the TOC (where he finished T24), Kiz placed solo 2nd.

Value Picks

Top 40 – Takumi Kanaya (+175)

If you haven’t heard of him, you aren’t alone. He’s a former World #1 ranked amateur, and turned pro in October. He has 2 wins in Japan, and has the game that fits this kind of course. This value for a Top 40 is rare to get, but he’s good enough to take a flyer on. He missed the cut in his only appearance at this tournament.

Top 20 After Round 1 – Emiliano Grillo (+335)

This is another value play. So I guess take it or leave it. His last 2 starts: T18 & T8 (At Mayakoba, important to note since this course plays similar). This year on TOUR, he’s 6th in greens in regulation, and ranks 10th in 1st round scoring. Again, this is a bit of a flyer, but why not. FYI: He has a T21 and T22 here, so if you are more comfortable with a tournament long Top 20 or 30, that could be a nice play.

Top 10 – Russell Henley (+350)

Russell was HOT at the end of last year, then cooled off with a MC in his last appearance. He posted 2 Top 5’s in back to back weeks (CJ & ZOZO), and I think this may be a good spot for him to get back to the top of a leaderboard. He’s a past champion here, and has a game that fits. Iron play is ridiculous, so let’s ride with it.

Cover via PGA TOUR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: