PGA Tour betting: Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club

Updated: January 12, 2017

We first met Will Chen on a poker trip to Macau a few years back. He splits time between his base in nearby Hong Kong and Canada and, in our opinion, he’s won of the most talented handicappers with who we’ve worked over the past decade. Will’s specialty is golf – both playing (off a handicap of 4) and betting. In his first full season working with us, he turned a profit of 34.1 units on 181 units wagered for a return on investment of 18.2%. Not bad, eh? Last season, he defied even our wildest dreams with a profit of 119.18 units on turnover of 250 units. That’s a return on investment of 47.6%. Unbelievable? Well, just check in each Thursday evening over the next few months for Will’s tips on each of the PGA Tour events, kicking off with this weekend’s Sony Open in Hawaii. Welcome back, Will!


Tournament – Sony Open in Hawaii; January 13-16, 2017 (starting 4am AEDT): This specific event dates to 1999 but the wider heritage of a PGA event on Hawaii dates to the 1920s while the first Hawaiian Open of the modern era was played in 1965. In 1983, 40-year-old Isao Aoki became Japan’s first winner on the PGA Tour in this event. It is also remembered as the tournament where teen Michelle Wie made four successive appearances in the 2000s. Since 1999, there have been only two multiple winners – Jimmy Walker (2014-15) and Ernie Els (2003-04). Argentine Fabian Gomez defeated Brandt Snedeker in a playoff last year, becoming the third player in four years to finish with a score of -20 or better.

About the course – Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, HI (par 70, 7044 yards): Established in 1927, the course’s initial design was by Seth Raynor with changes by Desmond Muirhead in 1992. Now a mature, lushly landscaped, and player-friendly championship course, Waialae features wide forgiving fairways lined with stands of coconut, monkey pod and kiawe trees and 83 strategically placed bunkers.  Situated a short drive to the east of Honolulu near Diamond Head, Waialae is a reasonably short layout but it is significantly impacted by wind and features relatively small greens. Water is in play on just three holes but scores can vary tremendously depending on the length of the rough and how strong the wind blows. It looms as a tepid week of weather for this year’s event.


TIW says: This year’s field features the past 10 champions along with Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas but it’s not a packed field. The best line into this tournament is the fact that 12 of the past 18 winners played the previous week in the SBS Tournament of Champions. And, with a number of those players taking this week off, some of the lesser lights out of that Tournament of Champions are well worth consideration. Driving distance and driving accuracy aren’t crucial to victory here but the ability to hit greens is crucial. The past 14 winners have all ranked inside the top-12 for Greens In Regulation – Walker ranked first for that stat in 2015 while last year’s playoff duo were tied seventh for GIR.


Confirmed betting (card finalised)

We’re prepared to work around the pair that filled the top two spots last week (Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama) but, not surprisingly, Jordan Spieth is included. He closed out the SBS Tournament of Champions with an eight-under-par 65 to finish third. He made 26 birdies and an eagle and if he sharpens his game just marginally, he’ll be the one to beat here. Spieth has played this event just once, missing the cut back in 2014, but given he’s a winner at Colonial and Kapalua, this course should suit him.

Jordan Spieth WIN-E/W (one unit @ $7.00)
Jimmy Walker WIN-E/W (one unit @ $23.00)
Russell Knox WIN-E/W (one unit @ $41.00)
Pat Perez WIN-E/W (one unit @ $41.00)
Chris Kirk top 10 (one unit @ $5.00)
William McGirt top 10 (one unit @ $6.00)
Fabian Gomez (pictured above) top 25 (one unit @ $3.00)
James Hahn top 25 (one unit @ $4.00)

Note: E/W = top five



• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to Sportsbet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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