The PGA Tour revved back into action last week with the Tournament of Champions. Justin Thomas was the impressive winner in Maui but as ever, there is no time to rest in golf. After last week’s limited field event we’ve got a full size PGA Tour event in Honolulu in the form of the Sony Open in Hawaii to enjoy, starting on Thursday.
12 of the last 18 winners of the Sony Open also played the previous week at the Tournament of Champions. That suggests a correlation between the two venues but that’s not actually the case. At 7,044 yards, the par 70 Waialae Country Club is much shorter than the Plantation Course and demands a different style of golf to win. But, simply playing at a relatively easy course the week before does seem to get the competitive juices flowing and allow players to get into their groove. So, it makes sense to focus your betting on players who are making their second appearance in Hawaii of the fortnight.
No Sign of Matsuyama Slowing Down
Given the above criteria it is no surprise that Hideki Matsuyama is so well fancied to win the Sony Open. The Japanese star came very close to chasing Justin Thomas down last week but eventually had to settle for a runner up finish. A win in Maui would have been his third in a row which tells you all you need to know about how well the 24-year-old is playing at the moment.
Matsuyama can struggle with his accuracy off the tee on occasion but that will not hold him back this week. The rough is always short at Waialae and players have been known to get into the top five in terms of greens hit in regulation despite being right down the stats for fairways hit. If Matsuyama putts well (which seems to be the norm for him) he’ll be tough to stop at 8/1 with BetVictor.
Knox Can Get Another Big Year Off to a Flyer
You may look at Russell Knox’s finish in 17th place at the Tournament of Champions as an average performance and, to be fair, you’d be right. However, previous champions of the Sony Open have come off the back of mediocre performances the week before. Simply playing the previous week seems to be enough and that’s got to be good news for the Scotsman.
Knox had a brilliant 2016, capitalising as he did at courses which favour accuracy and quality ball striking above distance and power. He will have to improve on his record at Waialae but as he’s playing some of the best golf of his career, the odds of 40/1 that Ladbrokes are offering look great each way value.
McGirt to Keep on Improving
William McGirt made his debut appearance at the Tournament of Champions thanks to his maiden win on the PGA Tour at the Memorial. That’s a suitable achievement for one of the game’s real grinders. He placed in a tie for 13th here last year and can improve with his game in better shape. Back McGirt each way at 66/1 with Coral.