Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the the Sony Open
2019 Sony Open Fantasy Preview
It’s not often that professional golf brings to mind fables and nursery rhymes from childhood.
But that’s exactly what the conclusion of last week’s Tournament of Champions did in a cautionary tale for the golfing year ahead.
You may recall the old ‘Hare and the Tortoise’ fable, in which the duo have a running race. The hare, naturally quicker and more athletic, bounds into an early lead, and has such an advantage over his adversary that he decides to take a nap under a tree just before the finishing line.
The tortoise, slow and steady, keeps on trucking and eventually passes the dozing hare to take the line in first place.
Well, at the T.O.C, it was the opposite that occurred.
Gary Woodland had led pretty much from the get-go, posting rounds of 67-67-68-68; the archetypal golfing tortoise.
In other circumstances he might have expected to lift the trophy, but bounding into view came the hare of Hawaii: Xander Schauffele.
Xander Schauffele of the United States poses with caddie Austin Kaiser and the trophy after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 6, 2019… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
He compiled an exquisite final round of 62 (-11) to fly up the leaderboard on Sunday and eventually take the spoils by a single stroke.
Metaphors aside, it was yet more evidence that the 2017 Rookie of the Year is the real deal; this was his fourth win in the past 18 months alone, and he’s up to number six in the OWGR.
As for Woodland, well, he will have to reflect on what might have been.
He won’t have long, mind you, with the PGA TOUR staying in Hawaii for another week for the first full-field event of 2019: the Sony Open, from the Waialae club in Honolulu.
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
Our top pick last week was DJ who ended up in a T4 finish along side Webb Simpson, our mid-tier pick. But, there was no stopping Xander on Sunday and fantasy owners were rewarded handsomely with his pick.
In total we finished the week with four of our main picks finishing in the Top 8. Not a bad way to kick off 2019!
Xander Schauffele of the United States poses with the trophy after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 6, 2019 in Lahaina, Hawaii. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The 2019 Sony Open Field
A new year brings with it a new start, and Jordan Spieth – who would have watched his peers tee up at the Tournament of Champions a little green with jealousy – starts his campaign this week.
He will be joined by a selection of players who took to the fray in Maui, including his old mucker Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland and Marc Leishman.
There are plenty of others who will be looking to stamp their authority on 2019 at the earliest possible opportunity. By his high standards Hideki Matsuyama had a miserable 2018, while the likes of Kyle Stanley and Emiliano Grillo will be hoping that this is the year that they break through into the big time.
Buoyed by wins in Australia over the winter, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith will also be looking to bring their best form to Hawaii.
Bryson DeChambeau of the United States acknowledges the crowd as he walks on the 18th hole during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
The Waialae Club is one of the most established on the PGA TOUR, having hosted this event since way back in 1965.
This is the classic Par 70 track featuring just two Par 5s, and so no real advantage is handed to the bombers here.
Instead, this is one of the short and testing circuits with thick trees lining the fairways, and the small Bermuda greens mean that picking the right lines off the tee is essential to ensure there’s a chance of making some big GIR numbers.
Designed by Seth Raynor, water only features on three holes and so when the wind is down – as it looks likely to be this week according to the early forecast – then we can expect wining scores in excess of -20, as has been the case in four of the last six editions.
These small greens run pretty quick at around 11 on the stimp, so the magic here is in making lots of greens in regulation and sinking plenty of putts; when is it not!
James Hahn of the United States plays a shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 14, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Honolulu,HI
As mentioned, after the howling gales in Maui last week those from the Tournament of Champions that travel on to Honolulu might think they’re in a different country altogether!
The early forecast suggests that the breeze this week won’t exceed 8 mph at any point, and so that typically Hawaiian defense won’t be of any concern.
There is some rain in the forecast for Wednesday too, so depending on how much falls this Waialae could be at the mercy of some really low scoring.
From Thursday onward we’re expecting plenty of sunny spells and average temperatures of around 80 degrees.
Last Year’s Results from the Sony Open
Patton Kizzire backed up his maiden PGA TOUR win at the OHL Classic by taking the spoils in this event barely eight weeks later.
A second round of 63 forced him into the reckoning, and he maintained the pressure on the leaders Tom Hoge and Brian Harman with a 64 on Saturday.
While they fell away on Sunday, Kizzire would have hoped his 68 would have been enough to get the job done.
But not even the fake missile threat could deter James Hahn, who bludgeoned the best round of the tournament at -8 to force his way into the playoff.
Following six attempts to separate them, Kizzire finally got the job done when Hahn bogeyed the Par seventeenth to hand the Alabaman his second PGA TOUR title.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Sony Open this Week
The DFS world kicks up a gear with the first full-field event of 2019, and there are plenty of options for gamers seeking to boost their bankroll early doors ahead of the packed schedule to come.
- PGA $300k Drive the Green: The January blues are a real thing proven by psychologists to bring down the mood of even the most chipper of individuals. So what better way to cheer up than by landing the $50k top prize here; not bad for just $5 entry.
- PGA $10k Hybrid: Slow and steady wins the race in this early juncture of the new year, so small stakes might just be the way forward here. For just $3, we can utilize our superior knowledge in a three-team max event and still trouser a winner’s check of $800.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Sony Open
Our usual angle of attack for Hawaiian events, that strong ocean breeze, does not appear to be a factor this week.
So what else do we know? Well, what you do off the tee doesn’t seem to matter at Waialae. Patton Kizzire ranked 54th for Driving Distance here last year, while former winners include Fabian Gomez, David Toms and K.J. Choi; hardly brutes off the tee.
Meanwhile, Justin Thomas fired -27 here in 2017 despite ranking just 60th for Driving Accuracy.
So don’t get too hung up on tee work, and instead focus on the second half of holes.
There seems to be two obvious lines of attack: pick shorter, straighter hitters who will find plenty of fairways and thus give themselves a chance of posting high GIR numbers – Kizzire made 73% of greens last year.
Or, you can pick those who are longer and slightly more erratic off the tee, but who can scramble very nicely to give themselves birdie opps from out of the rough.
And, given the potentially soft and wind-less conditions, Par 4 Birdie or Better could be the key stat, backed of course by putting on Bermuda.
As for correlating events, any coastal affair is worth a look; particularly the Honda Classic. Thomas, Russell Henley and Mark Wilson have won both, with a slew of players offering high finishes in both in the past two decades.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Sony Open
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2018-2019)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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