2021 Sony Open: PGA Golf Preview, Odds, Pick, Predictions-1/14/21

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This week, the PGA Tour travels to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Sony Open. 

Before I discuss my favorite golf bets for this event, let’s take a quick look at the golf course and the key player statistics that I feel are the most vital to a player’s success this week.

The 2021 Sony Open will be played at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii. This golf course is a par 70 that measures 7,044 yards. Additionally, this track features tree lined fairways and rather small green complexes. Water is in play on only two holes. This track also features bermuda grass fairways and greens. This event has been contested at this course every year since 1965.

It should be noted that this golf course’s main defense is wind. When the wind is calm professional golfers can produce very low scores on this track. However, when the winds are high, this golf course won’t be as vulnerable to low scoring. Last year’s event was plagued by high winds throughout the tournament. The result was a winner (Cam Smith) who won with a score of only 11 under par. To illustrate my point even further, the 2019 Sony Open was played in rather calm weather conditions. Matt Kuchar went on to win the 2019 Sony Open with a score of 22 under par. Clearly, based on the data just presented, weather can be a massive issue in this event as it relates to scoring.

As of this writing, the weather for the this year’s tournament looks to be calm for all four rounds. Having stated that, I would highly recommend that you take a look at the weather forecast closer to the start of the event. Why? From a betting perspective, this information is vital as I determine which golfers to wager on for this event. Certain golfers struggle in the wind while others can play outstanding golf in high winds.   

Based on my review of player results and data from previously played Sony Opens (also played at Waialae Country Club), I determined that the following key player statistics were the most vital to a golfer's success this week: strokes gained on par fives, GIR (greens in regulation), strokes gained approach, strokes gained tee to green, and strokes gained putting.  

Let's shift our focus to my favorite bets for this week's Sony Open!

Here are three golfers to consider putting on your card to finish in the top ten this week.

Charles Howell III +450 - The 41 year old American has played the Sony Open every year since 2009. In those 12 events played, Howell III has an impressive nine top 13 finishes, including a 12th place finish at the 2020 Sony Open. I also like how Howell III has been playing over the course of the last few months. In relation to this week’s current listed Sony Open field, in the last 12 rounds played on the PGA Tour, Howell III ranks sixth in GIR (greens in regulation), tenth in strokes gained putting, and 14th in strokes gained on par five holes. Howell III finished 23rd at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December.

Ryan Palmer +275 - Ryan Palmer presents the golf bettor with a nice combination of event/course form and recent form. Palmer arrives at this week's event in Hawaii on the heels of three consecutive top 17 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a fourth place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week.       

Joaquin Niemann +250 - The 22 year old is an outstanding golf talent that absolutely loves to putt on bermuda grass. Guess what grass he will be putting on this week? That right, it will be bermuda grass. Last week, Niemann narrowly missed getting his second PGA Tour win. (Niemann lost in a playoff to Harris English) I reviewed Joaquin statistics last week relative to the Sentry Tournament of Champions field and came away impressed. In relation to last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions field, after four rounds of competitive play, Niemann ranked fifth in GIR (greens in regulation-84.7%) and third in putting average (1.623).    

Here are two golfers to consider for top 20 wagers this week.

Zach Johnson +200 - The two time major champion finished last year playing very good golf. To be more specific, Johnson had two top 19 finishes in his last four tournaments played on the PGA Tour in 2020, including a sixth place result at the RSM Classic.  

Lanto Griffin +200 - Griffin has three top 17 finishes in his last five events played on the PGA Tour. Griffin also finished seventh at the 2020 Sony Open.

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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