2008 Sony Open Preview and Picks – Betting

2008 Sony Open in Hawaii, Jan. 10-13, Honolulu, HI, The Golf Channel.
by Matt of Predictem.com

The PGA Tour makes its second stop of 2008 as the Sony Open in Hawaii gets underway this Thursday through Sunday from Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. The par-70 course (35-35) will be playing at 7,060 yards this week and is much more of a shot makers track than the bomber friendly Plantation Course that just hosted the Mercedes-Benz Championship.

While the season opening Mercedes was a winners only field, the Sony boasts a full field minus a few notables. Tiger and Phil are absent again this week; both are typical no-shows during the early Tour stages, and Michelle Wie will not be playing after four previous appearances. Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh again headline the competitors; Paul Goydos is the defending Champion.

Twenty-two participants from the Mercedes tee it up again this week looking to wade through the deeper pool to take the winners share of the 5.3 million dollar purse along with the 25,000 FedEx Cup Points that are up for grabs. There are 28 players taking on Waialae for the first time and 23 Tour rookies take their first swings in a PGA event.

Furyk is the odds on favorite for the outright win; the offshore books have him at 7 to 1 with Singh right behind him at 8 to 1. Both played well in the season opener with Furyk notching a t-5 and Vijay a t-12 at the Mercedes. Each player has a previous Sony win (Furyk in 96 and Singh in 05) and both are almost sure bets to make the weekend given their past results at this event.

Steve Stricker is next on the board at 10 to 1 to win, and is coming off a great Mercedes where he lost in a playoff to Daniel Chopra. Stricker fired rounds of 68 and 64 this past weekend and had a t-4 finish in last years event. Steven Ames had a good start to the season as well, coming off a 3rd place finish last week and will net 18 to 1 odds for the win. Chopra is obviously rolling after the win, but unless your Tiger, back to back wins are uncommon and the golf sportsbooks are noting that giving Chopra 33 to 1 odds to win again this week.

Charles Howell III is a good mid range pick this week at 22 to 1. He is coming off a t-8 last week and got it rolling on the weekend with rounds of 68 and 67. Howell also had a t-2 finish on 07 to go along with top five finishes in 02 and 05.

If youre into the longer odds, take a look at Jerry Kelly going at 40 to 1 for the win. Kelly is a previous champion, taking the trophy in 2002 and has five top-15 finishes in his last six starts in this event.

A couple of matchups to look at this week are Jonathan Byrd v. Mark Calcavecchia and Charles Howell III v. Rory Sabbatini.

I like Byrd -115 to take down Calcavecchia this week, Calc did finish higher this past week, but Byrd has logged four straight made cuts at the Sony and Calcavecchia (47) is getting closer to cashing checks on the Champions Tour. Look for Byrd to use his superior putting, he ranked 2nd on Tour in 07, to propel him this week.

Look for Charles Howell III -115 to get the better of Sabbatini in the other match. Howell has the Sony pedigree, especially of late, but more telling are the struggles of Sabbatini at this stop. Aside from a t-2 in 2006, Sabbatini has failed to contend in his other eight starts here.

The favorites are also matched up against on another this week, Furyk and Singh are both at -115 and this one is as true a tossup as you can find. Furyk carries a small edge here given his premier ball striking numbers. He ranked sixth in both Scoring Average (69.47) and Greens in Regulation % (69.44) in 07.

Favorite Furyk 7/1
Middle Howell III 22/1
Long Kelly 40/1