Sony Open Preview and Picks – Betting Odds

The Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae Country Club, Honolulu
Thursday, Jan. 14 Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010
The Golf Channel

by Evergreen of

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Week two of the PGA season wraps up the so called “Hawaii swing” with the pros making their way to Waialae CC for the Sony Open. Zach Johnson is the defending champion and will have to contend with a full field this week with all but 20 players making their 2010 PGA debut. 2005 Sony Open champ Vijay Singh will be playing for the first time since off-season knee surgery and several other past champions are in the field as well. Last weeks winner Geoff Ogilvy will not be playing this week as he committed to a Euro event next week, essentially half-way around the world. If there is snow on the ground outside right now where you are, tune into the Golf Channel for some sunny skies and ocean views, along with some primetime golf.

The Sony will bring a little more moderate scoring pace than last weeks SBS Championship, but there will be plenty of good scores as evidenced by the 15-under total it took to win last year. Waialae CC measures just over 7,000 yards and the par-70 track ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of difficulty in 2008 PGA play. The 2009 field scoring average came in just over par at 70.14 with the field having trouble off the tee, hitting just over 50% of the fairways. If the wind stays calm, rounds in the low 60s are possible, but if the winds are strong, its anyones guess as to who will win, but the straight hitters will have the obvious advantage. Additionally, the greens at Waialae are some of the fastest on Tour, so watch for the hot putters to distance themselves from the field early on.

Each week, well take a look at the field and give you three players that we like to win it all. Our picks will consist of a short, middle and longshot odds player and well breakdown a few head to head matches that you will typically find at any online golf sportsbook. Here are our picks for the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Short Favorite: Zach Johnson (18 to 1)
Zach was our pick in this event last year and paid off nicely so we are hitting him up again this week. Sony has been kind to defending champs and Zach has the right mix of tee to green to get it done at Waialae. We tabbed Johnson in this spot at the SBS only to have Geoff Ogilvy defend there, so theres no way we let that happen again. Why hell win: Best cases for Zach are his ranks in greens in regulation (10th in 09) and fairways hit (28th). Put that together with a better than average putter, and its no surprise why he won last year. Johnson managed only a T18 last week, but did average 4.75 birdies per round while hitting 87% of the greens at the Plantation.

Middle of the Road: Sean OHair (20 to 1)
OHair is coming off a T4 at last weeks SBS where he nailed better than five birdies per round on the way to 18-under. Hes a top-10 machine when he is putting well, finishing 10th or better in nine of eighteen made cuts.Why hell win: Seans struggles come with the putter where he ranked outside the top-100 in 2009, but he looks to be streaking based on last week. Other than on the greens, OHair is very strong overall, ranking 27th in GIR%, 21st in birdies per round and 10th in scoring average from last year.

Longshot: Jerry Kelly (66 to 1)
The 2002 Sony Champ will pay huge if he can ride his typical early seasonsuccess all the way to the front page of the leaderboard. Kelly faltered down the stretch last week, but still averaged nearly five birds per round at the SBS and his 30th ranked putter should keep em chirping at Waialae. Jerrys best 2009 finishes, including his win in New Orleans, all came before May, so bet him early, especially when the odds are this long. Why hell win: Its going to be all about putting for Kelly at the Sony. He finished 2009 ranked 29th in putting average and 30th in putts per round with both stats helping Kelly to the 22nd scoring average overall. Even with the so-so weekend at the SBS, Jerry still hit 70% of his fairways, which should also play well this week.

Others golfers to watch:

Steve Stricker (12 to 1)
Consensus favorite on most boards and the highest ranked player in the field.

Ernie Els (25 to 1)
Els finished 1st, 1st and 2nd in 2003/04/05.

David Toms (33 to 1)
Runner up last year also won here in 2006.

Paul Goydos (125 to 1)
Serious hail-mary pick but he did win here just two years back.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)

*all matches are for entire eventcheck with your favorite golf bookie for single round matches, updated daily.

Robert Allenby (-115) v. Retief Goosen (-115) (Allenby)
Goosen did have a nice week at the SBS finishing T6 and notching six birdies per day, but Allenby finished off 2009 with two wins overseas. Its no secret that Allenby would have several more wins on his resume if he were a better putter, so look for a Goosen advantage there, but Allenby owns the edge in all the tee to green stats.

David Toms (-115) v. Tim Clark (-115) (Toms)
Very close matchup here stat-wise with both players in the top-10 in 2009 scoring average, driving accuracy and putting so this one should go all four rounds. Toms has a slight advantage in hitting greens and that might be enough, plus Toms worst finish here since 05 has been T13.

If you cant find these exact matches at your book, feel confident betting Allenby and Toms in almost all matches you find them inwe try to find the best available players each week to send you to the window with.

Note: Most books will run matchups between players that are close on the odds to win board, but dont automatically take the guy at 15 to 1 over the guy at 18 to 1. Greens hit and putting almost always win out in head to heads, but that player may not have a particularly good record at a certain course and be down the board in terms of odds to win.

Good Luck!!!