Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Sony Open in Hawaii

The Course

  • Waialae Country Club
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Par 70
  • 7,020 yards
    • Hosted since 1965
    • One of the shortest courses on tour
    • Also one of the easiest scoring courses
    • Bermuda Greens & Fairways
    • Accuracy > Distance (Skinnier Fairways)
    • Rough isn’t terrible
      • (so a little driving inaccuracy won’t kill you)
    • Greens are somewhat smaller & slower than normal
    • Can be windy

Key Stats

  • SG: Approach the green
    • SG: Tee to green
  • Birdies or better
  • Par 4 scoring
  • Proximity
  • GIR
  • Bermuda putting
  • Course History

The Field

This will be the first full field of 2019 with 144 golfers and there are several players dropping out of the field already (Jason Kokrak out – Roberto Diaz in, Curtis Luck out – Adam Long in) and Kevin Na is questionable with that finger injury from last week. With the change to the schedule this year we are likely to see stronger fields early on as guys get ready for the Players Championship which will be held in mid-March, and this field looks slightly better than it has in years past. I am anticipating that golfers who were in Hawaii last week for the Sentry Tournament of Champions will feel slightly more comfortable already being acclimated to the conditions and time zone.

Big Dogs ($9,100 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Justin Thomas ($11,400 DK – $12,300 FD) – Thomas won here two years ago where he shot a course record -27, turned in a 3rd place at the Sentry last week, and is the best golfer in this field… there’s enough cheap talent in this one to build around JT.
    • Gary Woodland ($10,800 DK – $12,000 FD) – Woodland continues to roll by getting 2nd last week only to be leaped by red-hot Xander on the final round due to his -11 on the day. In Gary’s four showings here in as many years he has finished 3rd, 13th, 6th, and 7th. He could be a chalky pick this week but I still really like him in cash plays. One thing to watch is his grandmother passed away last week before the final round so he could be a last second WD.
      • Casey on DraftKings & Leishman on FanDuel
      • Paul Casey ($9,100 DK) & Marc Leishman ($10,900 FD) – I like Leishman more this week but he is priced crazy high on DraftKings compared to FanDuel, while Casey is very reasonably priced on the former.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Cameron Champ ($9,900 DK – $11,600 FD) – still a young face but Champ finally proved he can hang with the big dogs in a notable tournament finishing 11th at the Sentry. Cameron obviously has the ability to hit the long ball but at this course where approach shots and accuracy reign supreme, will he still continue this impressive run?
    • Cameron Smith ($9,400 DK – $10,200 FD) – I like this pick more so on FD because of the relative discount but Smith has thrown up back-to-back -11s on this course which was good enough for 27th and 18th. In the first two tournaments of the FedEx Cup Playoffs he finished 3rd in both events, which could indicate a big year ahead for the young Australian.
    • Emiliano Grillo ($9,200 DK – $9,900 FD) – I was big on Grillo last year — and here we meet again my friend. Last season he had his most top 10’s in a year with 6 and this season I’m predicting he will have at least 1 more win added to his career’s only win from 2016. Emiliano already has a 2nd place finish at the CIMB in October so it’s only a matter of time.

Value ($7,500 – $9,000 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Charles Howell III ($8,900 DK – $10,400 FD) – Howell is good for a win every five years on tour, unfortunately he just hit his quota for the coming years with a win at The RSM Classic back in November. Nonetheless, in his last five attempts on this course he has averaged just over 17th place and he put up a good showing last week at the Sentry with a T14.
    • Kyle Stanley ($8,700 DK – $9,900 FD) – Stanley hasn’t cracked the top 10 in three tries here nor in his last seven events on tour but he has been knocking on the door. He hasn’t finished worse than 36th at Waialae with a 10th and 13th place finish so this seems to be a course that fits his eye.
    • Adam Scott ($8,300 DK – $10,600 FD) – 8th in SG: approaching the green last year and 16th in SG: tee to green is why Adam Scott should flourish here like he did in his T8 back in 2014. In two events this season he’s finished T10 and T18 so if he can get the putter going this week I could definitely see him in a competitive spot on Sunday.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Zach Johnson ($8,600 DK – $10,100 FD) – Johnson has a great track record here (three top 10s in the last five years) and typically is a guy with a high floor, also coming off of a top 10 finish at the RSM, but don’t expect him to crack the top 10. He’s not a bad pick but his ceiling is capped and he will most likely only get you a top 25 with not much scoring to show for it.
    • Matt Kuchar ($8,500 DK – $10,500 FD) – Kuchar, a lot like Zach Johnson, has been rock solid throughout his career and excellent at Waialae but saw a little slump last year. He won this season already at Mayakoba and looks to be back on track but I’d almost rather buy low on someone else who has been just as good lately (Adam Scott on DK or Kyle Stanley on FD) and wait for him to show consistency.
    • Keegan Bradley ($7,700 DK – $9,800 FD) – Keegan is the King of SG: approaching the green but since the Tour Championship has fallen off a bit in four tournaments in the new season (he’s also the King of being a liability on the green). Not to mention his SG: off the tee dropped from 58th last year to 190th this year. If he can figure out the driver and actually knock down putts then he will have a shot at staying relevant here.
    • Chez Reavie ($7,600 DK – $9,400 FD) – Reavie is like the Wal-Mart brand Zach Johnson — making his bread and butter on accuracy and consistency. He’s played well here in his last two attempts finishing 8th and 18th and he hasn’t missed a cut in 6 events since the Dell Technologies Championship so he might be someone to consider.
      • Tway on DraftKings & Ancer on FanDuel
      • Kevin Tway ($7,500 DK) & Abraham Ancer ($9,300 FD) – Tway has been on a tear this season and looks like a different player with improved short iron game but hasn’t fared well here in the past, which is probably why his price is so low on DraftKings. In Ancer’s last six events he has 3 top 10’s so for $9,300 on FanDuel that is an excellent deal.

Sleepers ($7,400 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Andrew Putnam ($7,400 DK – $9,600 FD) – it’s tough to find golfers in this range that would be considered strong cash plays but Putnam might fit that build. He is one of five guys down here that played last week in Hawaii where he finished T14 and he’s really coming into his own making eight consecutive cuts.
    • Patrick Rodgers ($7,400 DK – $9,000 FD) – in his last six events P-Rodg has only missed one cut and has four top 25s including a 2nd place finish at his last event (RSM Classic). Typically this might not be his favorite type of course but right now he is 36th on tour in SG: approaching the green so he might be a sneaky good this week.
    • Sam Ryder ($7,200 DK – $8,900 FD) – Ryder missed his last cut at the RSM but in his four other events this season has two top 5 finishes. This was Sam’s M.O. last year, he would struggle to crack the top 50 and then out of nowhere he’d post a top 5. This season he is 6th in SG: approaching the green and I think he has what it takes to get his first career win soon, could he do it here in a tougher field?
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Stewart Cink ($7,300 DK – $9,200 FD) – Stewart Cink hasn’t been playing his best golf lately but in recent years has been solid at Waialae. He had a great stretch in the middle of last season that ended with a 4th place finish at The Open, so maybe he can get it going again on a course that should suit his sharp iron game.
    • Steve Stricker ($7,300 DK – $9,000 FD) – it’s tough to tell how Stricker will look because we rarely see him play but in eleven events last year he only missed two cuts and finished inside the top 25 four times. I don’t see a top 10 in him this week but he could carve it up a little bit and get you into the weekend, might be a better low-end cash play now that I’m thinking about it… oh well — he’s staying right here.
    • Kevin Na ($7,200 DK – $9,100 FD) – I assume Na will have low ownership due to the fact that he stabbed so many of us in the back last week and is still questionable for this week. He might not be a bad guy to sprinkle in at this price if he has sub 5% ownership, especially considering it was only a finger injury.

Dark Horses

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Keith Mitchell ($6,900 DK – $8,900 FD) – Mitchell shot -10 here last year which was good enough for 25th place and started this season with a 22nd and 14th place finish so I’m wondering why DraftKings has him so low. He did miss his last cut but I still like him as a cheap option in DK to free up some cash for the rest of your lineup.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Jimmy Walker ($7,400 DK – $9,300 FD) – the back-to-back Sony Open champ in 2014 & 2015 has looked out of sorts the last couple of years. He’s played in two events this season finishing 39th and 29th so he is trending in the right direction to possibly come back for his throne at Waialae. Also, last year he was 19th in SG: approaching the green so if he can keep the ball in play with his driver he should have a shot at making it to the weekend.
Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.

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