Pamela Maldonado breaks down her top picks for the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.
yspm What a way to kick off a new year, hitting a Cam Smith 20 to 1 outright ticket last week at the Century Tournament of Champions. It is no surprise to now see Cam Smith as 9 to 1 favorite for this week’s event. Pam Maldonado here to give you my favorite players to target for this week’s PGA action at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Player number one, Corey Conners. Second in the field in strokes gained total behind only Cam Smith. He is one of the best iron players on tour right now. Conners is top five in the field for strokes gained on the approach.
The one downfall that Conners has, he’s terrible at putting. And when I say bad, I mean pretty bad, team No Putt, for sure. Except, Bermuda grass is actually his best surface. The last three times at this course Conners has gained strokes putting all three times. At 22 to 1, I would definitely play that along with Conners plus-200 for a top 10.
Player two, Webb Simpson. If you want to talk about horses for courses, that Simpson. He has a player skill set that fits the mold of this exact golf course. He is top 10 in most recorded rounds here at this course. And of that group, he is third in strokes gained in total.
Coming off three straight top 20 finishes to close out 2021. And here at this course specifically, in his last 11 rounds, Simpson has eight top 20 finishes, including three top fives. I really don’t love his 14 to 1 to win number, but it is warranted. Top 10, though, it is plus-130, that’s also a play.
Player three, Charles Howell III. Having experience at a course is one thing. Having experience and success at that course is another. And that’s Howell. He does leave the field in rounds played here at this course and in strokes gained total at this club. Truly this is a horses for courses. In his last 13 events– he played at Waialae Country Club– Hal has 10 top 20 finishes, 6 top 10s, gaining strokes in nearly every category every time.
Where he does happen to excel is off the tee and around the green, which could definitely come into play at this tournament. He is a longer shot to win at 40 to 1 odds, but you are getting plus money for Howell at plus-140 for a top 20 finish.
The fourth player that I like is one of the longer shots in the field, Denny McCarthy. Last week, I took Smith because he was the best putter in the field on Bermuda grass greens. This week, I’m taking McCarthy because he is the second best putter on Bermuda grass greens behind only Cam Smith.
He does have the third most recorded rounds on this surface, while also being top eight in strokes gained total. And because he has such a strong short game, that’s where he is gaining his strokes. The one caveat for McCarthy is that he has never played at Waialae Country Club. But He did finish three top 20s to close out the year just last season.
At 66 to 1, I am less inclined to believe that he can come out with the outright win, but I do like his plus-275 odds for him to finish in the top 20. And because you never know, it is golf, it is the PGA, we have seen crazier things happen, sprinkling on the 66 to 1 isn’t a bad thing.
Those are the four players that I do like for the Sony Open in Hawaii, targeting Corey Conners, Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III, and Denny McCarthy. You can find these top 20’s, top 10s, and outright odds at the Yahoo Sportsbook.