Sony Open in Hawaii: Best Bets, Daily Fantasy Golf Picks, Course Key Stats, and Win Simulations

The PGA Tour rolls on in Hawaii for the Sony Open (in Hawaii -- kind of backed myself into a corner there) after last week's collapse by Collin Morikawa epic comeback by Jon Rahm at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

This week, the field is much larger. However, it's not as strong. How does that impact things?

Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.

You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.

Course Information and Key Stats
Golfers With Great Course History
Win Simulations
Best Bets
Daily Fantasy Picks

Waialae Country Club Course Info & Key Stats

Par: 70
Distance: 7,044 (around 160 yards shorter than the average par 70)
Fairway Width: 34.5 yards (48th of 80 qualified courses)
Average Green Size: 7,100 square feet (~118% of the PGA average)
Green Type: Bermuda
Past 5 Winning Scores: -23, -21, -11, -22, -17
Past 5 Cut Lines: -5, -4, +1, -2, -2
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate, Adjusted Strokes Gained, Driving Accuracy, Proximity from 125 to 200 Yards

It's no secret that unless the winds are really blowing that we'll need our golfers to cross over 20 under to win this thing. Wind can and does happen, of course, but even with it typically being a factor here, we see strokes gained: approach (as always) being the most important stat.

Usually, I'm looking at driving of some sort next. However, this week, it's not a big priority, and we can even consider giving some weight to driving accuracy. It's toward the end of the list, though, because it's never enough just to be accurate.

I'm actually going irons and putter pretty heavily this week.

If you want to get a little more detailed, proximity from 125 to 200 yards is pretty key -- but that'll get rolled up into strokes gained: approach anyway.

Golfers With Great Course/Event History

The best strokes gained averages among golfers who have played at least twice here over the past five years:

- Matt Kuchar (+2.07) - 7th, MC, MC, 1st, DNP
- Corey Conners (+1.83) - 11th, DNP, 12th, 3rd, 39th
- Brendan Steele (+1.79) - MC, 4th, 2nd, DNP, DNP
- Hideki Matsuyama (+1.77) - 1st, 19th, 12th, 51st, DNP
- Webb Simpson (+1.71) - 61st, 4th, 3rd, DNP, 4th
- Patton Kizzire (+1.55) - 42nd, 7th, MC, 13th, 1st
- Billy Horschel (+1.46) - 36th, 7th, DNP, DNP, DNP
- Chris Kirk (+1.41) - 27th, 2nd, MC, MC, 10th
- Keith Mitchell (+1.39) - 7th, 14th, MC, 16th, 25th
- Adam Svensson (+1.34) - 7th, DNP, DNP, 43rd, DNP

Past winners in the field include Hideki Matsuyama (2022), Matt Kuchar (2019), Patton Kizzire (2018), Jimmy Walker (2014 and 2015), Russell Henley (2013), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), and K.J. Choi (2008).

This certainly is no list of big hitters, so it's no wonder that we don't have to make driving distance a must.

Win Simulations for the Sony Open in Hawaii

Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Golfer FanDuelSalary Win% Top-10% MadeCut% FanDuelSportsbookWinOdds

Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the Sony Open in Hawaii

At the top of the board, we have some pretty efficient lines, but that won't stop me from getting to Tom Kim (+1100). He stripes his irons and is one of the most accurate drivers on Tour.

Even with Brian Harman moving from +2100 to +1800, I like him at this setup quite a lot and expand on him more in the DFS player picks section.

At longer odds, Andrew Putnam (+5500) and Matt Kuchar (+5000) are great course fits with the win juice to back this week, via the model.

Top-10 values include: Putnam (+500), Kuchar (+500), Brendon Todd (+700), Billy Horschel (+360), and Mark Hubbard (+1100).

I'll also throw first-round leader darts on Taylor Montgomery (+4200) and Hubbard (+11000).

Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Sony Open in Hawaii

All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.

Best of the Best

Tom Kim (FanDuel Salary: $11,900 | Golf betting odds: +1100) - Tom Kim is the real deal, and when we don't have to prioritize driving distance, he's someone that we should be excited to play. Kim leads the field (by far) in strokes gained: approach over the past 50 rounds (1.15 with nobody else above 0.87). He's fourth in accuracy, as well. The only downside is a lack of course knowledge, but that's something he's been dealing with as he acclimates to the PGA Tour anyway. That hasn't stopped him from reeling off six consecutive top-25s in as many worldwide starts.

Brian Harman ($11,500 | +2100) - Harman doesn't have the name value that others have around him, and he should go overlooked as a result. Harman is 11th in approach play, 22nd in accuracy, and 9th in strokes gained: tee to green. The results recently are really hard to ignore (six straight top-25 finishes and seven in his past eight starts).

Others to Consider:
Sungjae Im ($11,800 | +1400) - So close to Kim but could go overlooked; also has irons and accuracy.
Tom Hoge ($11,000 | +2200) - The one trailing Kim in strokes gained: approach recently? It's Hoge.
Keegan Bradley ($10,500 | +3400) - Stripes the irons; putter is viable lately. Two top-15s in past three starts here.

Mid-Range Picks

Andrew Putnam ($9,800 | +5500) - If you want to target guys who get a big boost at a course like this (where we can downplay distance), then Putnam makes that list. He's 125th in the field in distance but 20th in accuracy. He's also 30th in approach play and top-six in both short-game stats. He's used that profile to post a runner-up here in 2019. The form now is pretty solid overall.

J.T. Poston ($9,300 | +5000) - A pure value play last week, Poston came through with a T21 thanks to good ball-striking and putting. He isn't exactly accurate (76th) but isn't errant. But if we exclude strokes gained: off the tee, then Poston ranks seventh in the field in strokes gained: fairway through green.

Others to Consider:
Matt Kuchar ($9,900 | +5500) - Still has it at the right setups, which this is.
Denny McCarthy ($9,600 | +5000) - Is 46th in accuracy but also 7th in putting and a viable 54th in approach.

Low-Salaried Picks

Brendon Todd ($9,000 | +8000) - Todd is a prototypical distance-isn't-vital target, and that's especially true on bermuda greens. Todd has the 10th-best strokes gained average over the past 50 rounds if we include approach, around-the-green, and putting only, and he's 8th in driving accuracy in that split. Everything sets up for Todd to give us some value at this salary.

Robby Shelton ($8,900 | +9000) - The last time we saw Shelton, he finished T10 at the RSM Classic, and he turned out four total top-25 results in eight PGA Tour starts since the start of the 2022-23 season. He tore up the Korn Ferry Tour last summer and is fifth in the field in strokes gained: fairway through green. That's pretty sick.

Others to Consider:
Mark Hubbard ($8,400 | +14000) - Has the 9th-best irons and 24th-best putting in the field.
Greyson Sigg ($8,500 | +9500) - Balanced T2G profile (52nd) with good putting (18th) and plus accuracy.
Zac Blair ($7,300 | +19000) - Don't normally go this low, but the field is weak, and Blair is 36th in approach at a course where his accuracy could help.