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2022 Sony Open: Best DraftKings plays from each price range

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The PGA Tour moves to Honolulu as we stay in Hawaii for another week to play the 2021 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. Waialae is a 7,044-yard par 70 that was built in 1927 and has annually featured a Tour event since 1965. The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the calendar year.

The 2021 Sony Open field is comprised of 144 golfers. Some notable names in the field include Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im, Corey Conners, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith.

The Sony Open typically produces a low scoring affair, and with soft conditions in Hawaii, this season could provide even more birdies. Wind is about all the course has in terms of defense, so it may prove wise to keep an eye on the forecast this week.

Let’s take a look at each DraftKings price range and identify the best plays for each in GPP’s.

10,000+

Cameron Smith $11,200

Two players have won the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in back-to-back weeks (Ernie Els and Justin Thomas), and I believe Cameron Smith has a real chance at being the third. As the favorite on the odds board to win the event, I wouldn’t advise making an outright bet for it to happen, but I love it as a DFS play.

Something about Hawaii helps Smith play his best golf, and Aussies have had success at both Kapalua and Waialae. Cam now has wins at both, and there is no reason to think he will slow down. When he won the Sony Open in 2020, he gained 8.2 strokes putting and showed that he loves these Hawaii bermudagrass greens once again last week by gaining 6.5 strokes on the field.

Webb Simpson will be the most popular player from this range on DraftKings so pivoting to Smith and eating the extra salary makes a lot of sense in GPP’s.

9,000+

Marc Leishman $10,000:

Leishman has two top-five finishes in his past three starts at Waialae and is coming off of a week where he played some pretty good golf. Seven of the past eight winners at Sony have played the previous week at Sentry TOC, so his appearance last week could prove important. The 38-year-old was solid statistically in his 2022 debut, gaining 2.1 strokes on approach. 

 Last season at this event, the Aussie gained 6.1 strokes on approach, which was good for third-best in the field, trailing only Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama for the week.

In addition to the fantastic course history at Waialae, Leishman has been excellent in Hawaii in his career, having two top-five finishes at Kapalua in his past five tries. After round two of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Leishman spoke about how similar Hawaii golf was to playing golf in Australia, which may explain the incredible success Aussies have had both at Kapalua and Waialae. Ranking third in the field in birdies or better, he should have the firepower to keep up in a low scoring event. 

8,000+

Billy Horschel $8,700:

Billy Horschel is another golfer who teed it up last week at Kapalua, which could be important for his chances this week. While his statistics weren’t very good at the Tournament of Champions, history tells us that even golfers who hadn’t played all that well the prior week have still benefited greatly from being in the field.

“Bermuda Billy” showed us last season that Waialae is a comfortable spot for him as he finished in 7th place while gaining 8.0 strokes putting. That may be a concern for most players, but Horschel isn’t the type of player who wins with an immaculate tee to green performance. He wins by lighting it up with the putter on bermudagrass, and that has consistently been the recipe for winners at Waialae in the past. Cameron Smith took a similar approach in 2020, where he gained 8.2 strokes putting and lost to the field on Strokes Gained: Approach. It is plausible to envision getting it done on a shorter par 70 track this week in Honolulu.

7,000+

Matt Kuchar $7,500:

Matt Kuchar has been a disappointment for the better part of eighteen months, but if there is a course on Tour where he can put together a solid performance, it’s Waialae Country Club. In his past seven starts at the course, he has three top-ten finishes in addition to winning the Sony Open in 2019. Despite not playing his best golf of late, Kuchar tends to find some form on courses that he is comfortable at. In November, he finished 22nd at Mayakoba (a course that he has won in the past) despite being in poor form. A short Bermuda track where Kuchar doesn’t have to try to keep up with big hitters off of the tee is still the best possible situation for the 43-year-old.

6,000+

Sahith Theegala $6,500:

I wrote a story last month identifying Theegala as a breakout candidate for 2022. With intentions of betting him often this year at long odds, the Sony Open seems like a great place to start. Having just earned his Tour card by playing his way in via the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Theegala should be kicking off his 2022 season with confidence.

The 24-year-old certainly has the talent to get his breakout win on the PGA Tour, and a weaker field event like we will see this week gives him a shot to get it done if he gets himself in the mix. The former Haskins award winner has had a bit of difficulty with driving accuracy, and that shouldn’t be as costly at Waialae as it is at a typical Tour stop.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 Sony Open Outright Selections: Kevin Kisner primed for big week in Honolulu

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The PGA Tour moves to Honolulu as we stay in Hawaii for another week to play the 2021 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. Waialae is a 7,044-yard par 70 that was built in 1927 and has annually featured a Tour event since 1965. The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the calendar year.

The 2021 Sony Open field is comprised of 144 golfers. Some notable names in the field include Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im, Corey Conners, Marc Leishman, and Cameron Smith.

The Sony Open typically produces a low scoring affair, and with soft conditions in Hawaii, this season could provide even more birdies. Wind is about all the course has in terms of defence, so it may prove wise to keep an eye on the forecast this week.

2022 Sony Open Outright Selections

Marc Leishman (+2900) (FanDuel):

In 2021, I bet Marc Leishman at the Sony Open and have been waiting patiently for another chance to do so in 2022.

Leishman has two top-five finishes in his past three starts at Waialae and is coming off of a week where he played some pretty good golf. Seven of the past eight winners at Sony have played the previous week at Sentry TOC, so his appearance last week could prove important. The 38-year-old was solid statistically in his 2022 debut, gaining 2.1 strokes on approach. 

 Last season at this event, the Aussie gained 6.1 strokes on approach, which was good for third-best in the field, trailing only Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama for the week.

In addition to the fantastic course history at Waialae, Leishman has been excellent in Hawaii in his career, having two top-five finishes at Kapalua in his past five tries. After round two of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Leishman spoke about how similar Hawaii golf was to playing golf in Australia, which may explain the incredible success Aussies have had both at Kapalua and Waialae. Ranking third in the field in birdies or better, he should have the firepower to keep up in a low scoring event. 

After a solid swing season, with three top 20s in four starts, Leishman has a great shot to carry some momentum into 2022. 

Kevin Kisner (+3500) (DraftKings):

Kevin Kisner is a golfer who has his courses that he plays well almost every year. Those courses include Sedgefield Country Club, Sea Island, Harbour Town Golf Links, and yes: Waialae Country Club. “Kiz” will be the first to tell you he can’t compete with the long hitters on every course on Tour, but Waialae is definitely among the courses he has a real shot. The 37-year-old has three top five’s in his past six appearances at the event and hasn’t missed the cut in that time frame.

Kisner also fits the trend of golfers who played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week, and surprisingly he played very well at Kapalua. He gained 2.7 strokes on approach en route to an 8th place finish in a loaded field. Perhaps more importantly, Kisner gained 5.4 strokes putting which was the most he’s gained since June of 2021. During his rough stretch last year, the former Georgia Bulldog went through a slump with the flatstick, which was extremely uncharacteristic.

“Kiz” has managed to come away with a win in his career at most of “his” courses, with Waialae being one that he has yet to completely concur. That could change this week as he is clearly comfortable and in good form.

Billy Horschel (+4500) (DraftKings):

Billy Horschel is another golfer who teed it up last week at Kapalua, which could be important for his chances this week. While his statistics weren’t very good at the Tournament of Champions, history tells us that even golfers who hadn’t played all that well the prior week have still benefited greatly from being in the field.

“Bermuda Billy” showed us last season that Waialae is a comfortable spot for him as he finished in 7th place while gaining 8.0 strokes putting. That may be a concern for most players, but Horschel isn’t the type of player who wins with an immaculate tee to green performance. He wins by lighting it up with the putter on bermudagrass, and that has consistently been the recipe for winners at Waialae in the past. Cameron Smith took a similar approach in 2020, where he gained 8.2 strokes putting and lost to the field on Strokes Gained: Approach. It is plausible to envision getting it done on a shorter par 70 track this week in Honolulu.

Sahith Theegala (+20000) (DraftKings):

I wrote a story last month identifying Theegala as a breakout candidate for 2022. With intentions of betting him often this year at long odds, the Sony Open seems like a great place to start. Having just earned his Tour card by playing his way in via the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Theegala should be kicking off his 2022 season with confidence.

The 24-year-old certainly has the talent to get his breakout win on the PGA Tour, and a weaker field event like we will see this week gives him a shot to get it done if he gets himself in the mix. The former Haskins award winner has had a bit of difficulty with driving accuracy, and that shouldn’t be as costly at Waialae as it is at a typical Tour stop.

It may be a longshot for Theegala to actually win, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 2013, another former Haskins award winner Russell Henley won the event for his first win on the PGA Tour. Following suit could create a necessary jumpstart for Sahith’s career.

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