The PGA TOUR moves to Honolulu as we stay in Hawaii for another week to play the 2021 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.
Thirty-two of the 42 golfers who teed it up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions will make the jump over to the Sony Open and complete in both events of the Hawaii swing this weekend.
Five of the top 10 golfers in the FedExCup standings will be teeing it up at the Sony Open including Collin Morikawa and Webb Simpson, while Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar are just some of the other big names in attendance.
Course: Waialae Country Club
Length: 7044 yards (Par 70)
Architect: Seth Raynor
The players stay in Hawaii for the first regular event of the year the Sony Open.
The tournament his headlined by Morikawa, Simpson, and last week’s winner Harris English – and it’s worth making a note of who played last week because six of the last seven winners of this event all played the TOC the week before and that experience at this course seems to be a bigger advantage than normal.
Waialae CC is a classical golf course designed in the 1920s. It’s a par 70 with two par 5s and four par 3s that all measure between 175-200 yards.
The fairways are almost 10% harder to hit than average but the greens in regulation numbers are still a couple percentage points higher than the tour average, this tells me that the rough is manageable and as long as the players stay out of the trees accuracy of the tee isn’t all that important.
When we look at past winners and people that usually do well here, we can also sniff out that you don’t have to be a bomber to do here as last shown by Kuchar winning two years ago and Cam Smith being the reigning champion.
The greens are smallish Bermuda but according to the weather forecast it will not be windy most of the week so I would lean more towards top-class iron players than short game wizards as Cam Smith.
He won a windy and rain-soaked edition last year at -11 but expect to see a more traditional winning score in the low twenties under par again this year.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Par 4 scoring
- Strokes gained approach
- Proximity 150-175 yards
- Birdies or better gained
- Bermuda putting
Simpson is the favourite but still severely overpriced in my view. He is one of the top-10 players in the world but if any of the other top guys had been here in his place they would have been between 6 and 9 to 1.
Waialae CC negates his shortcomings off the tee as you don’t have to be a bomber to win here at all and when we look at what all top performers over the years here have done well it comes down to iron play and putting.
Webb is one of if not the best Bermuda putter in the world and we all know that his iron game is world-class like we saw last week when he gained 5,6 strokes on approach.
He also checks of the course history box having played here eight times over the past decade and finishing 4th and 3rd in his last two starts here.
The South Korean started the year off right with a T5 last week gaining almost ten strokes tee to green but giving back three of them on the greens.
He is usually one of the best Bermuda putters there is, so I’m not worried that he cannot turn that part of his game around this week and after a somewhat disappointing fall, his last two big tournaments has seen him come runner up at The Masters and 5th at Kapalua as a first timer both places.
These are courses who normally heavily favours course experience and in my opinion, he should be the second favourite on the board so when we get him at only the fifth lowest number at a course he has a 16th and a 21st in his two starts it’s a no brainer bet for me.
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