Waialae Country Club, Honalulu, Hawaii
Par 70, 7,044 yards
This week the PGA Tour stays in Hawaii and travels to Waialae Country Club, which is located east of Honolulu for the Sony Open. Previous winners include Jimmy Walker (2015 and 2014), Russell Henley (2013), Johnson Wagner (2012), Mark Wilson (2011) and Ryan Palmer (2010).
Waialae is a par 70 measuring 7,044 yards and sits on Maunalua Bay, which can be prone to windy conditions. It has 12 par 4’s, four par 3’s and just two par 5’s which measure 499 and 521 yards and should be reachable in two by most of the field. This course is different from Kapalua with Waialae being a lot tighter and flatter with small greens. The fairways are narrow and tree lined, which will favour the more accurate players. The greens here are much smaller compared to the generously sized greens last week at The Plantation Course.
Although these fairways are a tighter, there are also a lot of fairway bunkers to contend with so driving accuracy will be important this week. The tiny greens are Bermuda grass and are guarded by hazards so look out for good GIR stats, good scramblers and good Bermuda putters with an emphasis on strokes gained tee to green.
Jimmy Walker 14/1
Walker hasn’t been firing on all cylinders in his last couple of tournaments but he seems to be coming back showing some form just in time for The Sony. He started2015/2016 campaign off with a T50 at the Shriners shooting 66,67,69 and then played poorly in the final round shooting a disappointing 78. He followed that with a respectable T8 at The Hero World Challenge to finish 17 under for the week. Last week at The Hyundai he finished in an impressive T10 on 15 under for the week which included a very impressive third round 64.
He has a great record at Waialae winning this event the last two years in a row. He also finished T26 in 2013 and solo fourth in 2011. With good previous form on this course and two decent performances over the last few weeks, Jimmy Walker looks a good shout here this week.
Justin Thomas 30/1
Thomas has been playing well since the end of last season finishing T13 at The BMW, T16 at The Barclays and T18 at The PGA Championship. He started the new season in style only finishing outside the top 30 once in his last five events. He had a great week at The Frys.com Open finishing T3 on 14 under par for the week and followed that with a superb performance at The CIMB Classic beating Kevin Na in a playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory.
Most recently he finished in a respectable T27 at The WGC HSBC Champions and T21 last week at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He has only played here once before which was last year when he finished T6 on 12 under par for the tournament which included a superb second round 61. With a great start to the season and a good performance last year, Thomas could be a huge contender here.
Harris English 30/1
English has been coming back into some form over the last few months and ended the 2014/2015 season with a T22 at The Tour Championship, T19 at The BMW and T12 at The Deutsche Bank. The American has been showing some good form recently with three top 25’s in his last four starts. He had a good week at The WGC HSBC Champions finishing in a respectable T23 and followed that with a T25 at The RSM Classic and a T2 at The Franklin Templeton Shootout.
He is another player with a superb record in Waialae finishing T3 last year where he lead par 4 scoring and hit the ball beautifully off the tee, T4 in 2014 and T9 in 2013. He leads strokes gained putting so far this season which will be a big help here this week on these small Bermuda greens.
Marc Leishman 35/1
Leishman started the new season off with a T29 at The CIMB Classic which included a final round 66 to finish on 11 under for the tournament. He followed that with a T11 at the WGC HSBC Champions shooting 65,68 over the weekend to finish 14 under par for the tournament. The Aussie then went to South Africa in early December and played superb all week shooting 68,68,66,67 to win the Nedbank Challenge on 19 under, six shots clear of runner up Henrik Stenson.
He has great form at Waialae finishing T5 in 2014, T9 in 2013, T27 in 2011 and T20 in 2010. Leishman has shown that he is a good wind player with a brilliant performance at The Open Championship losing to Zach Johnson in a playoff. He seems to be showing some super form at present and looks great value here on a course he has played so well on in the past.
Chris Kirk 45/1
Chris Kirk has been playing well over the last few weeks with three top 25’s in his last three starts. He had a good week at The RSM Classic finishing T18 on nine under for the week. He followed that with a T10 at The Hero World Challenge and finished T24th last week in Kapalua where he was fifth in GIR and 12th in Driving Accuracy which are two encouraging stats coming into this week.
He has a superb record around this course finishing T26 last year, T2 in 2014, T5 in 2013 and T30 in 2011. Kirk is a real horse for the course here and could have a great each way chance this week especially with good current form.
Final Selections –
Jimmy Walker 14/1 2pts EW
Justin Thomas 30/1 1.5 pts EW
Harris English 30/1 1.5 pts EW
Marc Leishman 35/1 1 pt EW
Chris Kirk 45/1 1 pt EW
Total Staked = 14 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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