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Sony Open

the sony open in hawaii 2022 DraftKings Preview

We sure got our fill of birdies and eagles last week. The Tournament of Champions left Kapalua scorched and ablaze. Standing above the flames was Cameron Smith after he beat world #1, Jon Rahm, by a stroke. Smith will return to familiar ground this week as a former champion. The PGA Tour heads to Honolulu and Waialae Country Club for The Sony Open in Hawaii. Let's get you set to see some green screens on DraftKings this weekend. 

What's up golf addicts! AC here, checking in week to week to provide a quick preview of the upcoming PGA Tour event. I’ll give you the lowdown on the course, the players, some key stats, and our favorite DraftKings picks for the week. 

I am always excited to see Waialae Country Club. I was 11 when Nintendo released the title game and it was one of the first games I ever fell in love with. My obsession with Tiger Woods was already kickstarted and I owe Nintendo for fueling my passion for golf. Another reason to be excited about The Sony Open is it's the first full-field event of the year and the race to Major SZN begins. The Masters is just 87 days away!

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The Field and Tournament Details for the 

Cam Smith loves Hawaii. He has two PGA Tour wins. Both in Hawaii. Last week he won the ToC shooting a PGA record -34 at Kapalua. This week he will return to Waialae CC where he won The Sony Open in 2020. Smith won at -11 in 2020 but winning scores have been closer to double that in years prior. Kevin Na is the defending champion with his win in 2021 at -21. Justin Thomas won at -27 in 2017 and Jimmy Walker won this event in back-to-back years from 2014-15 with a combined total of -40. More past Sony Open champs in the field this week are Matt Kuchar (2019), Patton Kizzire (2018), Russell Henley (2013), Ryan Palmer (2010), and Zach Johnson (2009).

The field has a cap of 144 players including four spots for open qualifiers. The top 65 and ties will make the cut. Though pricing or betting odds are not yet available, there are some studs who have committed. Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners, Sungjae Im, Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson, Harris English, Hideki Matsuyama, and Jason Kokrak are just some of the talent that will tee it up in Honolulu.

Some Sony Open trends to note; 16 of the last 23 winners have played the Tournament of Champions the week before and 15 of the last 21 winners have played Waialae before. The last 11 champs at Waialae had a top 15 within their last three starts.

WAIALAE COUNTRY CLUB key stats & Course Breakdown

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  • Course: Waialae Country Club
  • Location: Honolulu, HI USA
  • Yardage: 7,044
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: Seth Raynor (1927)
  • Comp Courses: Seaside Course (Sea Island), Sedgefield CC, PGA West (Palmer), Port Royal GC, Colonial CC

The 7,000 yard Par 72 Waialae Country Club plays a little different for The Sony Open.  The Tour cuts it down to a par 70 and even more interesting is the front and back nines are swapped for the event. Waialae CC has been a stop for the PGA Tour since 1965. It's a course that favors shorter, more accurate drivers of the ball and those with the silkiest of mitts in the short game dept.

From tee to green the course is Bermudagrass. There are a ton of bunkers (83 to be exact) but not much water as the wet stuff only comes into play on five holes. The main defense on this course is the wind. It looks to be tame for at least the first two days but be sure to keep an eye on the forecast, especially for showdown slates.

Key Stats for The Sony Open at Waialae CG

  • Putting
  • Approach
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Opps Gained
  • Birdie or Better %
  • 400-500 yard Par 4 scoring

With over 50 years of course history, it is easy to find what works well at Waialae CC. Looking at Key stats, there are some clear correlations. Putting is very important, followed by driving accuracy and approach. The rough isn't super penal as the Greens in Regulation % is above Tour average. With that, I like Fantasy National's Good Drives stat (measures all drives that end up with a green in regulation regardless if they hit the fairway). Like always, with a ton of birdie potential, I love me some FNGC Opps Gained and Birdie or Better %.

There are only two par 5s so guys will need to score on those but, both are reachable for most of the field. That will put an emphasis on par 4 scoring and more specifically 400-500 yarders. There will be 10 holes played every round in that range. That also narrows down the approach bucket which sees a high volume of shots from 150-200 yards out.

Here's a tidbit from our Nut Hut in-house caddie; "Bonus to be in the fairway so your not gauging flier lies to the front edges all week but you can survive from the rough if you’re not living in it. Bermuda though so you have to know what you’re doing"

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The Picks & Fades

Each week we will give you some plays and a fade from each DraftKings salary range. For all of DB and Pat’s thoughts and picks make sure to check out and subscribe to the Tour Junkies Podcast.

**DB and Pat's picks will be updated Wednesday afternoon**

To Play or Not to Play Brooks Koepka

BK is not in the field

$9K & Above 

  • DB: Play -  | Fade - 
  • Pat: Play - | Fade -
  • AC: Play - Marc Leishman, Abe Ancer, Talor Gooch | Fade - Corey Conners

I know.. AC, wtf!? So let's get to Conners right away. Yes, Conners has putted well here. Yes, he is a phenomenal ball-striker. However, he hasn't played in over a month, recently had his first baby, and his ownership will be super chalk. I faded him at the RSM which was the correct move and he's only bagged one top 20 since August. There is so much talent up top this week, he's an easy pivot for me.

The theme for me this week will be "guys who played last week." Leish played well at the ToC and is coming in with back-to-back T20s. He also has fantastic course history and is one of the better Bermudagrass putters in the field. Ancer didn't play as well as he would have liked last week but he isn't going to win an event that gets to -34. Nothing to write home about history-wise but he's one of the most accurate drivers of the ball and is solid on the green. I'm just going to keep riding Gooch all season. He's been of the hottest players on Tour the last few months.

$8K Range

  • DB: Play -  | Fade - 
  • Pat: Play -  | Fade -
  • AC: Play - Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley | Fade - Jason Kokrak

The $8k range is STACKED this week. I might not see any reason to leave it. If you are playing cash, load the F up. Anyway, a couple of selections for your consideration.

When we get a lot of course history, the narrative of 'trends' becomes very popular. It's fun to think about and when the trends tend to produce results, well, some are worth pursuing. I listed some of the trends above but of the nine mentionable trends, Kisner fits all of them. He also played superb last week and loves this place. Plus his Georgia Bulldogs just won the Natty so... think he's fueled. Henley may be the only guy I put in my lineups that didn't play last week. Why? Because he is #1 in my regular model and my mixed condition model. It's hard to ignore so might have to trust the numbers.

Unfortunately, of those trends I mentioned earlier, Kokrak actually fits eight of them. I just really don't like his game for here and wasn't impressed last week.

$7K Range

  • DB: Play -  | Fade - 
  • Pat: Play -  | Fade -
  • AC: Play - Si Woo Kim, Keith Mitchell, Stewart Cink | Fade - Denny McCarthy

Unless you are new here, you know how much I love my $7k range. It's my favorite place to start every week and it's not uncommon for me to field at least one lineup solely in that range.

With that said, there aren't many guys down here that played last week so it's going to be hit or miss. I was on Si Woo last week and he went nuclear one round but don't hold any of the rest against him. He hadn't played in quite a while so pretty solid rust knocker. I like rooting for Killa Keith. Though his ability to smash it here won't be a huge advantage, a couple of his finishes at the Sony Open prove he can adjust. He's playing great golf and I'll be on him when I can. Cink did what he needed to do last week and his 15 starts here should give him quite an edge.

Denny has been on quite a tear. Three straight top 15s. Pretty impressive. Sort of. Those events aren't the strongest. His ownership is creeping closer to 20% and he's never played a competitive round at Waialae. With all of the talent surrounding him, think it's an easy spot to pivot. If you have some FOMO, fire a T20 and sit back.

$6K Range

  • DB: Play - 
  • Pat: Play -
  • AC: Play - Max McGreevy, Hayden Buckley, Nick Hardy

These three young studs will find their way into a lot of my lineups this season. Mcgreevy has given me back-to-back top 20s and rates out real well in my model. Neither McGreevy nor Buckley has any Sony Open experience but they're young, you have to start somewhere. Like Buckley's scoring ability as well. Hardy doesn't quite rate out as well as the other two but he played Waialae in 2021 and finished with an impressive T14.

There ya go. Golf is back. Ease yourself into it. Lots of question marks. Make sure to check the weather before lock and each round if you are firing Showdown. Good luck!

THE INS & OUTS

As of 5pm est Tuesday
OUT 
Scott Piercy, Lucas Herbert, Pat Perez, Chez Reavie, Bryson DeChambeau, Brice Garnett, Garrick Higgo, Troy Merritt

IN

Bo Van Pelt (alternate), Bo Hoag (alternate), Cameron Percy (alternate), Brent Grant (Sponsor), Vaughn Taylor (alternate), Ryan Armour (alternate), Chase Seiffert (alternate), Camilo Villegas (alternate)

Open Qualifiers

63 (-9) BJ Doucett (9 birdies), 66 (-6) Jared Sawada (8 birdies, 2 bogeys), 67 (-5) Koichiro Ishika (6 birdies, 1 bogey), Andy Ogletree (5 birdies)

*Field is set at 144 with the top 65 and ties making the cut