2021 Sony Open Longshot Bets: Our Favorite Longshot Sleepers at Waialae
Ken Ishii/R&A/R&A via Getty Images. Pictured: Takumi Kanaya
- The 2021 Sony Open tees off on Thursday morning and is the first full-field event of the year.
- Some longshots have won the Sony in the past and our experts think these four sleepers could have a chance to cash at big odds this week.
The 2021 Sony Open, the first full-field PGA TOUR event of 2021, tees off on Thursday, Jan. 14 at Waialae Country Club in Hawaii. It is also is the venue of one of the most well-known betting trends in golf. The ol’ TOC-Sony Open correlation.
Seven of the last nine winners at the Sony have played the week before at the Tournament of Champions. Cameron Smith threw a wrench into that run last season, but Smith had been playing some of the higher-profile events in Australia along with the President’s Cup so he definitely didn’t arrive rusty.
You can expect that bettors will be flocking to players who tee’d it up last week, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see another Cam Smith come through at Waialae.
Here are our favorite sleeper bets for the 2021 Sony Open:
Takumi Kanaya (+17500)
The former No. 1-ranked amateur turned pro in October and needed all of a month to win his second career Japan Tour title. At a slight 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, I’m not sure he currently owns the power game necessary to compete at many of the game’s bigger ballparks, but this one should be right up his alley, with such an emphasis on solid iron play.
Am I going to play him as an outright sleeper and hope he brings that Japan Tour magic to Hawaii? That’s a little too aggressive. But at nearly 3/1 just for a top-30, I think the youngster’s got a chance to cash some props.
Michael Thompson (+16000)
Thompson is my only real longshot play this week.
He finished right in the middle of the pack at last week’s Tournament of Champions, even though Kapalua isn’t a course that fits him. Thompson lost about five strokes off the tee on a bomber’s track, so this shorter set-up should emphasize his putting and short iron strengths more than what we saw a week ago. That should give him a chance to pop up on the leaderboard.
Si Woo Kim (+8500)
We saw some of the best and most consistent golf of Si Woo Kim’s career over the summer as he finished in the Top 10 at the PGA Championship and was the 54-hole leader at the Wyndham Championship before finishing third.
Kim’s game is one that is a fit for the setup at Waialae, which rewards hitting fairways and greens. Kim showed that in his fourth-place finish at this event in 2016.
Kim has already shown the ability to win on TOUR and this should be another track that can give him an opportunity to find the winner’s circle again.
Marc Leishman (+7000)
After struggling for much of the 2020 season, Marc Leishman is starting to regain some of his form. When dialed in, the Aussie is an exceptional iron player who gets hot with his approaches. Leishman is historically a very good putter on Bermudagrass, and should rebound from a -5.1 strokes gained putting week.
As evidenced by a third-place finish in 2019, Waialae is a solid fit for Leishman. His weakness of late has been off the tee; and while the fairways are quite narrow, playing from the rough isn’t overly penal. Now is the time to buy low on Leishman before the oddsmakers catch up to his steadily improving play.