2023 Sony Open Final Round Odds & Picks: Head-to-Head Sunday Plays
Pictured: Corey Conners. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The stars might be aligning for Hayden Buckley to capture his first PGA Tour title. The 26-year-old enters the Sony Open’s final round with a two-shot lead over the field.
Buckley ranks as one of only three golfers this week who has graded inside the top 68% of competitors daily in ball striking returns. He joins Keita Nakajima and Kyoung-Hoon Lee, and even though we have seen a heightened output from him with his short game, the comprehensive array of safety he has provided is worth noting when trying to run a model.
If you are looking for a negative trait to point toward when trying to figure out why he might not get across the finish line, his 5.40 shot enhancement in around-the-green performance over his baseline does pose some trouble if his iron play goes south when push comes to shove. However, Buckley grades as one of only five players who has gained off-the-tee and approach through all three rounds of this tournament.
We will see if that continues as he plays for the most significant victory of his career, but the baseline numbers are there for him if he can continue to string together his top-notch output data for the week.
If you aren’t doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
Sony Open Head-To-Head Play
Corey Conners (-115) over Adam Scott (Bet365)
Oh, Corey Conners. The good times we have shared over the years have been unraveling this weekend at Waialae Country Club.
Conners’ expected output when we give him his baseline short-game over his produced metrics does jump him into the top 15 of this leaderboard, but it is more about what happens to Adam Scott versus any other reason as to why I am testing my luck again in this matchup.
The Aussie has delivered a tournament-leading +6.36 shots around the green this week (good for nearly 6.60 above his baseline), and the increased luck that has been generated in his scoring creation does suggest some regression might be on its way.
Going into Saturday, I had this accurately priced at -157, and even though there has been some reduction in that total after both golfers went in varying directions on my sheet, somewhere in the -140s continues to hold steady as the proper going rate is for these two in a one-on-one setting.
Kyoung-Hoon Lee (-115) over Andrew Putnam (Bet365)
I view this as one of those spots where Andrew Putnam being in contention does more harm for him than good since his long-term metrics are shooting red flags all over my model when I run this tournament out for Sunday. However, none of that guarantees this blistering pace comes to an end before the event concludes.
Those can be some of the tricky situations we encounter when making bets since we know the data isn’t sustainable, and it doesn’t take much diving into my model to see this glaring inflation in expected production throughout various areas of Putnam’s game.
The 33-year-old is 7.76 shots below K.H. Lee in projected scoring when we remove the more volatile short-game data for the week and replace it with their baseline numbers. The shift for Putnam was enough to view him as someone who should be in the bottom 10 of the leaderboard, even though he will enter Sunday inside the top five.
My model believes the proper price for these two is closer to -135
Nick Hardy (+100) over Will Gordon (Bet365)
We have gotten three consecutive rounds from Will Gordon where he has outgained his ball-striking — a notable output since my model was already lower on him than the general public coming into the week.
Nick Hardy has provided back-to-back stellar days after a slow start to his week in Hawaii, and it feels like one of those spots where a site like Bet365 is holding steady in their pre-tournament projections, even though I already had this more in the range of Hardy -113 before a ball was struck on Thursday.
With the metrics continuing to push this higher up my board through three rounds of golf, my model now believes Hardy is closer to -125 for Sunday’s matchup, making this an excellent value selection to consider if there are shops slow to move to both golfer’s non-scoring performances.