2023 Sony Open Odds, Picks, Predictions: Adam Scott, Billy Horschel, More
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Scott
Click arrow to expand 2023 Sony Open odds via BetRivers
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The PGA TOUR moves to Honolulu as we stay in Hawaii for one more week to play the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. Waialae is a 7,044-yard par 70 that was built in 1927 and has annually featured a TOUR event since 1965. The Sony Open is the first full-field event of the year.
The Sony Open field is comprised of 144 golfers. Some notable names in the field include Tom Kim, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Cam Davis, Adam Scott and Webb Simpson.
The Sony Open is typically a low-scoring affair, and we should see plenty of birdies. Wind is about all the course has in terms of defense, so it may prove wise to keep an eye on the forecast this week.
Past Winners at the Sony Open
- 2022: Hideki Matsuyama (-23)
- 2021: Kevin Na (-21)
- 2020: Cameron Smith (-11)
- 2019: Matt Kuchar (-22)
- 2018: Patton Kizzire (-17)
- 2017: Justin Thomas (-27)
- 2016: Fabian Gomez (-20)
- 2015: Jimmy Walker (-23)
Let’s take a look at several metrics for Waialae Country Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:
Strokes Gained: Approach
Green sizes are much smaller at Waialae than we saw last week at Kapalua. Golfers will also be hitting greens in regulation at a far lower clip, therefore requiring iron play to be even more sharp in order to go low.
- Tom Kim (+29.7) (+1200)
- Tom Hoge (+26.4) (+3000)
- Russell Knox (+21.2) (+15000)
- Brian Harman (+18.9) (+3500)
- Corey Conners (+15.9) (+2800)
Good Drives Gained
Not only are the greens much smaller at Waialae than we saw at Kapalua, but the fairways are also a lot smaller as well. Last week, golfers were spraying errant drives with little consequence; that won’t be the case this week.
While missing the fairway might not be incredibly penal, those who split the middle on the narrow fairways will be rewarded with flat lies and straightforward approach shots.
Total Good Drives Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Corey Conners (+30.2) (+2800)
- Aaron Rai (+25.0) (+9000)
- Ryan Armour (+23.6) (+15000)
- Cameron Percy (+22.2) (+30000)
- Russell Henley (+22.0) (+2500)
Strokes Gained: Short Game
With small fairways and greens, it is to be expected that golfers will have to scramble around the green at one point or another. Strokes Gained: Short Game encompasses both chipping around the green and putting to account for tough par putts while scrambling.
Historically, players with great hands and short games have had success here (Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Patton Kizzire, Cameron Smith, Kevin Na).
Strokes Gained: Short Game in past 24 rounds:
- Taylor Montgomery (+31.5) (+2500)
- Andrew Putnam (+29.5) (+5000)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+29.1) (+4500)
- Maverick McNealy (+27.1) (+3500)
- Scott Piercy (+22.3) (+20000)
Birdie or Better Gained
While Waialae presents its fair share of challenges, the winning score will likely be somewhere in the -20 to -27 range; therefore, birdies are a must. In an event where par isn’t good enough on most holes, golfers who can get hot and go low need to be targeted this week.
Birdie or Better Gained past 24 rounds:
- Tom Kim (+20.7) (+1200)
- Taylor Montgomery (+18.8) (+2500)
- Cameron Davis (+17.7) (+4000)
- Ben Griffin (+16.8) (+13000)
- David Lingmerth (+14.6) (+20000)
Course history seems to be particularly important at Waialae, as 16 of the past 17 winners have played the course previously before hoisting the trophy. It is also common to see similar players pop up on the leaderboard year after year in Honolulu, so a bit of course history should be factored in.
Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds (per round, minimum 16 rounds):
- Matt Kuchar (+1.9) (+4500)
- Corey Conners (+1.8) (+2800)
- Webb Simpson (+1.6) (+5500)
- Patton Kizzire (+1.3) (+11000)
- Hideki Matusyama (+1.2) (+1800)
Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.
These rankings are comprised of SG: App (27.5%) Good Drives Gained (22.5%); SG: Short Game (18%); Course History (18%); and Birdie or Better Gained (14%)
- Tom Kim (+1200)
- Russell Knox (+15000)
- Tom Hoge (+3000)
- Brian Harman (+3500)
- Emiliano Grillo (+5000)
- Sungjae Im (+1200)
- Corey Conners (+2800)
- Andrew Putnam (+5000)
- Ben Griffin (+13000)
- Russell Henley (+2500)
2023 Sony Open Picks
Corey Conners +2800 (PointsBet)
Corey Conners played in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, finishing in a tie for 18th place. History would indicate that just playing at Kapalua is a strong indicator of success at the Sony Open, with 17 of the past 24 winners having done so. The Canadian finished strong and shot 67 (-6) in his final round Sunday.
Another strong indicator of success at the Sony Open has been past success at Waialae. In Conners’ last three starts at the event he’s finished 3rd, 12th and 11th and ranks second in Strokes Gained: Total at the course in his past 36 rounds.
Of all the courses on the PGA TOUR, putting is the most important at Waialae. At first glance, that would lead one to believe that Conners would be a bad choice given his putting struggles throughout his career. However, there’s something about the greens here that seem to fit Conners well. In his past 36 rounds, he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Putting per round.
Billy Horschel +3500 (DraftKings)
Billy Horschel also fits the familiar theme on my outright card of having played last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. Kapalua wasn’t the best course fit for Horschel, but Waialae should be more in his wheelhouse.
In his start in 2021 at the Sony Open, Horschel finished in seventh place and gained a whopping 8.0 strokes putting on the field. With the emphasis on putting this week, he’s a good candidate to catch a hot putter in Hawaii.
Last week, Horschel struggled off the tee. With this week’s course being much shorter and with less heavy hitters at the top of the odds board, he should have an easier time keeping up with the field off the tee. His approach play was encouraging as he gained 3.5 strokes on approach.
The 36-year-old struggled after the offseason layoff and opened last week’s event with a terrible round of +3. However, he bounced back in the following three rounds, shooting under par each day including an excellent round of 64 (-9) on Saturday.
If he can carry his weekend momentum with him to Honolulu, he should be able to capitalize on the weaker field.
Adam Scott +4500 (PointsBet)
You guessed it. Adam Scott is another player who played in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. While his finishing position (29th) wasn’t spectacular, his tee to green statistics were fine enough. He really struggled with the putter, but he’s been one of the better putters on TOUR over the past few seasons, so I think it’s safe to say last week was an aberration.
It was a while ago, but the Australian does have some success at Waialae. He finished 2nd in 2008 and 8th in 2014. Granted, he was one of the best golfers in the world at that point, but it’s still encouraging to see that when he was playing the Sony Open regularly, he was getting into contention.
Scott is 40 years old, but that’s another trend that may be in his favor this week. Only four golfers in their 20s have won this event since 2000. I also find it encouraging that Scott lost in a playoff at the 2021 Wyndham Championship. There seems to be some carryover in terms of the skill set required to compete at both courses and the type of players who routinely show up on the leaderboard of each.
I believe there’s a good deal of value on this number give the field and the players surrounding Scott on the betting board.
Chez Reavie +20000 (PointsBet)
Chez Reavie hasn’t been in great form in the past six months but fits a lot of the trends I am looking at this week at Waialae. The 41-year-old played in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions and also finished the event hot, shooting a 68 (-5) on Sunday. He also has had a good deal of success at this event, posting a 3rd place finish in 2019 and an 8th in 2017.
At long odds, Reavie has the accuracy and type of game that’s fared well at the course. With three PGA TOUR wins on his resume, he’s capable of closing out the tournament if he finds himself in the mix over the weekend.
Taiga Semikawa +30000 (DraftKings)
Get to know the name Taiga Semikawa.
The 21-year-old recently turned professional after winning three professional events on Japan’s top tour. He won the Panasonic open on September 25th and four weeks later he became the first ever amateur to win the Japan Open, which is a major championship on the Japanese Tour. He beat some serious golfers at the Japan Open, including Adam Scott, en route to his third consecutive victory.
All signs point to Semikawa being the next Japanese superstar. Did I mention he was named after Tiger Woods?