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2023 Sony Open Final Round Odds & Picks: Si Woo Kim Brings Winning Experience into Sunday

2023 Sony Open Final Round Odds & Picks: Si Woo Kim Brings Winning Experience into Sunday article feature image
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Pictured: Si Woo Kim. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We turned into the weekend at The Sony Open with the top three players on the odds boards having packed their bags, leaving behind a lot of unknown as to how some players would handle being at the top of the leaderboard. That inexperience showed quickly as 36-hole leader Chris Kirk, looking for his first win since 2015, double bogeyed the first hole. Playing partner and TOUR rookie Taylor Montgomery bogeyed the first two holes, immediately bringing a large chunk of the field back into contention.

Hayden Buckley took the lead to 15-under through three rounds on the strength of bookend eagles on his back nine holes. He holed out on his approach on the par-4 10th, then knocked his 222-yard approach on the par-5 18th to just over two feet to close the day with another big bird. He will go into Sunday as the leader as he seeks his first career TOUR win.

There isn’t much winning experience within a few shots of Buckley as only Si Woo Kim has won within the past couple of seasons. He will certainly be the biggest name to watch in the final round, but we know this is a course that can yield some low numbers if a player gets hot, leaving a number of players still in the hunt for the victory.

The added dimension on Sunday, even beyond the inexperience up top, will be the wind. This coastal course can be quite exposed and difficult when the wind is blowing and it is expected to increase throughout the day, reaching a steady 15 mph as the final groups will be heading down their final nine holes. It really opens up things even further, especially as we see that each of the past three winners of this event has come from two or three shots back in the final round.

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

If you just asked me to pick a player to come from behind for the win tomorrow, I would take Kim’s winning experience, mostly without hesitation. He is the guy who has gotten it done in the past, in some of the biggest events, and — notably — in the wind. Kim’s win at the 2017 Players Championship was certainly the crowning achievement of his career and in weeks like this, where many others ahead of him are searching for their first victory, he is one player I know won’t be nervous in this moment.

As I look at Kim’s strokes gained data, my confidence only grows. He ranks third this week in SG: Tee-to-Green and has improved with each and every round. The South Korean has gained shots on approach each day and that peaked on Saturday as he gained 2.34 shots on the field with his irons. If he continues that trend, he will absolutely be live to close out the win at +850 on DraftKings.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical on the course fit for Will Gordon this week as I think of him as someone better suited to thrive on courses where he can use his driver to his advantage. He has certainly shown he isn’t just a long hitter and has himself within four shots of the lead heading into Sunday.

I know Gordon has the skillset to go really low if he puts his full game together in the final round, just as he showed during a five birdie stretch during the middle of his round Saturday. The books are giving the young player some respect, only listing him at +2800 at PointsBet, and I like his chances to put his name in the mix going into the final nine.

In my eyes, the player with the best betting value going into the final round is Nate Lashley. He is a TOUR winner from back in 2019 and he’s showing very similar trends this week to Kim.

Lashley has improved with each round on approach. He shook off the rust as he lost strokes with his irons on Thursday, but built up to 2.42 shots gained Saturday. The added bonus with Lashley is that he also has some odds value as he is listed with a 2.2% win probability on DataGolf, but the +5000 price at Ceasars implies odds a bit beyond that. Once again, this is a situation where I think we can take some shots on players within a handful of the lead and Lashley certainly fits that bill.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3

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