This week brings the Sony Open, the first full-field PGA Tour event of 2022. Host Waialae Country Club is effectively the opposite of the Plantation Course at Kapalua, last week’s venue. Playing to a par of 70 and measuring just over 7,000 yards, Waialae features relatively flat terrain; narrow, tree-lined fairways; and green contours far more subtle than those at Kapalua. Overall, precision off the tee and into the greens will be more important this week than it was on Maui.
The particular key to success at Waialae will be short-iron approach shots. The majority of approaches, including on all four par 3s, will be from 140 to 180 yards. So players who keep the ball in play off the tee and hit laser-like short irons will get plenty of makeable birdie looks. Waialae’s greens are slightly slower than tour average and don’t have a ton of break, so there will be a lot of holed putts. Lights-out putting, especially from the 10-20 foot range, will be critical this week.
For help with making your DraftKings and One-and-Done picks, here are a few players who offer a combination of elite short-iron play and above-average putting:
Marc Leishman $10,000
Leishman is one of only two players in the field to rank inside the top 10 in both putting and short-iron proximity. He has made his last 10 cuts at this event, including eight top-28 finishes in that span. He showed some glimpses of a solid game last week en route to a 10th-place finish on a course that suits him much less than this week.
Kevin Na $9,900
Na is one of the streakiest putters on the PGA Tour. When he has the flatstick going, he seems to make everything. That’s the type of putting that helped to win the Sony Open last year. In addition to hot weeks on the greens, Na’ relies on his elite short-iron play (second best in the field) and short game (first in Strokes Gained: Around the Green at Waialae). Like Leishman, Na makes for a great leverage play this week for DraftKings and One-and-Done, as I expect Cameron Smith to garner a lot of attention and ownership.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout $7,800
Bezuidenhout is the other player who ranks inside the top 10 in both putting and short-iron proximity. He also offers fantastic consistency; he has missed only one cut in the past 15 months, which means he’s a particularly strong DraftKings play.