If last week was a preview to what we have in store for this year, buckle up ladies and gentlemen, because we are going to be watching some entertaining golf tournaments. You may very well see another duel down the stretch this week at the Sony Open at Waialae CC. Waialae CC is a short and narrow course that rewards accuracy more than distance. Many of the holes require a precise placement of the tee shot, often with less than driver. This then puts a premium on the second shot since the majority of the field will have similar yardages into all of the greens. The greens at this course are drastically different than last week at Kapalua. They are smaller, faster, flatter and contain less grain. Players who have succeeded at this track in the past have been in control of their ball off the tee, which allowed them to show off stellar iron play that leads to makeable putts on these fairly easy greens.
With this being the first full field event of 2019, we have a plethora of options to choose from for DraftKings or One-and-Done leagues.
Start Abraham Ancer $8,800 over Charles Howell $8,900
This is purely a play based on projected ownership. Howell will be one of the highest-owned players this week. I could see him being 25-30% owned in tournaments (Note: he is almost a must-play in cash games such as double ups). Ancer could be a great pivot for large tournaments as he will most likely be only 5-10% owned. The average person will not be on Ancer this week since he isn’t a household name, hasn’t won on the PGA Tour and missed the cut here last year. Ancer has made drastic strides over the past year. He played well in the fall, finishing 5th at the CIMB, 4th at the Shriners and winning the Australian Open. Ancer’s game is predicated on control and consistency with his irons.
Ian Poulter $7,800 over Patton Kizzire $7,900
Kizzire will likely be a popular play this week since he is defending champion and finished top 10 last week at Kapalua. He is still one of the highest variant players. For large field tournaments, I’d rather play Ian Poulter. Poulter was 8th last week in Strokes Gained Tee to Green but was held back by his putter as he was the 5th worst in Strokes Gained Putting. Poulter is a proven winner, and this course suits his strengths perfectly.
Charles Howell III
Howell is a top 10 machine at the Sony Open. He finished inside the top 10 an astounding 9 times in his 17 appearances. This includes top-8 finishes in 6 of the last 10 years. Howell finally broke through again to find the winner’s circle back in the fall, which means he was also able to get tuned up by playing last week at Kapalua.
This is one of the best opportunities to use Woodland all year. He comes into this event after playing some outstanding golf at Kapalua, only to lose to the buzzsaw that is Xander Schauffelle. Woodland’s confidence on the greens has elevated him to the top tier of players on Tour. In his last 4 appearances here, he hasn’t finished worse than 13th.