The Sony Open represents the second official event and first full-field event (with a Friday cutline) on the PGA Tour calendar. The event typically sees tight leaderboards, as the classic Waialae venue does not allow for a lot of separation given the somewhat lack of variety over 18 holes. DFS golf advice and daily fantasy golf picks will need to be spot on for DraftKings and FanDuel this week. Utilizing the expert Awesemo PGA rankings and projections will be paramount in decision making.
The venue is a shorter par 70 that measures around 7,044 yards. Bermuda greens are featured again, although the course does not share much in common with the Plantation Course from last week. Waialae is a tight, tree-lined venue that has some of the some of the hardest-to-hit fairways on tour. That stat is somewhat misleading, though, as missing the fairway is not that big of a deal on most holes. The short rough and slower greens also tend to lend themselves to some big putting weeks, and three of the last four winners have all gained five or more strokes with the flat stick. Players trending with some good form from the fall (or first Hawaii event) who also have a bit of experience playing the course have tended to be the ones to rise up at this track. Let’s get into some Sony Open daily fantasy golf picks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.
Expert DFS Golf Picks This Week | Sony Open
Waialae Country Club Stats and Info
• Five par 4’s of at least 450 yards. Straightforward layout that will play well to those who can find fairways and give themselves lots of medium to short birdie putts.
• Despite some shorter holes, mid- to longer iron shots are prevalent, with 150 to 175 yards being the most popular distance for approaches.
• Last year’s winner Kevin Na gained 3.3 strokes putting and 5.7 strokes on approach. These tend to be the most important features of a player’s game, but around-the-green play is also something to consider given the smaller greens.
The greens at Waialae are Tifeagle Bermuda. They will run slow for PGA standards (around 10-1.5 on the stimp). Here is a more general look at some of the best and worst Bermuda putters in the field, relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these in your fantasy golf picks; they are not the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.
Positive Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
1. Denny McCarthy: +43 on Bermuda, +6 on all other surfaces
2. Christiaan Bezuidenhout: +39 on Bermuda, +6 on all other surfaces
3. Michael Thompson: +21 on Bermuda, -5 on all other surfaces
*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost
Negative Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
1. Pat Perez: +21 on Bermuda, -1 on all other surfaces
2. Abraham Ancer: -0.5 on Bermuda, +32 on all other surfaces
3. Talor Gooch: -10 on Bermuda, +5 on all other surfaces
DFS Golf Picks & Fantasy Golf Rankings for DraftKings & FanDuel
Webb Simpson: Grades: A+, Values: C, B
There is not much separating the top two golfers in the Awesemo model this, week but Webb Simpson has value scores and is one of only two golfers with point projections over 78. Simpson did not take part in the Tournament of Champions last week, so that could keep his ownership even lower in this spot. Simpson was really starting to play better right before the December break, though, as he had finished 14th and eighth in his last two starts and gained an incredible 9.4 strokes on his approaches at the RSM Classic.
If Webb continues that kind of play, he will almost certainly break through for a big week at Waialae, a venue he has dominated over his career. Simpson has never won this event, but he is 11/11 in cuts made for his career and has not finished worse than 13th in his last six visits. Simpson should not be faded on these tight/tricky venues, and he makes for a perfect anchor this week given his output in the model.
- Has finished 13th or better in his last six starts at this event; has finished fourth or better in his last three visits.
- Has gained at least four strokes putting in each of his last three visits to Waialae; has not lost strokes on approach in eight straight starts.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 18.3% | FanDuel: 22.1%
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Christiaan Bezuidenhout: Grades: B, Values: B, A
Christiaan Bezuidenhout is one of the more underrated players in the world and gained his full-time tour card last fall with a third-place finish at the Korn Ferry Tour finals. He comes in off a fall swing that saw him grab a sixth-place finish at the South African Open, a fifth at the BMW PGA and a third in the Korn Ferry Finals.
Bezuidenhout has the best points projection of any player under $8,000 this week on DraftKings, and he has more than reasonable ownership levels as well. This will be his first visit to Waialae, but players have won on debut before (Henley, 2013), and Bezuidenhout’s game is tailormade to take advantage of these short, tricky tracks. He ranks first in strokes gained putting, 12th in strokes gained around the green and top 20 in proximity from 125 to 175 yards. Bezuidenhout is a great value target this week.
- Ranks ninth in proximity from 150 to 175 yards (over the last 50 rounds), the most popular range for approach shots at Waialae.
- Has only missed one cut in his last 31 starts.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 10.6% | FanDuel: 5.9%
Low-Owned Daily Fantasy Golf GPP flier
Cam Davis comes off a week where he shot 23 under par, made 24 birdies (and two eagles) and finished in 10th at the Tournament of Champions. It was a great warmup and the kind of week that exemplifies how good a DFS play Davis can be. He ranks first in eagles gained in this field over the last 50 rounds and is also 18th in birdie or better percentage. There are only two par 5’s on the course this week, but both offer great eagle potential, so Davis will have chances to really pad DFS rosters with bonus points.
A winner at the Detroit Golf Club last year (another easier venue), Davis will be making his fourth career start at Waialae this year and finished ninth in 2020 despite losing strokes on the greens. He did gain strokes around and on the greens last week, though, and if he can continue that momentum into this week, a top-10 or better is certainly doable for a player who is one of the best week-to-week daily fantasy golf producers.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 5.3%
DraftKings Top Three Under 5%
This section targets three players that will have 5% ownership or less in bigger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom-or-bust players, with an almost 100% focus on upside.
Robert Streb ($7,000)
Robert Streb comes into this week off a successful fall swing that saw him grab top-10 finishes in two of his last four starts. He has turned into one of the more high-end putters on tour and ranks 17th in strokes gained putting over the last 50 rounds. He is good spike target for GPPs and will with almost no ownership attached.
Henrik Norlander ($7,200)
Henrik Norlander is one of the best with his short to mid-irons and ranks inside the top 40 in proximity for all ranges from 100 to 200 yards (over the last 50 rounds). He is streaky but has always done his best work on courses like Waialae, which feature tighter setups and Bermuda greens. He is finishes 20th or better in two of the last three seasons and has gained on approaches in all five of his careers starts at Waialae.
Stephan Jaeger ($6,500)
Stephan Jaeger is a perfect spike candidate for a track like Waialae where players who can get hot around and on the greens have the ability to dominate. He tore up the Korn Ferry Tour last year and ranks second in this field in strokes gained around the green (over the last 50 rounds), which puts him up around players like Simpson and Na. This will be his third time playing Waialae, and he made the cut in both of his last two visits.
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The Yahoo! PGA DFS projections for today, the DraftKings PGA DFS showdown projections for this week and the DraftKings PGA DFS ownership projections for this week are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world. Looking for more DFS PGA predictions and PGA DFS picks for Yahoo!? DFS PGA rankings for today will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament.
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