Justin Thomas has the best recent course form so can win his second Sony Open in three years. Gary Woodland has been knocking on the door in this tournament and could make the frame again. Jordan Spieth at his best could lap most of the field and can get his career back of track after a winless season. There is plenty of course form to assess and the geography of the Hawaii location makes for special demands.
The modern history of the Hawaiian Open dates back to 1965. However, in 1999 the tournament was given a fixed slot and renamed the Sony Open. It’s now the second event of the year but the first regular full field tournament. The host course is at the Waialae CC in Honolulu and in the week after the Tournament of Champions forms the second leg of the Hawaiian Swing. Xander Schauffele won the season opener on the Plantation Course in Maui last week but is resting on his laurels this week.
In 1998 there was a low-scoring runway winner which did the event no favours. The course was significantly overhauled and the changes left two par 5s and a par of 70. Even though the par was reduced the yardage remained the same. The course now measures 7,044 yards which is short by modern standards even for a par 70 track. There are four par 3s and a number of demanding and almost drivable par 4s.
Waialae used to require accuracy off the tee but wayward hitters then did well over a number of years and the most important attribute was finding the Bermuda greens in regulation. The greens are tricky but less awkward than those on the Plantation Course last week. The tee-to-green specialists no longer have an edge and the tournament has evolved into a putting contest. The highest winning score over the last six years is 17 under and no winner recorded such a low score in the previous six.
Despite the modifications and changing nature of the tournament the biggest factor is still the wind. If the wind really gets up players able to keep the ball low and shape shots are at a considerable advantage. Tee times can be important so check the weather forecast to have an idea of when the wind is expected to get up or die down. It’s wise to be wary of players due to be playing in the worst conditions over the first two days. Given good starting times Thomas is the player to beat.
The current world number four combines current and course form with a decent skill’s profile. He set the course low for the tournament in 2017 and produced a steady tied 14th effort last year. Thomas also finished tied 6th when he first played in the Sony Open in 2015. The selection finished third in the Tournament of Champions last week so the Hawaii conditions will not be a culture shock. It’s rare that a player has so many elements in his favour so Thomas is tipped to win the Sony Open.
Woodland is a consistent operator who has found it hard to win on the PGA Tour. However, since 2015 he’s had four three top 10 finishes in the Sony Open and not finished lower than tied 13th. Spieth has made the top 20 in 2017 and 2018 with an overall scoring average of 66.25. However, the field are playing for second place because Thomas’s profile stands out.
Today’s Sports Betting Preview – By Rick Elliott
Are You Backing Burton At 50/1?
Manchester City are owned by a state and sponsored by one of the most cash rich airlines in the world. The club have been estimated as the fifth richest in the world and revenue was over half a billion Euro during the 2017-18 season. One of Burton Albion’s main commercial partners are Russell Roof Tiles, a national manufacturer of roofing solutions who employ 10 office staff and have plants in Burton and Lockerbie. BURTON ALBION are 50/1 with bet365 to beat Manchester City in the first leg of the EFL semi-final tie at the Etihad Stadium. Stranger things have not even happened at sea and even this David would not fancy his chances against Goliath, characters in the most famous underdog story ever told.
Backers of Manchester City in 90 minutes betting would earn a return on investment of 4%. This fixture must present the most blatant money buying opportunity in the history of the EFL Cup. However, the match is live on television on a quiet night for football action so there should be plenty of betting interest but identifying bets that are not ridiculously weighted in favour of City will not be easy. The handicap odds are related to the match odds and a 1/25 favourite is expected to win by three goals or four goals. On the basis of a potentially weakened City team and motivated opponents the recommendation is BURTON +4 at 20/23 with Ladbrokes.
There are five second round matches in the BDO World Championship in darts, starting from 1pm to 7pm. There are fewer mismatches than in the PDC version and the second round is more competitive than at the same stage in the other organisations’s showpiece occasion. On seedings the closest match brings together Richard Veenstra and Scott Waites and the value lies in backing VEENSTRA at 6/5 with bet365 to progress to the quarter-finals of this world championship of darts.
In terms of Class and prize money the best race of the day is the conditions stakes over six furlongs at Kempton (18.15). Corinthia Knight is a smart horse who has won over the course and distance but was a well beaten favourite last time out. Guliver is another decent course and distance winner but ran below form in his last race. The booking of Ryan Moore and some smart form makes CENOTAPH the banker of the meeting at 10/11 with Ladbrokes.