We may well still be in Hawaii this week, but the Sony Open couldn’t be more different from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Naturally it’s the first full field event of the season, where experienced winners mix with “hot” Nationwide Tour and Qualifying School rookies. Expect to see some new names this week at the high altitude end of the leaderboard. Waialee is located on the coast in Honolulu. Course synopsis is straight forward. The complete opposite of Kapalua! This tight Par 70 track is only 7,060 in length. Accuracy off the tee and GIR% are absolute key as the fairways are tight and lined closely by palm trees. Small errors of judgement lead to double bogies. Plodders will prosper! The Bermuda greens are extremely small and slightly faster than Kapalua. Fact is though that those that hit a high number of greens will naturally gravitate to the top of the leaderboard as Par is a great score any many holes.
It’s not just these course characteristics that keep scoring relatively high. Being on the coast the elements play a major factor. Kapalua’s only defence last week was wind and it never materialised, hence crazily low scoring. However the latest weather forecasts suggest a stiff breeze throughout Thursday in Honolulu and although forecast to weaken through-out the tournament who really knows!
The betting market for the Sony Open is headed by the cream of the crop. Making a winning case for any of Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar is not overly difficult. If you want to attack that route this week’s Predictor Model highlight Furyk and Els at the ones to go for and they are available at market leading 12/1 and 14/1 with Paddy Power - get £50 In Free Bets, click here: Paddy Power £50 Free Bets
However this tournament never seems to be that straight forward to call. The recent champions list of Ryan Palmer, Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, Paul Goydos and Davis Toms highlights a varied number of non World Top 10 players. However they all have key similarities and were all Bermuda (or Bermuda mix) tournament winners in Florida/Georgia prior to triumphing at Waialee. For new readers, I place 10 points every week within my staking plan. Whether you stake £1.50, £5 or £50 per point is up to you, but always bet responsibly.
This is an absolutely superb price on a true Bermuda giant who we can get on Each Way as a result. It’s true that Allenby hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2001 but Allenby is a class player who currently sits 21st in the World Rankings. Such a high ranking is down to his hugely consistent game and performances based round straight hitting and high Greens in Regulation……that’ll be perfect then. Some call him a ‘choker’ but after winning 2 tournaments in Australia in the winter of 09/10 Allenby game to Waialee and finished 2nd to Ryan Palmer, after almost holing out and hitting a flag stick coming down the stretch. Indeed 9 appearances here have yielded 3 Top 10 finishes and this Bermuda winner (2000 Houston Open) has finished in an Each Way place (Top 5) on Bermuda greens an amazing 8 times since the start of 2008. Current form is also encouraging reading 12-7-8-21-5-3 over the winter months – he’s ready to win on the PGA Tour again. RESULT: M/C
Once upon a time K.J. Choi was the only top class South Korean player and boy was he top class. 7 wins at New Orleans (Bermuda), Tampa x2 (Bermuda mix), Greensboro (tight Par 70), Muirfield (classical), Congressional (home of the US Open in June) and here in 2008, highlight that Choi thrives in tough courses. It’s apparent though that the appearance of Yang and Noh (sounds like a comedy sketch) plus a multitude of young rookies like Bio Kim (who debuts on the PGA Tour at this event) is re-invigorating K.J. 2nd at Tampa, 4th at the Masters, 3rd at the BMW and 7th at the Tour Championship (on Bermuda) highlight that Choi isn’t far away from his 8th win. Waialee is a near perfect set up form him, especially if conditions are tough. 5th at the recent Shark Shoot-Out blew away any rust and 9 appearances here have gleaned 4th (07) and 7th (02) in addition to his win. RESULT: M/C
A market leading 66/1 on this Par 70 specialist is like manner from heaven especially when other bookmakers are going as short (quite rightly) as 40/1. I’ve had to open an account with ‘Joe’ myself this week! Let’s be frank Gay’s tremendous 2009 where he won at Hilton Head (Bermuda mix / coastal) and St Jude (Bermuda) had a negative impact last season. A ranking within the World’s Top 50 brings its own pressures and the Texan was way out of his depth. Missed Cuts at Augusta, Pebble Beach and St Andrews highlight the truth…..Gay will never be a top class, major contender. There is no doubt that these extra pressures, allied to a lack of “hunger “that earning a 3 year PGA Tour exemption brings produced a thoroughly disappointing 2010. However despite all these negatives Gay started to show an upturn in fortunes come the season closing Fall Series. Motivation and application where highlighted in November when Gay played the Disney tournament in Orlando, where the Par 72 power track is totally alien to the neat and tidy Texan. He finished 12th on his favourite Bermuda carpet and that signals a green light for this tipster. The Par 70 specialist has found his game and watch out at Waialee this week. RESULT: T13
There was I thinking that the guys at Coral had made my afternoon, when I noted Vijay Singh at 80/1 with the same bookmaker. Singh who has been tipped ante-post for The Masters is 80/1 to win at Augusta in April is exceptional value at this price so grab it bloody quick! Singh is truly a giant of the modern game and I’m believer. Vijay will return to the winner’s circle regularly on the PGA Tour. Singh loves Bermuda and his total of 34 tournament victories, include 7 since 2000 on this surface. The close of 2010 saw Singh’s putter warm a little and he finished 11th in Boston and 12th on “the carpet” at Disney with a -12 total (his lowest of 2010). Tight technical tracks like Waialee suit (won here in 2005) Singh’s great tee to green game especially if the wind blows and I love the look of the Fijian this week. RESULT: MDF
That’s right a Coral treble for the first time in 3 years for this tipster……well if the prices are right we feature any bookmaker. The ‘”Quiet Man” of the PGA Tour, Atlanta based Slocum does his talking generally at coastal courses where wind is a factor. His biggest win to date was in the Big Apple when he won the 2009 Barclays event at the tough Liberty course that features the River Hudson. Fast forward to last season’s Fall Series where I tipped Heath at 50/1 to win the McGladrey Classic on Sea Island. He duly obliged. Further wins at Tucson (04) and Annandale (05) like the McGladrey were on Bermuda. The current World Number 53 needs to stay in the Top 64 to guarantee placement in the up-coming World Golf Championship events and other sea-side finished like 3rd at Mayakoba in 2009 highlight that Waialee will suit the Alabama State grad this week. RESULT: MDF
The beauty of backing my Ton Up Tip with Extrabet is that they are the only bookmaker who offer you a price to close your bet during play. Take Robert Garrigus who I tipped last week at 100/1. During the first play off hole on Sunday evening they offered 50/1 to close the bet and guarantee a huge profit. Read more details on how to close bets here
Paddy Power rate Durant as short as 100/1 for this event and I know exactly where they are coming from around Waialee. With fairly inclement conditions anticipated this 2 time Bermuda winner who is as straight off the tee as the day is long fits the bill perfectly. The experienced Durant has 2 Top 10 finishes at Waialee to his credit and finished 2010 on a tare which included 6th on the Bermuda Seaside Course which guaranteed his 2011 playing privileges. He also finished 2nd at the wind-swept Mayakoba Classic in Mexico in February and his career is littered with tough Par 70 Top 5 performances. RESULT: M/C
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 21:10GMT 11.1.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation