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PGA DFS: The Sony Open Course Intro, Key Stats, Picks

We’re back baby! Happy new years to all! Let’s get right into the statistics and shenanigans for our first full-field event of the year. We stay in beautiful Hawaii from last week’s Tournament of Champions in Maui, and island hop to Honolulu for the 2018 Sony Open. The frustration of having a different season and year is now over so that’s great.

To quickly recap last week, Dustin Johnson came in as the fourth-highest priced golfer, over $1000 less than Justin Thomas and that made no sense, making him a complete lock for me. He ended up winning in fantastic fashion, highlighted by missing a hole in one on a 430-yard par 4 by a few feet. No, that’s not a typo, PAR 4! What we need to gain from this is the process, which led to success this time – but will not always – is that when the best player in the world is No. 4 in price at an event that fits his skillset, we need to take advantage of his value every time.

The Course

Course: Waialae Country Club

Yardage: 7,044

Par: 70

Greens: Bermuda Grass

Fairways: Small

Rough: Cut Short/Not Penal

Winning Score Average L5: -22.2



Key Statistics

Justin Thomas -278309.716255.0561.33320.39860.6847422280.252470.289125.882114.84
Fabian Gomez -201052897361.44137-0.2491040.009157-0.289163453880.03490.21311019.6915618.07
Jimmy Walker -2321301.618052.23770.241136-0.161410.334137436770.06820.692112312016.73
Russel Henley -24832894764.68860.145200.432106-0.05371415157-0.23380.6093421.0811417.95
Johnson Wagner -131522847062.321120.039117-0.027400.376116437180-0.31310.3469319.579517.3

Looking at the key statistics from the last five winners, we see putting as the highest correlation and birdie or better percentage coming in second. No tee-to-green stats necessarily stood out above others. When you see this, there are two considerations: It’s a very weak field event so anyone can win and different types of golfers can succeed here. This week I prefer guys with some form coming in since a lot of players are coming off a layoff, even a lot of guys that played last week as they just competed and are already in Hawaii. Current form trumps everything.


$11.6K Justin Thomas

With few guys having form I will be differentiating by going Justin Thomas over Jordan Spieth so I can be a little more chalky on the lower pricing range. Spieth will probably be close to 50 percent owned and that makes Justin Thomas, coming off of an average week at likely less than half the ownership, an extremely strong GPP play. If you want to ride with the field, Jordan Spieth is a fine play, but I won’t be going there. 

Youmay notice that I have a lot of $7K plays this week. This is due to the nature of the slate where I will be building off Justin Thomas and then hammering the lower range.

$8.7K Daniel Berger

Berger played last week and has awesome advanced course history (T2G w/o putting), with marks of sixth tee-to-green, sixth off-the-tee, and 13th in strokes gained approach over the last 12 rounds at Waialae country club. He also seems to be getting overlooked this week a bit and is projected at only 15 percent owned, which seems fair at his discounted price in this field.

$7.7K Chris Stroud

Stroud is a quality putter – in an event where putting is crucial – who played last week. This is not an all-in play, but a low-owned guy who has potential to score, ranking in the top 65 of birdie or better percentage last year. I would be remiss to mention his bad course history, with one finish of 20th and three missed cuts. This will keep his ownership very low.

$7.6K Austin Cook

Everyone was ready to jump on Austin Cook last week after his win and a popular golf podcast was all over him as well. He disappointed them, and his caddie actually said on that very podcast to wait until the Sony Open.

$7.6K Patton Kizzire

Kizzire is another guy who played last week that will help you fit in the studs up top. I see him projected at around 5 percent around the industry, and I have not heard him mentioned on any major golf outlets. He also is a quality putter and can score.

$7.3K Kyle Stanley

Stanley  disappointed last week at high ownership, but I like how he at least played. He has not missed a cut here in his last three tries and has placed as high as 13th. His T2G game is elite and I like how he is projected at under 10 percent owned

$7.3K Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner is 40-1 to win the event and is $7.3K. He may be chalk, but the discount is so great I have no problem eating it, especially in Justin Thomas lineups.

$6.9K Ryan Armour

Armour was eighth in SGT2G, 14th in SGOTT, and sixth in SGAPP last week in an insanely tough field. His form is elite right now and had he putted a little better and finished higher than 20th last week people would be all over him. I feel very good about him finishing high and scoring this week and he allows you to do a lot in other places of your lineup as well.

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