After an exciting kick-off to the season in Kapalua, the Tour turns its attention to Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open. It was a nice appetizer to kick off the season, but we’re ready for a full-field main course now. The course itself is a familiar one. It plays as a par 70 and is just over 7,000 yards. With just two par 5s it’s a pretty massive difference from the par 73 we just watched last weekend. Green complexes are on the large size and feature Bermuda grass.
Checking The Chalk
Sungjae Im ($9,800) is getting a significant amount of buzz this week. Most of that is coming from gambling Twitter because books were slow to adjust to Patrick Reed’s withdrawal from the tournament, leaving a bigger number up for Sungjae than he should’ve had. Im is a machine, and he’s officially climbed all the way into the top 20 OWGR. In his past 30 events, he’s made 29 cuts, notched a victory, and has five other top-10 finishes to show for his efforts. The RoO App isn’t quite as convinced, relative to the rest of the range. He shows up in just over 13% of the optimal lineups from the simulator compared to 22% for Daniel Berger ($10,000) who’s just $200 more expensive. An outright fade of Sungjae isn’t advised, but being slightly underweight and pivoting to Berger makes a lot of sense.
I think people will gravitate towards Webb Simpson ($11,100) this week at that salary in this field. I have him as the third-highest ranked golfer behind Berger and last week’s winner Harris English ($10,800), which makes for an enticing case to be made for going underweight.
Abraham Ancer ($9,400) didn’t blow the doors off anyone last week, but that was mostly due to a slow start. Opening 70-71 put him behind the 8-ball, but he closed out strong, tying for the second-best round on Sunday with a 66.
Historically, we’ve been able to ride the wave with Ancer. When his price goes up, he typically comes through in a big way. He will see some ownership, but with Ryan Palmer ($9,200) right next to him, ownership could be flatter in this range than some might think.
With a full, somewhat weak, field, there aren’t as many options down here this week. One that jumps out, though, is Sepp Straka ($7,100). He appears in almost 10% of the optimals from the simulator.
It’s a bit of a roller coaster with Straka, but he has the upside necessary to win a GPP when his game clicks. We haven’t seen him in a bit, but he’s played the weekend in five straight events. Over the past year, he’s made 14-25 cuts, but three of those 14 have resulted in top-10 finishes.