PGA Preview - Justin Thomas & Bryson Dechambeau Favored at Sony Open
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The Hawaiian PGA Tour Swing wraps up with the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. The Open will be the first full-field event with a cut in two months as the official schedule went into the Holiday Break. With the resumed full field schedule comes some predictable names at the top of the favored list starting with Justin Thomas.
Thomas, sporting a +600 heading into the opening round on Thursday, is the only player under the +1000 mark. His closest competition, according to oddsmakers at intertops.eu, is Bryson Dechambeau who won the Shriner’s Open a few months ago in November, comes in at +1000. Here’s a look at the top-five odds.
Justin Thomas +600 Bryson Dechambeau +1000 Gary Woodland +1400 Jordan Spieth +1400 Marc Leishman +1600
It’s hard to argue with a signature win. Thomas got that two seasons ago at the Sony Open. That may be one of the factors for his favored status! Thomas won the Sony Open in 2017 where he went 27 under shooting a blistering 253 overall. That set tournament records for the event which dates to 1965 and has been played on the same course.
Thomas holds the Tournament records for total lowest score overall, 253 as well as the 54-hole record: 188, the 36-hole record: 123 as well as the Sony Open 18-hole record where he carded an opening day score of 59. Currently Thomas is wielding his driver, long irons and putter with command and his approach shots aren’t too shabby! This level of play has pushed him to the No. 4 spot on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). And, in case you were wondering, Dechambeau claims the OWGR No. 5 ranking.
Something Fun to Watch
Patrick Reed, +2500, is not a frequent player at the Sony Open but he’s kicking off his 2019 schedule early. The matchup watch, at least in the minds of golf fans, could be between Reed and Jordan Spieth. The two have not played together since the Ryder Cup where some “twitter jabs” were famously thrown. Things have since calmed down, at least on Social media between the two. But it will be worth watching to two players to see if any friction remains.
The Waialae Country Club is relatively flat compared to many of the golf courses in Hawaii. Especially when compared to last weeks PGA visit stop at the Plantation course which played on the side of one of the Island’s mountains. The Country Club course has less elevation changes but does share some common features. Rich fairways that seem open to the viewer but tighten approaching landing zones. Plenty of floral design, native plants, bunkers with a natural terrain feel, and greens that are known for tricky hole locations.
The wind factor has come into play over the years for the Sony Open, but forecasters seem to think gusts will remain manageable with fair weather predicted. That means the demand for on-the-mark tee-shots is lower and the pros can work their wedges and approach shots with more finesse.
I generally try to list a few signature holes for every course but that’s hard to do on a course that’s packed with amazing scenic views every where you look. However, the course does have some holes based on famous golf links from around the world.
No. 8: Patterned after the Redan hole on the North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland.
No. 10: Includes design features of the Road hole at St. Andrews in Scotland.
No. 13: Patterned from the Biarritz Course in France.
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Remaining Field Odds
The remaining players behind the five listed above include some big names that could come into play starting with Cameron Champ, Patrick Reed and Charles Howell III. Here’s a look at the odds for the rest of the field through +25000 which is packed with PGA winners. One note, 16-year-old amateur Peter Jung qualified by winning the November Sony Open qualifier. Jung comes in at the bottom of the field at +100000
Cameron Champ +2500 Patrick Reed +2500 Cameron Smith +2800 Hideki Matsuyama +3000 Paul Casey +3300 Kevin Kisner +3300 Charles Howell III +3300 Kyle Stanley +3300 Emiliano Grillo +3300 Abraham Ancer +3500 Matt Kuchar +4000 Zach Johnson +4000 Bubba Watson +4000 Brandt Snedeker +4000 Patton Kizzire +4500 Adam Scott +4500 Keegan Bradley +5000 Scott Piercy +5000 Si-Woo Kim +5000 Russell Knox +5500 Pat Perez +5500 Kevin Tway +6000 Brian Harman +6000 Ian Poulter +6000 Adam Hadwin +6000 Chez Reavie +6600 Russell Henley +6600 Andrew Putnam +7500 Danny Lee +7500 Dylan Frittelli +7500 Kevin Na +8000 Jimmy Walker +8000 Sung-Jae Im +8000 Patrick Rodgers +8000 Chris Kirk +8000 Jamie Lovemark +10000 James Hahn +10000 Ryan Blaum +10000 Brian Gay +10000 Brice Garnett +10000 Steve Stricker +10000 Sam Ryder +10000 Jason Dufner +10000 Ollie Schniederjans +12500 Ryan Armour +12500 Anirban Lahiri +12500 Stewart Cink +12500 Keith Mitchell +12500 Troy Merritt +12500 Ted Potter +12500 Sam Burns +12500 Hudson Swafford +12500 Robert Streb +12500 Jerry Kelly +12500 Adam Schenk +15000 Andrew Landry +15000 Joel Dahmen +15000 Harris English +15000 Shugo Imahira +15000 Meen-Whee Kim +15000 Brian Stuard +15000 Kramer Hickok +15000 Cameron Davis +15000 Ben Silverman +15000 Tom Hoge +15000 Ben Martin +15000 Rory Sabbatini +17500 Vaughn Taylor +17500 Satoshi Kodaira +17500 Brandon Harkins +17500 Shawn Stefani +20000 Nick Taylor +20000 Fabian Gomez +20000 Scott Langley +20000 JT Poston +20000 Kelly Kraft +20000 Sam Saunders +20000 Sean O'Hair +20000 Dominic Bozzelli +20000 Sang Moon Bae +20000 Michael Kim +25000 Sunghoon Kang +25000 Trey Mullinax +25000 Steve Marino +25000