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Preview: PGA Tour’s Sony Open

PGA TOURPreview – PGA Tour – Sony Open – Waialae Country Club – Honolulu, Hawaii –

The Sony Open in Hawaii features the PGA Tour’s first full-field 144-player event of the 2016 calendar season.

The island of Oahu hosts the Aloha Swing visit to Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

This week’s layout is a complete 360-degree turn from the wide open layout at Kapalua. This course measures just over 7,000 yards and plays to a par-70. A flat layout, Waialae produces a mix of long hitters and accurate players atop the leader board thanks to tighter fairways.

Look for “Horses For Courses” to factor this week.

Sony Open in Hawaii

Sony Open in Hawaii

Jimmy Walker comes in looking to three-peat at the Sony Open. Last year’s nine-shot victory included a 62-63 on the weekend. A third win this week would be the first three-peat on the PGA Tour since Steve Stricker’s run from 2009-2011 at the John Deere Classic.

Another player who seems to factor here is Charles Howell III, who has a streak of 14 straight cuts made at this venue. He also has seven Top 5s in that run.

The field includes former World No. 1 and Masters champion Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Open champion Zach Johnson and former U.S. Open victor Graeme McDowell.

2015 recap:

  • Walker’s 62-63 weekend landed him a nine-shot triumph for his second-straight win here ending up 23-under. He was No. 17 in the world ranking when he arrived and was a 14-to-1 betting pick. Scott Piercy finished runner-up at 14-under, while Harris English, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland were T-3 at 13-under. Paul Casey and Webb Simpson jumped out to hot starts with 62s but failed to challenge Walker on the weekend.

Golf Channel has television coverage all week.

FANTASY: Since experience on this course tends to pay off, take CH III. His game is ideal for this course and he played well in the early portion of the wrap-around season including three Top 7s. Harris English has Top 5s in each of the last two editions. Walker is, of course, a must-play.

BETTING: According to Station Casinos, Walker is the outright betting favorite at 12-to-1 odds. The two-time champ is still getting decent odds for a payback. But, also consider, Brandt Snedeker (20-1). He was T-3 last week in Maui. Take English at 30-1 odds. He has a T-3 and T-4 here in his last two starts. For a bigger payoff, consider Woodland at 45-1.

Other Golf News:

  • The European Tour hosts the Joburg Open this week featuring Ernie Els, Georgeeurotourlogo Coetzee and former Masters champion Trevor Immelman. The event uses a two-course rotation including Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Jaco Van Zyl (12-1) is the betting favorite at www.golfodds.com, while Els is a long-shot at 60-1.
  • Reviewing the last 17 editions of the Sony Open, half of the champions also played the prior week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
  • Former champion at the Sony Open Russell Henley is a 30-1 as a longer shot bet. He won the title in 2013.
  • The EurAsia Cup takes place Friday to Sunday this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event features Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Danny Willett and Victor Dubuisson for Team Europe, while Team Asia showcases Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Anirban Lahiri.