A field of 144 PGA Tour golfers is at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, HI this week for the 2022 Sony Open. Our golf experts weigh in with their top Sony Open picks and bet slips.
Cameron Smith is this week’s betting favorite fresh off of a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He won this event in 2020 and will look to dethrone Kevin Na as the reigning champ.
Below, our PGA Tour experts offer up their top Sony Open picks and predictions.
Sony Open Expert Picks
SEE ALSO: Sony Open Preview
Sony Open Picks to Win
Sungjae Im (+1700 via FanDuel Sportsbook)
I wrote up Billy Horschel as my pick to win in my full tournament preview this week, but that was when factoring in the value in the odds.
I also suggested Im to win in last week’s tournament preview. He came up short in a T-8 finish that moved him to No. 24 in the Official World Golf Ranking. While he offers considerably less value in the weaker field this week, the change in venue should better suit his usually strong short game.
Im averaged just 0.10 Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green last week, but he’s averaging 0.70 strokes gained per round in that respect through 20 measured rounds to start the season. - McLaren
Corey Conners (+2800 via Caesars Sportsbook)
Waialae Country Club is known as a second-shot golf course, and this plays to Conners' advantage. Last season, Conners finished 11th on Tour with 0.78 SG: Approach per round.
His putting is one of his weaker skills, but he has found success at Waialae's Bermudagrass greens. Against the field, he has averaged 1.07 SG: Putting in three Sony Open appearances.
He has previous success at the Sony Open, finishing T-12 and T-3 in his last two visits, respectively. In addition to being successful at the Sony Open, Conners has also been successful at Harbour Town Golf Links, which is similar to Waialae. At the RBC Heritage last season, he finished T-4 and gained strokes in every key category.
Caesars has the best price on Conners at +2800. Don't settle for a number that's as low as +1800 at DraftKings. Shop around for the best number. - Metler
Corey Connors (+2100 via FanDuel)
Connors has perennially excelled at the Sony Open. In his three previous starts, he has finished T-12, T-3, and T-39 - playing 10 of those 12 rounds under par.
There’s no denying Conners’ ball-striking skills. In his last 100 rounds played, only Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa have been better ball-strikers.
Putting has long been his kryptonite, losing 1.1 strokes putting per event in his career. However, at this tournament, he averages 4.4 SG: Putting. Something about the greens here agree with him.
Course history is essential, as well. Fifteen of the previous 16 winners played the course before. Out of the past 24 rounds at Waialae, Connors ranks third in the field with 1.8 strokes gained per round.
Look for Conners to be in contention come Sunday between his past success and enhanced putting stroke at this course. - Anderson
Sony Open Long Shots
Beau Hossler (+35000 via Barstool Sportsbook)
The Sony Open field is pretty wide open, especially after Bryson DeChambeau withdrew on Monday. He had been the top-ranked golfer in attendance. Let’s throw our dart at Hossler.
Once ranked as high as No. 64 in the world, Hossler enters the week at No. 384 after missing the cut in 13 of his 26 professional events in 2021. Despite the struggles, Hossler averaged 0.17 SG: Putting per round across 70 measured rounds last season, and he’s averaging 2.29 SG: Putting through four measured rounds to start this season.
He has also been gaining strokes with the short game in the small sample, and he can lean on those areas at the 7,044-yard Waialae Country Club.
Tom Hoge (+9000 via FanDuel)
Hoge has an interesting history at the Sony Open. He missed the cut in 2019 and 2021, but he finished third in 2018 and T-12 in 2020. Based on his every other year trend, 2022 is the year to back him.
Hoge is striping the ball to start the 2021-22 season and has gained strokes on approach in every tournament he has played so far. With 1.19 SG: Approach, he is currently ranked fifth on the PGA Tour for the season. This isn't an insignificant sample size, either, as Hoge has played in the most tournaments of anyone on tour this season (eight).
As well as his excellent ball-striking to start the year, another statistic that caught my attention was how he played on the greens at the Sony Open in 2020. Hoge gained 1.28 strokes per round with the putter that week.
He is a long shot who is more than capable of winning the tournament if he combines his putter skills from 2020 with his iron play this season. - Metler
Branden Grace (+10000 via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Grace secured his first PGA Tour title at Harbour Town – a corollary course to Waialae – in 2016.
He has previously displayed the ability to play well in poor conditions. With forecasts suggesting the wind could play a factor this weekend, the South African has proven he can succeed in inclement weather after winning at Dunhill Links on the European Tour in 2012 and 2014.
Grace has mixed results at this tournament. Finishing 13th in his debut, only to miss the cut the following year.
Ranking 34th in SG: Around-the-Green last season should translate to success at this course where finesse and short game are emphasized. - Anderson
Sony Open Top Matchup Picks
Billy Horschel (+105) vs. Seamus Power (via DraftKings)
Horschel enters the week at No. 23 in the OWGR off of a T-23 finish in the winners-only field last week. He’ll tee it up at a venue where he has 14 rounds of experience and 0.05 strokes gained on the field per round.
Meanwhile, Power finished T-15 last week to climb to a career-best No. 63 in the OWGR. However, he has lost 0.81 strokes per round to the field across 12 career rounds at Waialae.
Give me the plus money with Horschel, who has a significant edge over Power in SG: Putting and SG: Around-the-Green. - McLaren
Russell Henley (-110) vs. Abraham Ancer (via DraftKings)
Last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Ancer lost strokes to the field in every key category. A year ago in this tournament, he struggled on the greens and finished with 1.40 strokes lost per round with the putter to miss the cut. In his career, he has never finished with a positive SG: Putting at the Sony Open.
Henley's greatest strength is his SG: Approach. Across five events, he has an average SG: Approach of 1.07 this season. At the Sony Open last season, he gained strokes in all four major categories to finish T-11. - Metler
Brendan Steele (-118) vs. Keith Mitchell (via FanDuel)
Steele has excelled at this tournament - finishing in the top-five each of the last two years.
His recent success is somewhat unexpected. In 2011 he missed the cut and took a nine-year hiatus from the tournament. However, he has since triumphantly returned. He lost in a playoff to Smith in 2020, only to fire a third-round 61 last year to put himself in contention - displaying confidence at this track despite the heartbreak.
Mitchell has seen some success at Waialae, finishing in the top-25 three times out of his four starts. He is an excellent driver of the golf ball. Last season he ranked 11th on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, routinely displaying consistency and length.
While those are positive attributes at most courses on tour, these skills are minimized at this track, where short hitters routinely succeed.
Mitchell should take a step forward this season, but I don’t believe we’ll see him explode at this venue. - Anderson
Sony Open Top Prop Picks
Nationality of winner: Not American (+120 via PointsBet)
Six of the top eight favorites to win outright this week hail from outside the USA, however, we’re getting plus odds in a prop that’s asking whether or not an American will win this event.
With DeChambeau out of the field, Webb Simpson’s our biggest threat with odds ranging from +1200 to +1500. If you’re betting on him to win this week, you should hedge with this prop and gain exposure to the likes of Smith, Im, Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, and Conners.
The top three American favorites this week in Simpson, Henley, and Na have combined for just one win since June 21, 2020, and that was Na’s victory here last year. - McLaren
Top American: Stewart Cink (+4000 via FanDuel)
With one of my top prop picks at the Sony Open, I'm swinging for the fences. Give me Cink as the top American player. Despite winning twice on the PGA Tour last season, he is being disrespected in the odds this week.
Cink won the RBC Heritage in 2021, and Harbour Town Golf Links closely resembles the style of golf needed to win in Honolulu.
Eight of the last 10 winners of the Sony Open also played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions the week before. Cink meets the criteria I am looking for.
Top-20 finish: Joel Dahmen (+250 via FanDuel)
Dahmen tied with Brooks Koepka for 28th at minus-15 last week.
This weekend, we can anticipate another low-scoring event, most likely somewhere in the minus-20 to minus-25 range.
This emphasizes birdies, and Dahmen ranks fourth in Birdie or Better Gained over the last 24 rounds on Tour at plus-15.4.
I expect Dahmen to carry some momentum into the Sony Open against a watered-down field. - Anderson
Sony Open Fades
Jones nearly stole the show on Sunday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a final round of 12-under-par 61 to vault to third on the leaderboard. However, that final-round performance was fueled by 4.67 SG: Putting over 18 holes, which was more than 1.5 strokes better than anyone else in that respect on the day.
He averaged 1.58 SG: Putting for the tournament, which was second to only Smith over 72 holes. He had far more modest gains off the tee, on approach, and around the greens.
Jones has a solid history in Honolulu with 0.53 strokes gained per round over 32 career rounds. Last year’s T-11 finish was powered by 1.60 SG: Putting, but Jones averaged a far more modest 0.31 SG: Putting for the 2020-21 season. - McLaren
I'm fading Horschel at the Sony Open. The Sentry Tournament of Champions was at another second-shot golf course, and his performance there last week makes me concerned about how he will fare here.
It's true that Horschel has had success here in the past, finishing T-7 a year ago, but I cannot ignore his horrific ball-striking last week. At minus-2.10 SG: Approach per round, he placed last in the field.
In the past, Horschel has shown the flat stick can work on this course, but I just don't see how he can overcome poor iron play on a course like Waialae Country Club. - Metler
Charles Howell III
It might seem reckless to fade the tournament's all-time leading money winner, but Howell isn’t in the best form.
Dating back nearly a year, Howell hasn’t finished better than 16th since a T-9 at the 2021 Players Championship. He undoubtedly knows this course well, but we shouldn’t expect him to regain form magically.
Howell's +180 to miss the cut at FanDuel.