We won’t have any player complete the rare Aloha double this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of 2019. That’s because rising star Xander Schauffele is not playing after winning the Tournament of Champions on Sunday in record style. Schauffele was five shots out of the lead when he began his final round but shot a 62, tying a course record at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, to edge 54-hole leader Gary Woodland by a shot.
Schauffele actually bogeyed his first hole Sunday and then played the next at 12 under. The 11-under-par score was the second-best score to par in a final-round win in PGA Tour history. It was the largest final-round deficit overcome in the history of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
A total of 22 players who competed at Kapalua are set to play at Waialae Country Club, a par 70 measuring 7,044 yards. It’s the 54th straight year it hosts the event, the fourth longest uninterrupted streak on the PGA Tour. Since the Tournament of Champions relocated to Hawaii in 1999, 14 of 20 Sony Open winners have won after playing Kapalua the previous week.
The BetOnline favorite is Justin Thomas at +650. He won the Sony Open in 2017 with a tournament record score of 253, lapping second-place Justin Rose (who isn’t playing but became No. 1 in the world Monday). Thomas shot an opening-round 59 that year. He finished T14 a year ago and didn’t shoot worse than 68.
Bryson DeChambeau is +1000. You may remember he had two wins in the FedExCup playoffs last year and already has a victory this season at the Shriners in November in Las Vegas. He finished seventh at Kapalua at 14 under and didn’t play here a year ago.
Woodland is +1400 with Jordan Spieth, who didn’t qualify for the Tournament of Champions off a hugely disappointing 2017-18 season. Spieth missed the cut in his Sony Open debut in 2014 but was third in 2017 and 18th last year. Woodland beat everyone in the field last week by at least four – except for Schauffele. The big-hitting Woodland was T7 at the Sony last year, closing with a 64. He was sixth in 2017 and third in 2015.
Defending champion Patton Kizzire is a +4000 longer shot at BetOnline. Kizzire beat James Hahn on the sixth playoff hole last year. Hahn shot a final-round 62 to Kizzire’s 68 to force the sudden-death playoff. Kizzire had to get up-and-down from a bunker for par on the first extra hole.
The last repeat winner of this tournament was Jimmy Walker in 2015. An American has won it every year since 2009 but one. Four of the past six champions have been at least 20 under.
Best Golf Picks
Have to go with Thomas for a Top 10 at -135 on BetOnline as well as Woodland at +200. Your best value winning pick is Charles Howell III at +3300. Chucky Three Sticks has done everything but win this tournament. He was runner-up in both 2012 & ’07 and eighth in both 2017 & ’14. Howell was T32 last year and T14 last week.