Lock of the week:
Kevin Kisner – $10,100 – Tour Junkies friend and fav, Kevin Kisner, tops our list this week as a lock for the Sony Open in Hawaii. Kiz has gained 14 strokes total on the field at the host course of Waialae CC in the last five years. Putting will yet again be crucial on these slick Bermuda greens very similar to those last week at Kapalua. Kisner was number one in the field last week at the Sentry in strokes gained putting, and he’s historically been a strong putter on Bermuda surfaces. We received a tip from a PGA Tour caddie this week that Colonial CC is a strong correlated course to Waialae. Guess who the defending champ will be at Colonial CC later this year when they host the Dean & Deluca Invitational? Kevin. Kisner.
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Russell Henley $9,200 – This heartbroken Georgia Bulldog is a little higher priced than we expected, but he’s a former winner here. He held the 72 hole course record at the Sony until last year, when Justin Thomas beat it by three shots. Henley has gained 26 strokes on the field at Waialae CC in the last five years. We know what a great putter Henley has been throughout his career, but he especially thrives on Bermuda. Statistically, he had a rather benign week at the Sentry TOC on his way to a T17 finish. But, we would expect coming back to a course he’s been dominant on before to jumpstart his game.
Gary Woodland $7,800 – Gary may be one of our favorite DraftKings values on the board this week. He’s a bomber that plays shockingly well on courses like Waialae that require him to club down and choose his spots. In fact, Woodland has gained over 25 strokes on the field at Waialae in the last five years. A recent article on the Golf Channel mentions how excited Gary is to begin the season. Apparently, Gary received some much need short game instruction from Pete Cowen and Brad Faxon that has him inspired. If his putter improves even marginally this season, Gary could win multiple times on the PGA Tour, given his ball striking ability. The price is too yummy to pass up in DraftKings GPPs and makes him a staple in cash game lineups.
Jimmy Walker $7,200 – Similar to Gary Woodland, Butch Harmon coaches Jimmy Walker and referenced his offseason in a Golf Channel article. Harmon said, “He’s healthy again and we had some really good sessions. It’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him swing it. Last year was tough on him physically and mentally it was a big strain on him. He’s done some great work and he’s ready to go”. This speaks to the battle Jimmy’s had with Lyme Disease over the last year. However, he appears rested, swinging well, and eager to compete. There’s not a player in this field that has gained more strokes at Waialae CC in the last five years than Jimmy Walker. He’s a low ball bomber that can keep it under the wind if conditions are challenging. Not to mention, he’s a two time champion of the Sony. At $7,200 on DraftKings, we’re willing to trust in Butch Harmon’s assessment.
Best bargain basement option:
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Aaron Baddeley $6,800 – We always strive to give you a true “bargain basement” option in this section, in hopes to give you a play allowing salary relief. Our decision to roll with Badds here is based on putting, price, and winning upside. Badds is not the most consistent cut maker on the PGA Tour and historically struggles with accuracy off the tee. However, over the last five PGA Tour seasons, one player has finished top 20 in Strokes Gained Putting four times. Aaron. Baddeley. What he lacks with the driver, Aaron makes up for with the flat stick. We see that as valuable at Waialae CC, especially considering how well Aaron ranks among the Bermuda putting specialists. We likely won’t be playing him in cash lineups, but we will have some exposure in GPPs.
Player to Avoid:
Si Woo Kim $8,500 – The top 10 finish last week at the Sentry sounds good on paper for Si Woo, but we’re not impressed enough to pay $8,500. Si Woo is one of the most unreliable, unpredictable golfers on the PGA Tour. He’s never been known as a great putter, and that looks to continue given his putting performance last week. He is a wonderful ball striker, but in a full field event with a cut, it’s hard to trust him enough to return value on the price tag. He has a history of withdrawing from tournaments, appearing to “mail it in”, and look like a completely different golfer from the one we watched win the Players Championship in 2017. Until we see further consistency from Kim, we’ll be out unless his price warrants the upside.