- The Sony Open in Hawaii tees off Thursday, January 14th from Waialae Country Club
- Webb Simpson is the favorite to be the first-round leader over Harris English and Collin Morikawa
- See the best bets and odds to grab the first-round lead plus tournament matchup picks in the article below
The second part of the PGA Tour swing through Hawaii marks the first full field event of 2021 after Harris English won the limited field Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Ten of the top-25 players in the world are teeing it up this week, with Webb Simpson the favorite over English and Collin Morikawa. He’s also the favorite to grab the lead after 18 holes, but there’s plenty of other golfers with intriguing odds.
In this article, we’ll explore which players have the best chance of being the leader after day one, plus head-to-head tournament matchups.
2021 Sony Open First Round Leader Odds
All odds taken Jan. 12 at DraftKings
The forecast is mainly sunny, with the morning wave facing winds that gust up to ten miles per hour with the afternoon wave facing gusts that’ll be about ten miles per hour harder.
A benefit for those playing in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.
Past Champion Ryan Palmer Has Great Value
In his last four first rounds on Tour, Palmer, who won this event in 2010, has shot the following scores – 67, 67, 68 and 69.
Those have resulted in fourth place finishes the last two times he’s teed it up at the ZOZO Championship and last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.
In those four events, he’s been gaining on average five strokes on the field in ball striking tee-to-green.
Ryan Palmer was 1 back when he hit this shot.
The aggressive play led to a wild bounce.
He bogeyed to finish 2 back. pic.twitter.com/WXVCZfyxtf
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 13, 2020
Last year at this very event, Palmer was in the thick of things all the way to the end of the tournament, where a bogey on the 72nd hole cost him a shot at a playoff en route to a T-4 finish, so he’s had a recent strong run at the title on this track.
Pick: Ryan Palmer (+4000)
Emiliano Grillo Getting Off to Hot Starts
The player with the second best first round scoring average of those competing this week is Emiliano Grillo, with an average of 68.13 this season.
In four of his last five events, he’s shot 66 or better, recording that number three times, and a 64 once. In his last ten opening rounds on tour, he has one bad score (75), and in the other nine instances, nothing worse than a 70.
Emiliano Grillo's Hole in one. Best Thing Out of Argentina since AGUERO pic.twitter.com/9BvK203RGc
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 18, 2019
He’s only missed cut in his last twelve events, with three top-10’s, including his most recent tournament when he posted a T-8 at the Mayakoba Classic where he was just a shot out of the first round lead and was the 54-hole leader.
He’s had decent success at this track in the past, making the weekend all four times with T-21 and T-22 results the last two years.
Pick: Emiliano Grillo (+6600)
Sungjae Im vs Hideki Matsuyama Tournament Matchup Odds
Hideki Matsuyama is known to be a very bad putter, and last week at the Sentry TOC his putting hit rock bottom for the worst display of his career. Unfathomably, Matsuyama lost a whopping 9.7 strokes to the field on the greens.
Sungjae Im, meanwhile, posted a very solid T-5 finish in his Sentry TOC debut, and he also tied for second at the Masters in November.
Here are the strokes gained rankings of both players the last two years at the Sony Open.
2019-20 Sony Open Strokes Gained Stats
|Golfer||Total||Tee-to-green||Ball Striking||Off-the-tee||Approach||Short Game||Around-the-green||Putting|
Matsuyama already has struggled on the greens at Waialae prior to the worst putting performance of his career a week ago, so it’s hard to bank on him doing well enough to place better than Im this week.
Pick: Sungjae Im (-118)
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