- The PGA Tour heads to Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open in Hawaii January 13-16th
- Cameron Smith is the slight +2000 favorite over Webb Simpson to lead after the first round
- See the best bets and odds to grab the first-round lead in the article below
After setting the PGA Tour record for lowest 72-hole score last weekend, Cameron Smith heads to Waialae Country Club to tee it up for the Sony Open. It’s a tournament he knows well, having won at this venue two years ago.
Smith is the only top-10 golfer in the world teeing it up this week, and as such, he’s the Sony Open betting favorite. Webb Simpson, who has come close to winning this event in each of his last three attempts, is narrowly behind him to grab the lead after 18 holes. It’s a short course by Tour standards, so any style of player is capable of contending.
In this article, we’ll explore which players have the best chance of being the leader after day one, along with what players are fast starters on Thursday’s this season.
2022 Sony Open in Hawaii First Round Leader Odds
Odds as of January 12th at DraftKings
The forecast is expected to be mainly sunny throughout the morning with a chance of showers in the afternoon. Temperatures will range from mid 70’s to low 80’s. The players in the morning face a lighter breeze, gusting to just six MPH, with that reaching the low teens in the afternoon.
A benefit for those teeing it up in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.
Conners Tops In First Round Scoring
For the early part of the 2021-22 season, Canadian Corey Conners has been scintillating on Thursdays as he’s shot rounds of 62, 66, 67. That has been a part of five top-25’s in the last six times teeing it up.
Subsequently, he leads the tour in first round scoring average.
2021-22 PGA Tour First Round Scoring Average Leaders
|1. Corey Conners||65.00||+3500|
|3. Russell Henley||65.80||+3500|
|4. Talor Gooch||65.86||+4000|
|6. Cameron Smith||66.50||+2000|
|T-7. Hideki Matsuyama||66.60||+3500|
|T-7. Sungjae Im||66.60||+3500|
|11. Joel Dahmen||67.17||+6000|
|12. Matt Kuchar||67.25||+6500|
|14. Rory Sabbatini||67.33||+10000|
|16. Chris Kirk||67.60||+6500|
He’s also had a pair of high finishes at this tournament in the last two attempts, posting T-3 and T-12 results. For those eight rounds, he’s third in total strokes gained, fifth in ball striking and eighth in putting.
- Pick: Corey Conners (+3500)
Matt Jones on a Heater
Last weekend at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Matt Jones put together the best score to par in PGA Tour history in the final 36 holes of a tournament. He shot blistering rounds of 11-under, 62 and then the final round he was even better, a 12-under 61. That was good enough to finish third.
History made. ✔️
Matt Jones breaks the PGA Tour record for lowest 36-hole score to par at 23-under. pic.twitter.com/qjnvT6QMB8
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) January 10, 2022
That was good enough to gain over twelve shots compared to his competitors on the weekend. Last year, he had a very respectable showing at this track, where he wound up in a tie for eleventh. Considering his odds are long at +6000, you’re getting him at strong value with his current mojo.
- Pick: Matt Jones (+6000)
Brendan Steele a Horse for This Course
Brendan Steele has to feel snake bitten in a big way at the Sony Open in the last two years. In 2020, he had one hand on the trophy before a tough finish resulted in a playoff loss to Cameron Smith. Then, last season, he held the 54-hole lead before dropping into a tie for fourth. Despite not getting to the finish line, he’s been stellar in several strokes gained categories at Waialae.
Steele’s Strokes Gained Stats In Last 8 Rounds at Waialae
|Total||Putting||Short Game||Approach||Ball Striking||Tee-To-Green|
He’s on our radar as a great pick to win outright, and also in the top-20 markets as a Sony Open sleeper pick. Just three starts ago, he was runner-up at the Zozo Championship, meaning his odds for FRL are awfully enticing.
- Pick: Brendan Steele (+7000)