Yahoo DFS Golf: Sony Open in Hawaii Picks and Strategy

Yahoo DFS Golf: Sony Open in Hawaii Picks and Strategy

This article is part of our Yahoo PGA DFS Picks series.

Sony Open in Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Waialae Country Club - Par 70 - 7,044 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $7.9M

The Preview

The Hawaiian Swing's alluring backdrop transitions from Maui to the shores of O'ahu as Honolulu's Waialae Country Club has remained the host of the Sony Open since its inception in 1965. The first noticeable contrast from last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions to this week's event lies in the field size and strength. There's less firepower in attendance at Waialae, but a full contingent of 144 entrants combines with a smaller prize pool to force the inclusion of a 36-hole cut. Style of play differs greatly from Kapalua's wide-open Plantation Course as well.

Waialae's short par-70 layout features two easily reachable par-5s as well as four par-3s that all measure between 176-204 yards, leaving 12 par-4s, 10 of which play inside the typical 400-500 yard range. Unlike the spray and pray nature of Kapalua, driving accuracy is paramount this week as players often reach for their long irons off the tee in order to navigate narrow doglegs and avoid the three-inch surrounding rough. Nearly 70 percent of approach shots are likely to come from 125-200 yards into these big bermuda greens, upon which putting contests can ensue. If coastal winds remain tame, the eventual victor should have no problem pushing 20-under, further emphasizing the importance of holed putts and par breakers for fantasy scoring.

Recent Champions

2022 - Hideki Matsuyama
2021 - Kevin Na
2020 - Cameron Smith
2019 - Matt Kuchar
2018 - Patton Kizzire
2017 - Justin Thomas
2016 - Fabian Gomez
2015 - Jimmy Walker
2014 - Jimmy Walker
2013 - Russell Henley

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach and Proximity: 125-200 yards
Driving Accuracy
SG: Putting (bermuda)
Birdie-or-Better Percentage

Yahoo Value Picks

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Tom Kim - $44

The outright betting favorite prevailed last week as Jon Rahm's comeback victory provided us with the coveted 25-point bonus for first place, and while Kim appears alone atop the odds board this week, four of his peers carry a $44-plus price tag in Yahoo DFS. Kim played his final seven holes in five-under-par Sunday to post a top-5 finish at Kapalua despite losing more than a stroke with the flat stick, though he paced the entire field in SG: Tee-to-Green. He's on an incredible run with his irons and full wedges, gaining at least 3.4 strokes on his approach shots in eight consecutive measured events dating back to the 3M Open in late July. Given the fact that prior experience around Waialae has so often been rewarded, Kim's debutant status could force some gamers to pivot here, but course history is overrated for this special of a young player at a venue that should suit his game perfectly. 

Corey Conners - $44

It might not make a whole lot of sense that Conners is joining the horse for the course conversation at a setup that typically requires a high-quality putting performance, but Conners has gained a collective 14 strokes on these greens across just four starts en route to results of 11-T12-T3-T39. He led the Sentry Tournament of Champions field in scrambling last week, and the Canadian ranks fifth over his past 24 rounds in SG: Approach, overall proximity and Par-4: 400-450 Efficiency. Conners also hasn't lost strokes off the tee in a single measured event since the 2021 Genesis Invitational.

Hideki Matsuyama - $43

Heading into the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii, Matsuyama had gained a combined 29.4 strokes from tee to green across his four previous trips to Waialae Country Club, but he would always struggle mightily on the greens here. However, he finally enjoyed a spike week last year, and it resulted in a playoff victory after picking up 7.3 strokes on the field with the putter. The defending champion now has gained strokes putting in five straight, and he's No. 2 in proximity from 125-150 yards over his last 36 rounds.

Glue Guys

Mackenzie Hughes - $35

Yahoo's $35 salary on Hughes is actually pretty high compared to market consensus, so I doubt he'll get a ton of love in this somewhat costly spot, but he's one of the best putters on Tour and he's gained at least 5.9 strokes putting in two of five Sony Open appearances. Only three guys had a better final-round outing than Hughes this past Sunday, playing his last 18 holes of the TOC in bogey-free fashion to go along with six birdies and an eagle. Looking into his past 24 rounds, Hughes comes in at eighth in Par-3: 175-200 Efficiency and 11th in Par-4: 450-500 Efficiency.

J.J. Spaun - $31

Repping a glorious, untucked button-down shirt, Spaun hit a tournament-best 64 of 72 greens in regulation on the way to 26 total birdies at Kapalua where he tied for fifth against strong competition last week. A really lousy track record at Waialae C.C. should help scare off the casuals in the golf lobby, but Spaun ranks top-30 in BOB percentage, Prox: 125-200 yards and SG: Putting over his last 36 rounds.

Russell Knox - $29

Knox is popping in the No. 4 spot of my 24-round custom stat model this week, notably ranking second to none in both overall proximity and Prox: 125-150 yards, third in SG: Approach, 10th in P4: 400-450 Efficiency, 17th in SG: Putting and 28th in driving accuracy within this recent sample. Given the seemingly evident course fit, it's encouraging to note that he owns four top-15s in his last eight showings at Waialae. Wishing he'd have hit the $30 mark simply for rostership sake.

Bargain Bin

Hayden Buckley - $23

Buckley paced the 2022 Sony Open field in driving accuracy and ranked second in SG: OTT during his Waialae C.C. debut, rattling off four consecutive rounds of 67 or better en route to a T12 finish. More recently, he tallied three straight top-20 results from the Sanderson Farms Championship through the ZOZO Championship during the fall series. Buckley currently sits top-15 in SG: OTT, Prox: 175-200 and P4: 450-500 Efficiency over his last 24 measured rounds.

Greyson Sigg - $23

The former Georgia Bulldog is looking to extend the school's CFP National Championship momentum into his week at Waialae, making his second career Sony Open start after gaining 4.3 strokes with his irons as a debutant here last year. Not only is bermuda Sigg's preferred putting surface from a statistical standpoint, but he's also 14th on Tour in SG: Putting through his first 15 measured rounds of the 2022-23 campaign. He finished in the top third in driving accuracy this past season, and he's 10th in BOB percentage across his last 24 rounds.

Ryan Armour - $20

Placing T39 or better in four of his last five voyages to Honolulu, Armour is the type of dart throw I'd look for here as someone who hits a ton of fairways and hits it close with his short irons. He ranked fifth in SG: Approach here last year, and he's top-5 in both Prox: 150-175 and driving accuracy over his past 24 rounds. On the way to his top-20 finish at the 2022 Sony Open, Armour compiled 22 total birdies and he played the par-4s in 10-under-par, which was just two shots shy of the aforementioned defending champ in Matsuyama.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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