Yahoo DFS Golf: Sony Open

Yahoo DFS Golf: Sony Open

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

Sony Open in Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Waialae Country Club - Par 70 - 7,044 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $6.6M

The Preview

The PGA Tour's entertainment recipe at the Sentry Tournament of Champions this past weekend didn't conclude with a DJ or a JT finding the winner's circle, but rather involved a primetime viewing experience as overtime provided yet another chance to witness the gorgeous backdrop of the Plantation Course's exciting par-5 finishing hole as Harris English outlasted Joaquin Niemann in a playoff. Hopping a couple islands west this week, the state of Hawaii once again plays host to the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club, which has been a mainstay on the Tour's schedule since the mid-1960s. The favorable weather conditions experienced at Kapalua last week are slated to appear again in Honolulu, with scoring expected to dip well below the 11-under-par mark that Cameron Smith reached en route to victory on this short par-70 layout in 2020. Speaking of past champions, six consecutive winners prior to Smith had played in the Tournament of Champions the week before their Sony Open triumphs. Omitted from the key stats below, driving accuracy plays a factor at Waialae in the sense that it's more important to plot one's way around the course and be selective with angles into greens, rather than just collect a lofty FIR percentage on paper. Especially with the future champion likely reaching 20-under if the weather remains stable, a red-hot putter that leads to the conversion of par breakers will be the difference among a 144-entrant field.

Recent Champions 

2020 - Cameron Smith
2019 - Matt Kuchar
2018 - Patton Kizzire
2017 - Justin Thomas 
2016 - Fabian Gomez
2015 - Jimmy Walker
2014 - Jimmy Walker
2013 - Russell Henley 
2012 - Johnson Wagner 
2011 - Mark Wilson

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
SG: Putting (Bermuda)
P4: 400-450 and P4: 450-500 efficiency
Birdie or better percentage

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Collin Morikawa - $47

Webb Simpson's run of six consecutive top-20s at the Sony Open earned him the top spot on Yahoo's salary board at $50 this week, but I'll argue that Morikawa is the best player in the field and therefore provides value at a discount from both Simpson and Daniel Berger ($48). Nobody at Waialae resides above Morikawa in the Official World Golf Ranking, as the 23-year-old ascended from seventh to No. 5 with his T7 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the heels of a top-10 effort at the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship in mid-December. He tallied a combined 17 birdies in Rounds 2 and 3 last week on the Plantation Course before fading Sunday, ultimately gaining nearly six strokes from tee to green throughout the tournament despite losing 2.774 in the final round. Morikawa, who posted a T21 in his maiden voyage to the Sony Open last season, ranks sixth in SG: Approach over his past 24 rounds and 10th in proximity over his past 36 through a slump by his standards since the U.S. Open.

Sungjae Im - $47

Including a trip to Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, Im has strung together finishes of T5-T14-MC-T2 in four starts dating to the Masters in November. Despite losing over three strokes putting, he racked up 24 birdies and an eagle at the Kapalua Resort last week where he paced the field in SG: Tee-to-Green. Positive regression with the flat stick is very much a possibility in Honolulu for Im, who ranks 10th in SG: Putting and eighth in putting from 5-10 feet on bermuda surfaces over his last 50 rounds. The Korean is a collective 17-under-par in two Sony Open appearances, good enough for back-to-back top-25s here since 2019.

Adam Scott - $41

Much like the aforementioned Im, Scott put on a ball-striking clinic for much of the Tournament of Champions, but just couldn't buy a putt as the Aussie's short-game issues resulted in a lousy scrambling rate of just 40 percent. Alternatively, Scott led the entire field in GIR percentage as he missed only five greens in regulation throughout the event. He also ranked third in SG: Approach and driving distance on the way to an average of five birdies per round. Additionally, Scott has placed top-20 in half of his eight career Sony Open showings.

Glue Guys

Joaquin Niemann - $38

Niemann's runner-up finish at last week's Sentry TOC inflated his Yahoo salary from $26 to $38 in just a matter of days, but this current positioning is an accurate representation of the Chilean's talent level among the Sony Open field. He honestly might warrant even more inflation in daily fantasy formats, boosting his scoring output by ranking No. 1 in both par-breaker percentage over his last 24 rounds and P4: 400-450 efficiency over his last 50. Niemann made the cut in his Waialae CC debut last year, but he's now coming off a brilliant performance at Kapalua in which he gained over seven strokes on his approach shots.

Kevin Kisner - $38

Kisner's combination of precision off the tee and prowess with the putter allows him to fit the mold perfectly when it comes to suitability at Waialae Country Club, as made evident by his three finishes of T5 or better here since 2016. Just last week at Kapalua, he gained over three strokes on bermuda greens while also hitting 52 of 60 fairways in regulation. Kisner ranks 18th in proximity over his past 36 rounds and he's sixth in driving accuracy on Tour this season.

Lanto Griffin - $34

Griffin has climbed to a career-best 55th in the OWGR thanks in part to his T13 last week on Maui, and he'll have a solid chance to maintain the positive momentum at Waialae CC where he notched a top-10 in 2020. He played each of his final three rounds at the Tournament of Champions in four-under-par fashion or better, tallying at least five birdies all four days as well. Griffin ranked in the top-half of the field in SG: Approach, but it was a hot putter that brought him success. On similar bermuda greens, Griffin finished the week fourth in SG: Putting and 12th in putts per GIR.

Bargain Bin

Michael Thompson - $24

Thompson provided quite a bit of DFS value throughout the weekend at the Sentry TOC, as he racked up nine birdies and two eagles throughout his final 36 holes and ultimately finished second in SG: Putting and 11th in SG: Approach. Thompson's lack of power off the tee won't be much of a hindrance at Waialae, as he's top-30 in driving accuracy, SG: Putting on bermuda and putting from 5-10 feet on bermuda over his last 50 rounds. Searching for adequate floors in this salary range, Thompson has made the cut in four of his last five Sony Open appearances, flashing additional upside here back in 2012 when he tied for sixth.

Patton Kizzire - $20

Kizzire is only three years removed from his Sony Open victory, which he followed up with another top-15 at Waialae CC in 2019. He's since fallen outside the top 200 in the OWGR, which might explain his minimum salary, but Kizzire is currently enjoying a streak of six straight made cuts dating back to the Corales Championship. He also picked up three consecutive top-25s from the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open through The RSM Classic during the fall series. Bermuda greens have treated Kizzire well, as he ranks No. 1 in SG: Putting on these surfaces over his last 50 rounds. He's also fifth among the field in birdie-or-better percentage over his last 24 trips around the course.

Russell Knox - $20

Albeit an oxymoron, Knox is in the upper echelon of "punt plays," with three top-15s in his last six treks to Honolulu to go along with four consecutive made cuts at this venue. Knox's recent form increases his potential to return value, as he has secured three top-25s in four starts since the Bermuda Championship. He's seventh in proximity over his last 36 rounds and 25th in P4: 450-500 efficiency over his last 50. He's also fifth in GIR percentage this season.

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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