The PGA Tour’s first full-field event of 2024 begins Thursday with the opening round of the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.
With many players returning from their offseason and others working to gain spots in the seven remaining signature events, the Sony Open has drawn a strong field — including five of the top-20 players in the world.
Our golf experts preview the event and provide their favorite prop picks along with best bets to win this week.
Location: Honolulu, Jan. 11-14
Course: Waialae Country Club (Par 70, 7,044 yards)
Purse: $8.3M (Winner: $1.494M)
Defending Champion: Si Woo Kim
FedEx Cup Leader: Chris Kirk
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Saturday, 7-10:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Sunday, 4-6 p.m. (NBC), 6-8 p.m. (GC)
Streaming (ESPN+): Thursday-Friday, 12-10:30 p.m. ET; Saturday, 3:30-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-8 p.m.
–Brian Harman to Beat Chris Kirk 1st Round (-120 at DraftKings): Harman said he was “as surprised as anyone” to tie for fifth last week in Maui after playing only a couple of rounds over the past two months while recharging for 2024. Kirk is coming off a victory at the first signature event of the year. That whirlwind, coupled with Harman’s fondness for Waialae, makes for a good combination.
–Matt Kuchar to Make the Cut (-250 at BetMGM): Kuchar is another big fan of Waialae, a narrow, tree-lined track that plays to his strengths. The 2019 champion opened with a 70 last year, but closed 67-64-66 to claim his second consecutive T7 at Waialae. Kuchar hasn’t competed since a T53 at the RSM Classic in November, but that was on the heels of a T2 in Mexico.
–Russell Henley Top 20 (+115 at DraftKings): Sticking with the “courses for horses” theme, this is the 11th anniversary of Henley’s win at Waialae. He tied for 32nd last year after losing to Hideki Matsuyama in a playoff in 2022. Henley is coming off a T52 at The Sentry, breaking a streak of five consecutive top-15 finishes dating back to his runner-up showing at the Wyndham in August.
2024 Prop Picks Record: 2-1
–Ludvig Aberg (+1600 at BetMGM) is coming off a T47 last week in his first start since winning the RSM Classic in November. The young Swede’s odds have lengthened slightly since opening at +1400.
–Matt Fitzpatrick (+1600) is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 8 and is coming off a T14 last week.
–Tyrrell Hatton (+1600) enters in good form, with a T2, T11 and T14 in his past four starts.
–Brian Harman (+2200) is coming off a T5 last week while making his 13th consecutive start at Waialae, a course he said “suits me.” Harman has been backed by the most money wagered on the outright winner at BetMGM with 13.4 percent and is the book’s third-biggest liability this week.
–Chris Kirk (+2800) is trying to become the first player to win the first two events of the season since Ernie Els in 2003. He has five top-10 finishes at the Sony, including a T2 in 2021.
–Sahith Theegala (+2800) finished a shot behind Kirk at The Sentry to move up to a career-best 20th in the world rankings. He has drawn 5.6 percent of the total bets to win since opening at +3300. Theegala has been even more popular at DraftKings, where his +3500 odds have been backed by the most total bets and money at 7 percent.
–Corey Conners (+2800) is BetMGM’s biggest liability this week after also opening at +3300. The Canadian leads the field with 8.2 percent of the total bets backing him to win and the second-most money at 9.9 percent. Conners hasn’t competed much since the Tour Championship in August, finishing T44 at the RSM Classic and T33 last week, but is also second at DraftKings with 6 percent of the money backing him at +2500.
–J.T. Poston (+3300) has been a popular play at BetMGM, where he is third in total bets (5.5%) and money (8.6%) backing him to claim his third tour title this week after quietly finishing T5 on Maui. That makes him the book’s second biggest liability.
–Hideki Matsuyama (+5000) is coming off a missed cut and has fallen to 50th in the world rankings, but knows Waialae well and was the 2022 champion.
–Akshay Bhatia (+6000) was in contention last week before closing with a 71 to finish T14 for his fourth top-21 finish in his past five starts.
–Thirty-eight players who also competed in The Sentry on Maui are in this week’s field.
–Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland will make his first start since undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor in September.
–Will Zalatoris will make his first official PGA Tour start since withdrawing from the WGC-Match Play last March and undergoing surgery the following month. He finished 20th (last) in last month’s unofficial Hero World Challenge.
–Fifteen of the 36 rookies on tour this season are in the field, including brothers Parker and Pierceson Coody.
–Tyler McCumber will make his first tour start since the 2022 Cognizant Classic as he plays out of the major medical extension category following a shoulder injury.
–Field Level Media
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