US PGA Tour golf tips: South Korean stars set to shine brightly in Sony Open

After Jon Rahm's dramatic win last week, the US PGA Tour stays in Hawaii, where Tipstrr's golf expert Martin Colwell expects South Korea's top players to have a say in the outcome of the Sony Open.

Martin Colwell is an experienced tipster who specialises in golf, and his PuttForDough service is available for trial on Tipstrr until the end of January by clicking here

Last week's article previewing the Tournament of Champions highlighted Jon Rahm at 13/2 and the Spaniard delivered in some style with a dramatic final round, carding a 63 to turn a seven-shot deficit into a two-stroke win over Collin Morikawa, who was also mentioned as an each-way contender at 22/1.

This week we remain in Hawaii for the 25th edition of the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. At 7,044 yards in length, this par-70 course offers a narrow layout with tree-lined fairways and 83 bunkers.

Wai'alae's coastal layout means that the wind can inevitably be a factor as far as scoring is concerned, while the course is based upon Bermuda grass and has small grainy green complexes that can therefore make them tricky to read.

With all that in mind, the two main data metrics this week from my perspective are 'strokes gained approach' and 'strokes gained putting', but obviously both of those aspects will initially require decent driving from the tee.

Hideki Matsuyama defends as 2022 champion, when he carded a final-round 63 to draw level with Russell Henley, whom he eventually beat in a play-off.

The main contenders

Looking at previous results, there is a mix of obvious winners along with some shocks along the way.

Our favourite this week is Tom Kim (currently 11/1), who played well enough to earn a top-five finish last week and is very much a star in the making.

His South Korean compatriot, Sungjae Im (14/1) showed some good form at the end of 2022 without winning, and while his game last weekend was decent in patches, he needs to convert more of his good weeks into wins rather than finishing second or third.

Jordan Speith is 16/1 generally, and the American went well to halfway last week before tailing off with rounds of 71 and 69 to finish eight shots off the lead. His form in 2022 was patchy and his usually trustworthy putting stroke was a bit off, but he can produce magic on this course if he can avoid letting himself down with unforced errors and costly bogeys.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama is 18/1, which is perhaps based more on his win here a year ago than the form he showed towards the end of 2022. However, he did blow away some cobwebs last week at the Tournament of Champions, albeit finishing 11 shots off the pace.

Others to watch 

Last year's runner-up Russell Henley also won here previously back in 2013, and after playing reasonably last week (30th at 12-under), the 20/1 price tag is probably a fair representation of his chances.

Billy Horschel has placed in this tournament previously, plus he prefers a shorter course due to his relative lack of distance off the tee. There is some 30/1 about, but 28/1 is also fair and this course will be one of his better chances to contend on the tour in 2023.

I like the look of K H Lee at 33/1, because he is trending results wise and he putts well - plus he did show up last week, ending up in the top group of finishers after finishing strongly to card two 67's over the weekend.

Whilst Harris English is generally priced at 40/1, there is some 50/1 about if you can find it. English ended 2022 off the pace with five finishes placed between 28th and 40th, but his third place when paired with Matt Kuchar in the QBE Shootout might just be the launchpad to the American finding his form again coming into 2023.

So, plenty to look forward to this week in Hawaii. Play commences Thursday evening UK time.

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