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Sony Open tips: Chris Kirk and Sahith Theegala ready to resume battle in Hawaii

The USPGA Tour stays in Hawaii this week, and golf pundit Martin Colwell has his eye on a few likely contenders for the Sony Open.

If we look at previous winners of this tournament it tends to favour golfers who played last week in Kapalua, and the fact that the favourite, Ludwig Aberg, is priced as high as 14/1 illustrates how wide open this tournament could be.

The Sony Open key stats:

  • When: January 11-14 2023
  • Where: Wai’alae Country Club at Honolulu, Hawaii
  • How long: 7,044 yards, par 70
  • What to expect: Coastal winds, largely flat, light rough, five water hazards, Bermuda grass
  • Who won last year: Si Woo Kim (-18)

Aberg was below his best last week, but this track should suit him better, albeit as a course debutant, while 16/1 shot Tyrell Hatton hit his stride early at Kapalua and improved further still as the tournament went on. 

His Ryder Cup team mate Matt Fitzpatrick also played last week, probably steadier than Hatton, and played solidly, so I would favour Fitz of these three betting principals. 

In such an open betting market, each-way value abounds, and surely that has to include last week's winner Chris Kirk, who hardly put a foot wrong during his 29-under-par performance, and kept his cool whenever the chasing pack closed in. 

He played very well throughout and has placed on this course twice in the past three years, so as the obvious in-form contender he looks ridiculously good each-way value at 28/1.

Suggested bet: Chris Kirk each-way in the Sony Open

 

Si Woo Kim is the defending champion this week, and he warmed up nicely to earn a decent top-25 finish last week, and looks set for a decent defence here. If Si Woo can be consistent for two weeks running on a course he must like, he could be up there making a mockery of his 33/1 starting price by Sunday afternoon.

Last week’s runner-up was Sahith Theegala, who was first-round leader before missing out by just one stroke to Kirk. Indeed, he temporarily edged ahead of Kirk in the closing holes and did nothing wrong in his eventual defeat. 

He won the Fortinet Championship just three outings ago at the end of last season, and with his game obviously not suffering during the winter break, this course looks tailor-made for this up-and-coming talent. 

Suggested bet: Sahith Theegala each-way in the Sony Open

 

Hideki Matsuyama is a previous winner here, and although off his game last week, this course suits him better and if he can get off to a good start on Thursday, the 40/1 available could look big over the weekend.

After shaping up as if to make a challenge last week, Akshay Bhatia faded on Sunday, casting doubts as to whether he can sustain his undoubted high-quality golf for four rounds against elite opposition. This field is bigger but arguably weaker than last week, so 50/1 looks a decent price for him to take a step towards breaking through further this year.

At the same tasty 50/1 price, Lucas Glover, was a big winner in 2023, landing the Wyndham Championship and the FedEx St Jude in successive weeks and thought by many as unlucky not to make USA’s Ryder Cup team. 

Glover has not missed the cut since July, and he played well in the last three rounds last week, albeit too late to threaten the leaders, so he comes to Wai’alae with his game in good shape

Suggested bet: Lucas Glover each-way in the Sony Open

 

Suggested bet summary:

  • Chris Kirk (3 points each way 28/1)
  • Sahith Theegala (1.5 points each way 28/1)

Lucas Glover (0.5 points each way 50/1)

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