This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae Country Club - Par 70 - 7,044 yards
Field - 144 Entrants
Purse - $6.6M
The PGA Tour bounces from Hawaii's Maui island to Oahu following the Sentry Tournament of Champions for this week's Sony Open, but expect far from paradisiacal conditions in Honolulu where more rain than sunlight and a lethal ocean breeze are slated to last through the weekend. This long-running tournament has been played at Waialae Country Club since 1965, but brutal weather could make this year's edition one of the toughest setups in recent memory at the venue. Past champions have reached at least 20-under-par here in four of the last five seasons, but precipitation/wind should hinder scoring opportunities as wet rough lines much tighter fairways than we saw at the wide-open Plantation Course last week. In addition to the key statistics listed below, lower ball flights will be rewarded as the game's best wind players gain an advantage.
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Putting
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Justin Thomas - $50
Thomas' 12th career win on the PGA Tour last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions came in exhausting fashion as a meltdown on the final hole of regulation resulted in a three-man playoff against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed. Thomas would eventually outlast Reed thanks to a birdie on the third playoff hole, avoiding what could have been quite a mentally draining last-minute choke. A sigh of relief should allow Thomas to enter the Sony Open with a clear head, and he owns the all-time tournament scoring record with a 27-under total en route to his victory here in 2017 when he also fired an 11-under 59 in Round 1. The early leader in the FedEx Cup standings leads this week's field in both SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 24 rounds.
Webb Simpson - $45
In his last two full-field events of the decade, Simpson tied for seventh at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open before surging to a solo-second at the RSM Classic where he ranked third in SG: Approach and second in SG: Tee-to-Green. He's gained an elite average of 4.3 strokes putting per event over his last 10 tournaments, having also finished 11th or better on Tour in this metric each of the past two seasons. Simpson owns five straight top-20s at the Sony Open and has never missed a cut in nine trips to Waialae CC, most recently tying for fourth at the venue in 2018.
Charles Howell III - $40
The Sony Open is easily one of Howell's favorite stops on the entire schedule, having appeared in 18 consecutive editions of the tourney with 10 top-10s, zero missed cuts and a pair of runner-up finishes inked onto his Waialae resume. A missed cut at the RSM Classic in his previous start doesn't appear to have deflated Howell's price any, but he's certainly worth a look here for more reasons than just course history. The 40-year-old tallied four top-25s, including top-10s at the Zozo Championship and Safeway Open, through seven events during the fall series. Howell's solid short game lands him 21st or better in SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting over his last 36 rounds as well.
Marc Leishman - $39
The classic Aussie wind-player reputation rings true with Leishman, who enjoys a favorable advantage over a majority of the field in the breezy conditions that are expected in Honolulu throughout the week. He's coming off a top-10 performance at the Emirates Australian Open in early December, but Leishman also added a solo-third finish on the PGA Tour this season at the Safeway Open where he ranked second in SG: Tee-to-Green and gained 4.7 strokes on his approach shots. Leishman's track record at Waialae CC includes a trio of top-10s while avoiding any missed cuts in 10 career appearances.
Brandt Snedeker - $37
The potentially harsh elements shouldn't have as much of an effect on a crafty 39-year-old veteran like Snedeker, who ranks top-10 in both SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds. Snedeker lost to Fabian Gomez in a playoff at the 2016 Sony Open after the duo tied in regulation with a four-round total of 20-under-par, but the former also collected another top-20 at the 2019 version. Snedeker missed just three cuts in 26 events throughout 2019, so he remains a safe bet to provide steady value in cash-game formats.
Andrew Putnam - $33
Putnam fired an eight-under 62 in Round 1 of the 2019 Sony Open on the way to his solo runner-up finish behind defending champion Matt Kuchar. The former led the field in putting average that week and carded just four total bogeys in 72 holes at Waialae. The flat stick, especially on bermuda greens, continues to be a strength for Putnam. He ranks second in SG: Putting over his last 36 holes, but also ranks an impressive ninth in SG: Approach during this span as well.
Brian Stuard - $25
Coming in at 10th in driving accuracy and 31st in SG: Tee-to-Green through the early portion of the 2019-20 campaign, Stuard has already posted four top-25s and two top-10s to average just north of $85k in earnings per event thus far. He's gained at least 2.4 strokes putting in three straight measured starts, but his track record at Waialae CC is equally intriguing. Stuard has placed T8 or better in four of his last six attempts at the Sony Open.
Ryan Armour - $22
Armour, who got off to a poor start with three consecutive missed starts from The Greenbrier to the Shriners Open, has responded nicely with a trio of top-25s in four starts from the Houston Open to the RSM Classic. He ranks top-3 in both SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds, while he resides 10th in SG: Approach and eighth in driving accuracy from a season-long standpoint. Armour is a collective 18-under-par at the Sony Open since 2018.
Carlos Ortiz - $20
Back-to-back top-4 performances at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Houston Open precede Ortiz's travels to Honolulu this week, as he enters the Sony Open at 14th in the FedEx Cup standings thanks in part to another top-4 result earlier in the season at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He ranks 17th in SG: Tee-to-Green and ninth in par-3 scoring average, but he's also first in SG: Total and second in SG: Around-the-Green over his last eight rounds. Ortiz gathered a top-30 finish at the 2019 Sony Open, when he tied for the best final-round score with a six-under 64.