Sony Open Golf Championship

easyodds takes an in-depth look at the main runners ahead of this week's Sony Open, in Hawaii, highlighting the best odds and recommended bets
By: Andy Newton
 
Jan. 12, 2010 - PRLog -- WHERE: Waialae Golf & Country Club, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

COURSE CHARACTERISTICS: This week’s venue is totally different from last week’s Plantation Course at Kapalua as accuracy off the tee is a key factor and in 2009 the fairways were the third hardest to hit on the tour. With most of the holes being dog-legs good iron play is going to be needed, particularly as the Bermuda rough is a tough place to get out of, while the small greens make life difficult when attempting to get close to the pin. In 2009 the opening hole proved the most difficult to play. Depending on the wind, the second shot to a very shallow green that is guarded in front by a huge deep bunker can be played with anything from a three-wood to a nine iron. No eagles were recorded there last year and only 19 birdies were signed for, while there were 18 double bogeys and four higher scores. The par five ninth was the easiest on the course 12 months ago and it can be reached in two. There were 34 eagles made there and 293 birdies with just a single double-bogey.

THE SONY SQUAD

STEVE STRICKER: Broke a run of two consecutive fourth place finishes in the Sony Open when tying for 23rd 12 months ago, but also picked up a third and a seventh in the contest before the 1990s came to a close. Finished his round with a birdie at the 18th two years ago and tied for 13th for GIR and although he was outside the top-20 in 2009 he was fifth in the same performance chart. Enjoyed a career-best year on the PGA tour picking up three titles, finishing runner up twice, posting 11 top-10s and 16 top-25s. Won the Crowne Plaza Invitational with a three-foot birdie putt in extra time on the 17th, the second play-off hole. Went on to claim his second win of the season in the John Deere Classic where he produced a career-low 61 in the second round and then holed a 98-yard pitch shot for an eagle two in the final round to coast home by three strokes. Headed the FedEx Cup standings after a one-shot victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship where he closed with two consecutive birdies for a round of 67. A poor showing in the BMW Championship blew his hopes of picking up a fat pay cheque and he dropped back to third in the standings. Round off his season with a fair sixth in the Tour Championship where he closed with rounds of 66 and 69. Started the new term last week in the SBS Championship and closed with a 66 to climb eight places up the leaderboard on the final day to claim a share of 10th.
BEST PRICE: 12-1

ZACH JOHNSON: Obviously enjoys his trips to the Hawaiian islands as he followed up a sixth in the Mercedes-Benz Championship last year with a two-shot victory over David Toms and Adam Scott in this contest, finishing with a two-putt birdie to capture the prize. That was one of nine top-10s he posted in 2009 when he recorded multiple victories for the second time in three years. Successfully defended his Texas Open title when sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on the first play-off hole to beat James Driscoll and that win took him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. The 60 he carded in the third round at LaCantera was the second of his career and made him the only player in PGA tour history to record multiple rounds of 60 in his career. Hit the top spot on the Money List with a tied ninth in the Crowne Plaza Invitational two weeks later. In July he improved on his mediocre run of results in the John Deere when tying for second despite having to play the third and fourth rounds on the Sunday. Rounded off the season in good style with a second major top-10 in the PGA Championship, a fifth in the BMW Championship (thanks to a second round 65), and closed with a 67 in the Tour Championship to share 16th before ending the regular season with a tied ninth in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Was never really competitive at Kapalua last week, finishing a lowly 18th, although there were promising signs from his seventh for GIR and eighth for fairways hit.
BEST PRICE: 20-1

RETIEF GOOSEN: The South African ace is not a regular visitor to Waialae and hasn't played since finishing outside the top-50 in 2005. But prior to that he had produced a 10th and a 20th in the previous two seasons. Was only out of the top-10 once during the 2004 renewal of this contest when just outside the top-25 at the halfway stage. But a round of 65 on the Saturday hauled him back into contention and he certainly proved he could tame the course as he was ranked fifth for driving distance. He was back in the winner’s enclosure on the PGA tour for the first time in nearly four years when holing a five-foot par-saving putt to win the Transitions Championship despite trailing Tom Lehman by a stroke at the end of the third round. Took the lead in that event for the first time after eagling the 11th hole at Innisbrook and gave him his seventh career win in the US and his second at that track. Earlier in the year he had closed with a 65 to capture the Africa Open at the East London Golf Club on the Sunshine tour. Having been in contention all week in the Open Championship - he opened with a 67 - it was disappointing when he finished off his campaign with a 72 which left him two shots off the lead in fifth. Went close to securing a second title when holing out for an eagle three at the final hole of the Canadian Open to force a play-off but lost at the second extra hole after carding a bogey. Was again in with a shout in the Deutsche Bank Championship as he shared the lead going into the last day but blew his chances with a 71 and he slipped back to eighth. Apart from Turnberry he also performed with credit on the other occasions he ventured back to Europe; picking up a third in the BMW International along with five other top-10s. Made a promising start to the year with a sixth last week in the SBS Championship with his last three rounds all in the 60s and can build on that.
BEST PRICE: 25-1




SELECTIONS: Briny Baird, Charles Howell, Jerry Kelly, David Toms

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