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2024 Sony Open in Hawaii: Betting Odds, Picks and a Prop for Waialae Country Club

The second leg of the PGA Tour's Hawaiian swing should follow a script and our expert has thoughts on some leading characters.

Waialae Country Club is the second most predictive course on the PGA Tour, behind only Augusta National. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, Waialae has held the Sony Open since it started in 1965. A field of 144 players will descend upon the island of Oahu to compete for $8.3 million. The top 65 and ties play the weekend and try to outlast one another for the $1.4 million first-place prize.

Thirty-eight players are travelling over from Kapalua and nearly 25% of the field is seeing Waialae for the first time in competition. The attendance numbers are relevant for many reasons. Whenever you are handicapping an event and you read about the course being predictive, you must pay attention to the trends. Local knowledge counts in many ways, but none seems to pay bigger dividends than when a Tour pro has experience at a particular venue.

Sixteen of the last 17 winners of the Sony Open have competed at Waialae at least once before winning. Predictive venues have very specific trends. Those trends can be as (or more) important than statistical analysis. Touring professionals are very habitual creatures. When their routine (and game) fits, they contend. The secret surrounding the Sony is not complicated. Control your ball flight and putt better than 80% of the field.

Mark Hubbard hits a shot with the iconic Waialae Country Club tree-form "W" in the background at the 2023 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Follow past trends at Waialae to find the "W" this week. 

Learning the nuances of classic courses only gets more complicated when conditions are changing daily. Waialae Country Club sits on the Pacific Ocean. The wind looks relatively mild (12-18 mph) this week, but the course had rain at the start of the week. Adjusting to the turf conditions while learning the layout adds an extra wrinkle of complexity. Chris Kirk has played here 13 times and comes in with a win. Imagine trying to compete against him with that level of confidence and familiarity.

Speaking of last week, Sentry participants have won 70% of the Sony Opens held in the last 20 years. One week of competition really counts when it comes to winning on the PGA Tour. The average winning score of the Sony Open over the last decade is 18 under par, and entering that first event of the year against elite players who have already been under fire is hard. Nothing mimics real competition in practice.

The average pre-tournament odds of the last 10 winners are +4900. That value has remained very consistent as the average of the last five winners are +4700. Historically, the elite OWGR players leave Hawaii after the Sentry, and the middle tier stays and plays against the rookies. I guess that cost of flying to Hawaii matters even for the PGA Tour. Fly commercial and it’s a two-week trip to maximize earnings, fly private and you’re off after Maui!

Those Sony winners have a very specific skill set. Remember, Waialae CC is predictable. The last 10 winners have gained an average of six strokes on the field with their flatstick. Much like Kapalua, putting is important on the Bermudagrass greens of Waialae. The second skill is the ability to gain with your iron game, but I prefer strokes gained on the par-4s. This composite analytic measures approach and a player’s ability to keep the ball in play off the tee.

The last five winners have gained an average of nine strokes on the par-4s. Seven of the 12 par 4s measure over 440 yards. Separating yourself on these holes is a decided edge. The basic blueprint for success is to hit your target off the tee and the green. Capitalize on those birdie chances and produce 20-plus birdies over four days. Just remember, 75% in the field is capable of doing that.

Pay attention to those strokes-gained statistics. Before you pick a winner, please consider the trends I have mentioned as well. Experience counts around these parts and plays a very important role in cashing tickets.

Read The Line is the leading golf betting insights service led by 5-time award winning PGA Professional Keith Stewart. Read The Line covers the LPGA and PGA Tour, raising your golf betting acumen week after week. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter and follow us on social media: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter

Select Odds to Win at SI Sportsbook

Ludvig Aberg +1600

Matt Fitzpatrick +1600

Russell Henley +1800

Tyrrell Hatton +1800

Brian Harman +2000

Corey Conners +2500

Chris Kirk +2800

Eric Cole +3000

Harris English +3000

J.T. Poston +3000

Sahith Theegala +3000

Denny McCarthy +3300

Byeong Hun An +3500

Si Woo Kim +3500

Adam Svensson +4000

Brendon Todd +4000

Justin Rose +4000

Andrew Putnam +4500

Hideki Matsuyama +4500

Will Zalatoris +4500

Adam Hadwin +5000

Akshay Bhatia +5000

Cam Davis +5000

Keegan Bradley +5000

Matt Kuchar +5000