The PGA Tour touches down in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open, which is being held at the Waiʻalae Country Club in Honolulu. Unlike last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, this will be a full field event, which means we have to keep likelihood to make the cut in mind while building out our lineups on FanDuel.
The oddsmakers have a clear favorite for the Sony Open, and he just so happens to be a prior winner of the event. Here are this week’s five top contenders according to the odds for your reference.
- Justin Thomas, +650
- Bryson DeChambeau, +1000
- Gary Woodland, +1400
- Jordan Spieth, +1400
- Marc Leishman, +1800
Naturally, each one of those choices are going to cost you top dollar, but we have plenty of intriguing value plays to help balance things out. Course and event history is always a solid way to find some potential diamonds in the rough. Here are the last three winners of the Sony Open.
- 2018: Patton Kizzire
- 2017: Justin Thomas
- 2016: Fabian Gomez
As always, there are plenty of different strategies we can employ for our weekly lineups. Of course, we’ll be looking to fit in as many of the week’s top plays as possible, but the salary cap forces us to balance that out with both mid-range and value plays.
Here are our favorite plays of the week for each category, starting with the top dogs.
Cream of the Crop
Justin Thomas – $12,300
- Odds to win: +650
- Odds to Top 10: -160
The favorite for this week’s tournament is going to cost you, but Justin Thomas could be well worth the investment. The #4 player in the world shot 18 under at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, which was good enough to take down 3rd place. The field is more crowded this time around, but we still expect to see Thomas hovering around the upper tier of the leaderboard all weekend.
His history at this tournament is exemplary, taking it down in 2017 and following that up with a 14th place finish last year. Thomas will be very popular this week, but don’t let that scare you away. He makes for an excellent anchor for this week’s lineups.
Gary Woodland – $12,000
- Odds to win: +1400
- Odds to Top 10: +120
Speaking of golfers with an excellent track record at the Sony Open, Gary Woodland has an equally impressive recent run of success at this event. He has finished in the Top 10 in three of the past four years. The fourth appearance over that timeframe wasn’t too shabby either, as Woodland checked in at 13th in 2016.
Woodland was also exceptional at last week’s tournament, shooting 22 under to come in 2nd, just one stroke behind winner Xander Schauffele. Oddsmakers are sold on his chances as well, as Woodland is one of the top choices to have another Top 10 finish this week. He’s number three on the salary chart, but he’s another pricey play who looks like a wise investment.
Cameron Champ – $11,600
- Odds to win: +2500
- Odds to Top 10: +250
There is a ton of buzz surrounding rookie Cameron Champ, and it’s not too hard to understand why. In the aftermath of his last five outings, Champ is able to include a win and a trio of Top 15 finishes on his glowing resume. While playing with a number of the world’s top golfers at the Sentry, Champ was unfazed as he came in tied for 11th place.
The shiny new toy on the PGA Tour will likely attract a ton of interest for DFS purposes. Oddsmakers are giving the youngster plenty of respect, but there’s naturally no guarantee that his hot start will continue. He could hit the proverbial wall before too long, but we’ll see if he can keep it rolling for another week at least.
Marc Leishman – $10,900
- Odds to win: +1800
- Odds to Top 10: +160
If you’re in the market for a player with great odds that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, then look no further than Marc Leishman. He checks in with the fifth-best odds to win the Sony Open, but he’s only the ninth-most expensive golfer on FanDuel. It’s a slight pricing inefficiency by the salary makers that we won’t be shy about taking advantage of.
Leishman was solid last week while finishing 4th at Sentry, but he hasn’t had a ton of success at the Sony. He’s made the cut for the last five years, but his best finishes were 20th in 2017 and 5th in 2014. Last year, he finished in 47th. We’ll see if he can do better this time around, but we can be confident that Leishman will be playing all four days regardless.
Emiliano Grillo – $9,900
- Odds to win: +3300
- Odds to Top 10: +400
At the sub-$10k level, Emiliano Grillo is one of the top choices to make some noise this week according to the oddsmakers. He didn’t partake in the festivities at last week’s tournament, but he’s on a solid run over his last five outings.
Grillo has made the cut each time, binked a 2nd place finish at the CIMB Classic back in October, and has two other Top 15 finishes over that span. He’s averaging 88.3 fantasy points over the last five, a number he has exceeded twice. Somewhere in that neighborhood will do us just fine at this price point.
Keegan Bradley – $9,800
- Odds to win: +4000
- Odds to Top 10: +450
Keegan Bradley is getting some respect from oddsmakers in spite of a challenging showing at the Sentry. He finished even-par for the weekend, which left him in a tie for 27th place. However, his last three tourneys went much better, as he finished in the Top 20 each time.
At last year’s Sony, he came in 39th place – not stellar, but he at least delivered four days worth of production. His current average of 86.6 fantasy points over his last four would be a solid return on investment. There’s some risk here, but Bradley could be in line for a bounce back.
Patton Kizzire – $8,800
- Odds to win: +4000
- Odds to Top 10: +450
Patton Kizzire is the defending Sony Open champion, and he enters this week after a solid 8th place showing at the Sentry. He has hit the Top 25 in three of his last five, and made the cut for each of those outings. His average of 81 fantasy points is skewed by a poor fantasy showing at October’s World Golf Championship, where he delivered a dismal 28.5.
Removing that score from the equation, he has a floor of 89.2 and a ceiling of 102.8 for his other four recent appearances. He may attract some DFS attention due to last year’s win, but we like Kizzire as a solid mid-range play regardless.
James Hahn – $8,000
- Odds to win: +8000
- Odds to Top 10: +800
James Hahn was last year’s 2nd place finisher at the Sony, and he has a pair of Top 30 finishes in his last two outings. He has delivered on the fantasy front as well, averaging 71 points over his last five. Oddsmakers aren’t sold on his prospects for this year’s Sony, so that opens up some potential value for us to take advantage of.
He has made the cut for each of his five appearances at this tournament, and there’s no glaring reason he can’t turn the same trick again. Hahn is unlikely to find his name among the leaders this weekend, but a Top 25 finish and a solid fantasy outing will do us just fine.
Value Plays to Consider
Adam Schenk – $7,900
- Odds to win: +15000
- Odds to Top 10: +1600
The pickings are slim under $8k, so that naturally opens up some risk when we go bargain shopping. Finding a golfer with decent recent form and a good cut history is a good way to narrow the field, and that leads us to Adam Schenk.
He’s averaging 82.1 points over his last five while making the cut four times. He came in 39th at last year’s Sony, so we can’t expect him to set the course on fire. However, we’ll take an 80+ point fantasy outing at this price point all day.
Robert Streb – $7,800
- Odds to win: +12500
- Odds to Top 10: +1000
If we decide to let the oddsmakers do the work and help us narrow the field of sub-$8k plays substantially, then we find that Robert Streb is their top choice in this salary range of golfers. That gets our attention, but be forewarned that there’s some risk here.
Streb has only made the cut in three of his last five events, and just three of the last four at the Sony. His best showing at the event was a 17th in 2015, but he finished a horrendous 107th last year. This is not a choice for the faint of heart, but Streb can provide the salary savings you need with some upside to boot.
Ben Martin – $7,600
- Odds to win: +8000
- Odds to Top 10: +700
We simply have to accept some risk in this tier of golfers, and that’s what we would be doing by selecting Ben Martin. He has been out since last June’s Travelers Championship, but he’ll be in the field for the Sony.
Martin wasn’t exactly shooting the lights out before missing time, but perhaps the extended absence will inspire a better performance. His odds aren’t terrible for a sub-$8k golfer, so we could do much worse if we’re looking for a dart throw. There’s too much risk here for the single lineup crowd, but those who roll with multiple lineups can consider Martin for their player pool.
Brian Stuard – $7,300
- Odds to win: +10000
- Odds to Top 10: +1000
Down near the bottom of the salary scale we find Brian Stuard, who has a pretty solid history at this tour stop. He tied for 4th place last year, and also has a 6th place finish in 2014 on his resume. Martin has made the cut in two of his other three recent appearances here.
The risk here comes down to recent form, as Stuard hasn’t made the cut his last four times out. Will a course on which he’s had success inspire a better outing this time? Time will tell, but Stuard is an intriguing bargain bin play that deserves some consideration.