Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Sony Open

Waialae is a longtime PGA Tour stop. What should you know about it in order to fill your DFS rosters?

The new calendar year offered up a bit of a letdown on the PGA Tour, as Dustin Johnson ran away with the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week. The 54-hole leader wound up winning the 34-man field by eight strokes.

This week, the Tour sticks in Hawaii for the Sony Open at Waialae.

What should you know about this course while building your DFS lineups on FanDuel?

Course and Tournament Info

Waialae is a par 70, so a marked difference from last week's par 73. The longtime stop on tour spans 7,044 yards and has essentially played easier by the year over the past 10 years and grades out as one of the easiest courses the PGA pros will face all year long.

Year Difficulty Rank Course Par Yds Avg Score Avg O/U Par
2017 43 Waialae CC 70 7,044 68.309 -1.691
2016 45 Waialae CC 70 7,044 68.499 -1.501
2015 37 Waialae CC 70 7,044 69.007 -0.993
2014 36 Waialae CC 70 7,044 69.304 -0.696
2013 33 Waialae CC 70 7,044 68.901 -1.099
2012 28 Waialae CC 70 7,044 69.772 -0.228
2011 33 Waialae CC 70 7,044 69.501 -0.499
2010 21 Waialae CC 70 7,044 70.062 0.062
2009 23 Waialae CC 70 7,044 70.136 0.136
2008 28 Waialae CC 70 7,044 70.123 0.123

What's the key to cracking this par 70?

Key Stats

Strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: putting always help identify some of the field's best options, but here are the most important stats to seek this week.

Key Stats for the Sony Open at Waialae
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Birdie or Better Rate
Driving Distance
Par 5 Scoring

This course features difficult-to-hit fairways, and that suggests driving accuracy is at a premium, but that's not something that really bears out in the stats. In fact, if anything, driving distance is favored. You can weight distance a bit, but another option is to focus on strokes gained: off the tee to help identify those who can take advantage of tee shots.

The second shot is also vital, based on the stats, so approach play needs to be on your list this week.

There are only two par 5s, naturally as it's a par 70, but they both offer eagle chances to those who can take advantage. For that reason, bump up strong par 5 scorers this week.

Course History Studs

With such a long course and deep field, there are plenty of course history standouts.

Charles Howell III has played Waialae 15 times, including 10 top 25s and 8 top 10s. His past three results read: 3rd in 2013, 8th, 26th, 13th, and 8th last year. Howell paces the pack with his number of top 10s.

Jerry Kelly, Rory Sabbatini, and Vijay Singh have 14 tries here. Kelly has seven top 10s to 3 for both Sabbatini and Singh.

If we narrow the scope to the past 10 years, there are six golfers in this field with perfect attendance: Sabbatini, Howell, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Na, and K.J. Choi. Other than Howell (eight) and Kelly (seven), ZJ's four top 10s are the only number north of three since 2003.

Among those with strong recent form, there's Gary Woodland (3rd in 2015, 13th in 2016, and 6th last year), Webb Simpson (20th in 2013, 13th in 2015, 2016, and 2017), Jimmy Walker (wins in 2014 and 2015, 13th in 2016, and cut last year), Hudson Swafford (8th, cut, 9th, and 13th since 2014), Harris English (9th, 4th, 3rd, 56th, cut), Brian Harman (cut, 32nd, 13th, 13th, 20th), and Justin Thomas (6th in 2015, cut in 2016, and a win last year).

The field features eight former winners, starting from last year, over the past 10 iterations: Justin Thomas, Fabian Gomez, Jimmy Walker (in 2014 and 2015), Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, Ryan Palmer, Zach Johnson, and K.J. Choi.