GOLF

Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Sony Open in Hawaii

With distance not a prerequisite for success at Waialae, how does the field shape up for the Sony Open?

By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel's daily fantasy golf offering.

Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week. It's a great balance between time to research and time spent tracking your team.

But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.

Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.

Key Stats

Key Stats for the Sony Open in Hawaii
at Waialae Country Club
Driving Accuracy
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Putting (on Bermuda)
Birdie or Better Rate
Strokes Gained: Around the Green


We can see from datagolf.com that this course doesn't require driving distance, and it actually shows that strokes gained: around the green has a significantly higher relative importance at this course than elsewhere on the PGA Tour. The most similar course to this one, statistically, is Harbour Town Golf Links, for some context.

Last year, the winning score was just 11-under par in windy conditions, but in six years prior, no winner was worse than 17-under, and four of those six winners were 20-under or lower.

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out our course primer from Mike Rodden.

All strokes gained stats listed below come from datagolf, are adjusted for field strength, and date back to the start of 2020. Other stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds when possible, unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Webb Simpson (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +1200) - Any time we can roster Webb Simpson at a course where driving distance is not a requirement, we should be interested. When driving accuracy actively shows up as important, then we should again take note. Simpson ranks in the 93rd percentile or better among this field in adjusted strokes gained: approach, around the green, and putting since the start of 2020, and he's in the 83rd percentile in fairways gained. Simpson is a 99th-percentile Bermuda putter, too. Webb has finished top-20 in all six of his past six starts at Waialae, including two top-5 finishes in two tries in 2018 and 2020.

Sungjae Im ($11,200 | +2000) - Im always gets boosted on Bermuda courses, where the majority of his top finishes have come during his career. He's a 91st-percentile Bermuda putter over a 96-round sample and really benefits from a de-emphasis on distance in favor of accuracy. He's played here in each of the past two years and finished 16th and 21st while gaining 4.6 and 3.4 strokes off the tee. He also played last week at the Tournament of Champions and finished top-five in his debut at Kapalua, so we can think that he's dialed in out in Hawaii already.

Others to Consider:
Daniel Berger ($11,400 | +1800) - No red flags in his profile at all: 93rd-percentile putting and tee-to-green player and 76th-percentile Bermuda putter; five straight made cuts at Waialae.
Russell Henley ($10,400 | + 3100) - The field leader in long-term adjusted strokes gained: approach and a baseline Bermuda putter who is accurate rather than long.
Kevin Kisner ($10,600 | +3100) - Three top-fives over his past five starts at Waialae and a fairway finder who putts well on Bermuda (97th percentile).

Mid-Range Picks

Brendon Todd ($9,800 | +4500) - Todd's one of the golfers we have an obvious checklist for: accuracy (and Bermuda) courses. Todd ranks in the 99th percentile in driving accuracy but is down in the 1st percentile in driving distance, so yeah, it matters for him what's required with the disco stick in a given week. Todd ranks in the 48th percentile in approach but is a good birdie-maker despite that. He has made five of six cuts at Waialae since 2009 and was 13th last week at the distance-heavy Kapalua course.

Talor Gooch ($9,300 | +8000) - Gooch finds himself between the 57th and 73rd percentile in all three tee-to-green stats and is around field average at hitting fairways and putting on Bermuda. We haven't seen him since the RSM, when he missed the cut, but that was while actually gaining 0.3 strokes on the field average. Prior to that, he had two top fives because of good ball-striking.

Others to Consider:
Sebastian Munoz ($9,700 | +4500) - Never a bad option when the salary is right because he does everything decently well despite not excelling at anything; best on Bermuda.
Jason Kokrak ($9,600 | +4500) - Chipping isn't flawless by any means, but he's long and pretty straight as one of the best ball-strikers in the field.
Matthew NeSmith ($9,000 | +9000) - Is in the 92nd percentile in approach and 80th percentile putting on Bermuda while being a solid driver.

Low-Salaried Picks

Tom Hoge ($8,900 | +10000) - We've seen some high-end finishes from Hoge at Waialae in recent years, namely a 3rd in 2018 and a 12th in 2020 with a missed cut in between. He's gained at least 1.4 strokes from approach in four straight at this course. Hoge ranks in the 87th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: approach and is in the 58th percentile in fairways gained. He's not particularly good as a putter on any surface, but that's the risk we take -- nobody below $9,000 is flawless.

Mackenzie Hughes ($8,900 | +7000) - Hughes is the inverse of Hoge: he's an elite putter (94th percentile since 2020 and 70th in Bermuda putting) but has red flags as a ball-striker (22nd-percentile off-the-tee play and 18th-percentile approach play). Hughes also isn't even an accurate driver (15th percentile). But down here, we've got a lack of strong options, and the betting market likes him relative to the salary.

Others to Consider:
James Hahn ($8,700 | +13000) - Has three top-10s since September and a runner-up at the Sony in 2018; a balanced stats profile overall.
Henrik Norlander ($8,500 | +13000) - Is a 94th-percentile fairway finder and 81st-percentile Bermuda putter plus 79th-percentile iron player. Pretty elite value profile but six missed cuts in his past eight starts.