This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae Country Club - Par 70 - 7,044 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $7.5M
The PGA Tour began its 2022 calendar year with a birdie-fest for the ages at Kapalua's Plantation Course, culminating with a 34-under winning effort from Cameron Smith as he rattled off four consecutive rounds of 65 or better in the record-breaking performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Traveling about 75 miles even further west this week, Waialae Country Club invites a full field of 144 entrants for the second leg of the Hawaiian Swing.
The par-70 layout features only a pair of par-5s, but scoring should remain on the easier side despite a lack of top-tier talent in attendance this week at the Sony Open compared to the aforementioned TOC. Waialae certainly contrasts from Kapalua in off-the-tee strategy, however, as the former requires much more precision as players often take less than driver when plotting around the course, especially with the rough being slightly grown out for this year's edition. It's hard to ask for a much better weather forecast in Honolulu, so keep those alerts on for a potential 59-watch at some point.
Key Stats to Victory
Proximity: 125-200 yards
SG: Putting (bermuda)
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Webb Simpson - $46
I wouldn't normally consider investing nearly a quarter of my $200 salary on Simpson, but it might actually be an opportunity to get different on Yahoo as many lineups could include anywhere from one to three of the five quality options listed at $43. Simpson's impressive track record at Waialae confirms his course fit, finishing top-4 in three consecutive trips to Honolulu and top-20 in seven straight appearances dating back to 2013. The last time we saw Simpson, he gained nearly 10 strokes on the field with his approach shots en route to a top-10 performance at the RSM Classic in November.
Corey Conners - $43
The ball-striking guru hasn't lost strokes off the tee since the Genesis Invitational last February, and he's top-10 in both driving accuracy and proximity from 175-200 yards over his last 24 rounds. Generally a poor putter, the Canadian has actually gained 10.9 strokes with the flat stick throughout his past 50 rounds on bermuda greens. Conners placed T12-T3-T39 in his first three Sony Open showings.
Marc Leishman - $38
Hovering around 16-1 to win in the outright market, Leishman probably deserved a $40-plus salary, as he shouldn't be priced below names like Billy Horschel, Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na. The Aussie figures to be a popular selection as a result, and his rostership will be inflated by a Waialae course history that features four top-10s and 12 made cuts in as many appearances. Over his last 24 rounds, Leishman is second in proximity from 150-175 yards and fourth in par-breaker percentage. He hit 63 of 72 greens in regulation and racked up 27 birdies on the way to a T10 finish at the Sentry TOC last week.
Seamus Power - $34
Power has ascended to a career-high 63rd in the Official World Golf Ranking with top-15s in four of five starts dating to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, but an underwhelming Sony Open resume that includes no result better than a T49 might help keep the casual gamer away in this spot. He's now third in Par-4: 400-450 efficiency over his past 50 rounds, which is a key range this week at Waialae CC. Aside from some issues on the greens throughout his final two rounds at Kapalua, Power competed well against strong competition this past week as he ranked T8 in GIR percentage and 13th in SG: Approach.
Joel Dahmen - $28
His short game didn't quite cooperate last week at the Sentry TOC, but Dahmen still managed to average six par-breakers per round on the Plantation Course as he now resides fifth in Birdie-or-Better percentage over his past 24 rounds. Dahmen tied for 12th at the 2020 Sony Open when he finished on the positive side of each SG subcategory, notably gaining 3.8 strokes with the putter.
Matt Jones - $27
If it weren't for Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm, Jones would've set the PGA Tour scoring record last week, as he caught fire over the weekend at Kapalua, tallying scores of 62-61 in Rounds 3 and 4 to finish at 32-under-par and post a solo-third finish. Jones' game was brilliant all-around, as he ranked second in SG: Putting and fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green, amassing 26 birdies and four eagles. He'll hope to maintain this positive momentum at Waialae CC, where he's made the cut in six straight trips since 2013.
Denny McCarthy - $26
It's no shock to see McCarthy pop as the No. 1 putter over his last 50 rounds on bermuda greens, and he gained a collective 9.6 strokes putting across his past two starts alone. The flat-stick wizardry certainly helped him post three consecutive top-15s from the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba to the RSM Classic as he closed out his fall series on a high note.
Keita Nakajima - $25
Perched atop the World Amateur Golf Ranking by a solid margin, Nakajima's success certainly hasn't been limited to just amateur events. He won the Japan Golf Tour's Panasonic Open in a playoff this past September, preceding a top-30 result at the PGA Tour's ZOZO Championship in late October. The 21-year-old's 2021 campaign also included victories at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the Japan Amateur Championship. He's worth consideration for large-field GPPs in his Sony Open debut.
Alex Smalley - $20
Smalley heads into the new year outside the top 300 in the OWGR, but I think the Duke product has what it takes to make a name for himself in 2022 and wouldn't be surprised to witness him compete for a top-70 finish in the FedExCup standings by season's end. Examining his potential fit for Waialae CC, Smalley ranks 35th or better over his last 24 measured rounds in each of the three most common proximity ranges here from 125-150, 150-175 and 175-200 yards. He's also second in bogey avoidance and 18th in par-breaker percentage in this span. Expanding the sample size to 50 rounds, he's 20th in P4: 400-450 efficiency.