2013 Sony Open Picks

Almost a great start to 2013 when we eventually got underway at the Hyundai last week. 1st round leader pick Gainey was T1 with two holes to go before a triple on his 17th! He also finished just outside the top four. Dustin Johnson was advised as a trade on my Twitter and hopefully some of you took a nice profit on him.

We move onto a completely different tournament now in the shape of the Sony Open. Wind will again be a big factor but that's about the only similarity to the season opening event. Waialea CC plays host and the track stretches only 7,044 yards, featuring tight dog-legged fairways and small tricky / grainy greens. Accuracy and positioning will be key with rough generally thick and penal. Look for those with course experience to feature strongly.

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Pick #1: 1.5 units ew Carl Pettersson @ 20/1(general) may prove to be this week's one to beat despite the presence of some big names at the top of the market. A nice warm up by Pettersson at Kapalua with a -7 total over three rounds and he has course form that boasts two top fives here in the last three years. Carl won the Heritage in style last year with a fine display of ball striking and also took down the RBC Canadian Open in 2010 on a similar track so venues such as Waialea obviously suit his eye.

pick #2: 1 unit ew Jonas Blixt @ 40/1(general) Sticking with the Swedes at this week's Sony Open, Jonas Blixt could be found playing a practice round in the high winds at Kapalua during the delay. He's obviously looking to start the season with a bang and carry on where he left off last year after recording his maiden win on tour. Blixt ranked 2nd in strokes gained putting in 2012 and on the small tricky greens, the flat stick should give him an advantage on many of the field.

Pick #3: 1 unit ew John Huh at 50/1 (general) 2012 Rookie of the year Huh is a perfect fit for the Sony Open Waialea track. Ranked 11th in driving accuracy, the American tends to excel on the shorter tight courses. Huh posted rounds of 72-65-70-71 at the 2012 Sony Open en route to a 53rd place finish. He will be much better equipped in his second season to tackle the Waialea test and looks a decent value price v the field.

Pick #4: 0.75 units ew Harris English is another in the mould of Huh this week. Also now in his second season on Tour, English finished 67th here in 2012 after a poor final day 75. The solid ball striker (ranked 19th in 2012) sits 31st in total driving and 30th in GIR% and I can see him winning at a big price this year - why not this week!

Pick #5: 0.75 units ew Mark Wilson @ 66/1 (general) The 2011 Sony Open winner is another that fits the criteria for the trackin question. After a nice warm up for Wilson at Kapalua with an 11th place finish on a course that didn't suit, his game looks in decent shape at the beginning of the season. Indeed, all Wilson's victories have come in the first quarter of the year and that's always a trend worth noting. Wilson ranked 13th on tour for driving accuracy in 2012.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks for more tips and interaction

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Bryan Nicholson is the pioneer of the progressive form and course fit ratings for golf betting, with the associated progressive form model and course fit profiling model. Bryan is the author of the annual course fit profiling manual and #1 golf betting book Angles & Edges.

What is expected Strokes Gained Course Fit ?

Bryan pioneered the concept of Expected Strokes Gained Course Fit (xSGF) in golf betting. xSGF can be predicted using my model below. For prospective golf betting tips it projects ahead of time how many shots a player is expected to pick up per round on average on a particular golf course. It's weighed against a neutral golf course of the same rating.

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