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Sony Open 2014 golf tips, picks, breakdown and trading guide

We are hanging around in Hawaii for week six of the 2013/14 golf calender season but we couldn't have a more contrasting venue from Kapalua to disect as the Sony Open 2014 returns to Waialae Country Club. About the only similarity to the HTOC last week is the coastal winds that players will again have to cope with.

A look down previous leaderboards shows a diverse mix of experienced players and rookies/ graduates fresh and eager from the Web.com Tour. Russell Henley fell into the latter category in 2012 and a putting masterclass on grainy greens was what got him over the line to claim victory at last year's Sony Open....


Nicspicks' Sony Open man to beat: Zach Johnson 11/1

Sony Open Market #negatives (markedly underpriced IMO) Charles Howell 20/1, Harris English 22/1, Tim Clark 20/1, B De Jonge 40/1

Likely to be tipped up/backed in: Charles Howell, Brian Gay 50/1, Brian Stuard 80/1


The course:

Waialae Country Club; length 7,044yds; par 70

Key features: Tight, dog-legged, Palm tree-lined track. Sticky, penal rough. Small, grainy greens.

Premium on: accuracy, course management, GIR and scrambling/ putting.

Note: Scoring will depend on the wind but birdies are generally there to be made.

Sony Open shortlist (latest form last)

Follow me on Twitter @nicspicks for more insight and in running views

Matt Kuchar 16/1

Course form: mc-5-5; current form: 7-2-4-3-6

Key stats: consistently near the top of the scoring av. and scrambling stats. Hot putter.

Other: Almost never go as low as 16s but before Johnson's performance last night I had him as the man to beat here. Adam Scott teeing it up has put value in Kuchar's price IMO. Bounced back from a poor Saturday at Kapalua with a closing -6

Weekly golf tipster challenge, win a £100 free bet

Tim Clark 22/1 (pre odds)

Course form: 12-25-2-2; current form: 31-2-36

Key stats: (2013) Driving accuracy: 5th; approaches from 100-125yds: 9th

Positives: Excellent wedge game. Has hit regular low rounds on the Waialae track.


Brian Gay 50/1

Course form: 5-25-13-6-31; Current form: 46-4-45-13

Key stats: (2014) 4th in DA, (2013) 5th in putting from 5-15', 15th in approaches 100-125yds

Other: Held the low round outright at Kapalua (-8) on course that doesn't suit. Worked on his putting Friday night and found his touch again.


Michael Thompson 100/1

Course form: mc-6-mc (par,par); Current form: 35-4-45-mc-16

Other: Very focused last week and happy with his game. Can be streaky with the putter and big price relative to the field given a solid performance at Kapalua where he led after R1.

He said: "I'm visualising my shots well"


John Rollins 100/1

Course form: 20-8-10-20 Current form: 77-32-mc

Key stats: n/a

Other: One of the best total drivers of the ball in the game when on. Can go low and often starts fast. Good early season form last two years.

He said: "Getting ready to board so we can kick the year off at the @SonyOpenHawaii. Looking forward to a great week in paradise. #aloha"


Vijay Singh

Course form: 52-mc-46-20 Current form: 2-23-mc-25

Key stats: (2014) Ball striking 11th; GIR% 4th;

Other: mid distance putting has taken a step up in the 2014 events so far and he's hit 9/14 rounds in the sixties. Went 10-1-6 at Waialae during the peak of his powers.


Jerry Kelly 150/1

Course form: 3-23-wd-8-29-mc Current form: 19-wd-mc

Key stats: (2013) Led the tour in driving accuracy

Other: Played some good stuff at back end of 2013. Went 1-4-5 here in 02-04 and closed out the Franklin Templeton shootout well with Stricker.

Others On the shortlist but missed the cut: Ishikawa, Sabbatini, Stuard, Pettersson, Allenby

Sony Open finalised EW staking plan
1.5u ew M.Kuchar @ 16/1 (Coral)
3u Brian Gay top 10 @ 9/2 (general)
0.5u ew M. Thompson @ 100/1 (BetVic, Spreadex)
0.5u Vijay singh @ 100/1 (paddy 6 places)
2u J. Kelly top 10 @ 11/1 (SJ)
0.5u ew John Rollins 1st round leader @ 100/1 (general)


Trading Zone See the Sony Open betfair market here

Potential Pre tournament Steamer: Brian Gay

#Backtolay pointer: dutch Kuchar 16.0 and Zach Johnson 12.5 for 5 units. Lay back 5 units if either hit 4.0 and exit between holes 54-64 if possible.

Long odds eye catchers: Ryo Ishikawa 85.0, Vijay Singh 130.0, Jerry Kelly 150.0, - lay targets 12.0 - 16.0 (prices will rise before Thursday)

Golf Player Profiles



Please note that player attribute ratings are derived from the official PGA Tour and European Tour golf stats, and updated with a rolling average each golf betting year for precision.


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 increasingly popular annual course fit profiling manual and #1 golf betting book Angles & Edges and runs the Sharp Sports Bettors Blog.

What is expected Strokes Gained Course Fit ?

Bryan also 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. For example: Sam Horsfield at Celtic Manor vs TPC Southwind. This number will also portray ability level in terms of strokes gained total. Click "find out more" under the course fit golf betting model for info.

Golf Betting Tips Model

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My course fit profiling model for golf betting tips uses highly evolved golf nuance and betting intuition, precise parameters and inputs based on Bayesian analysis, plus years of empirical evidence through observing, betting and documenting golf and stats... find out more

What is Progressive Form in Golf Betting?

Progressive form in golf betting differs from current form in that players are showing a trend in the right direction in their recent scoring. Trending form has a high predictive value in golf betting and can also catch players under the radar at an inflated price vs their true betting odds. For example - a player shows form of T40 - 24 - 24, but last week he was in the leading PGA Tour group on Sunday with Tiger Woods and had a bad round due to nerves. His finishing position may not fully capture his actual form... See more with our calculators and betting tools

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To check the latest player finishing positions for golf betting tips see the official world golf rankings and search/click a golfer. Input these numbers into the interactive golf model above, following the guide.

Winning Golf Betting Tips:


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Ross McGowan 400/80 to 1 (place), Tony Finau 50/1, Cam Champ 125/1, Cam Davis 125/1, Matt Jones 80/1 and FRL, Max Homa 60/1, Dean Burmester 55/1, Sam Burns 80/1, KH Lee 200/1, Sergio Garcia 70/1 (FRL), Thorbjorn Olesen 45/1 (FRL), Stewart Cink 150/1, Lucas Herbert 175/1 and 60/1

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