2019 Sony Open in Hawaii DraftKings daily fantasy golf picks
Fantasy Golf & Golf Betting Forebucks PGA Tour

2019 Sony Open in Hawaii DraftKings daily fantasy golf picks

Each week, including this week’s 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii, Golf News Net offers daily fantasy (DFS) golf advice, picks, lineups and tips for DraftKings PGA Tour games, scrutinizing the pricing model and looking for players who will perform best in both guaranteed prize pool (GPP) events and cash games.

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  • PGA Tour top-15 finish trends
  • Player-course fit modeling
  • Strokes gained putting by grass type
  • Strokes gained by course length
  • Strokes gained by course par
  • Course demands breakdown
  • Quality Strokes Gained data

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2019 Sony Open in Hawaii preview

The PGA Tour puts on its first full-field event of the year this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Honolulu’s Waialae Country Club welcomes a 144-player field to go low on the Seth Raynor classic.

In the past, this has been a tournament where players who compete the week prior tend to win. Six of the last seven Sony Open winners competed in the Tournament of Champions immediately preceding it. That said, there are plenty of solid horse-for-course picks who weren’t at Kapalua, and they should be on your consideration list this week.

2019 Sony Open in Hawaii DraftKings picks

Each week, we’ll offer players in 3-5 buckets of pricing so as to offer some mix-and-matching with your lineups based on our recommendations.

Finish Trends

Recent PGA Tour Trends

We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual PGA Tour events.

  • Cameron Champ – 4 – WIN Sanderson Farms, T-10 OHL Classic, T-6 RSM Classic, T-11 Tournament of Champions
  • Bryson DeChambeau – 2 – WIN Shriners Open, 7th Tournament of Champions
  • Emiliano Grillo – 2 – T-14 WGC HSBC Champions, T-15 OHL Classic
  • Charles Howell III – 2 – WIN RSM Classic, T-14 Tournament of Champions
  • Patton Kizzire – 2 – T-15 RSM Classic, T-8 Tournament of Champions
  • Scott Piercy – 2 – T-10 Shriners Open, T-6 OHL Classic
  • Andrew Putnam – 2 – T-4 WGC HSBC Champions, T-14 Touranment of Champions
  • Patrick Rodgers – 2 – T-14 Sanderson Farms, P-2 RSM Classic
  • Gary Woodland – 2 – T-10 Shriners Open, 2nd Tournament of Champions

Event Finish History

We like to look for potential horses for courses with most PGA Tour events, particularly those with regular host courses. We look at the last five years to see which players finish in the top 15 multiple times in that stetch. This week, we’re looking at top 10 here because of the limited field.

  • Harris English – 2
  • Brian Harman – 3
  • Charles Howell III – 4
  • Zach Johnson – 4
  • Jerry Kelly – 4
  • Kevin Kisner – 2
  • Russell Knox – 3
  • Matt Kuchar – 3
  • Ryan Palmer – 2
  • Scott Piercy – 2
  • Kyle Stanley – 2
  • Brian Stuard – 2
  • Hudson Swafford – 3
  • Justin Thomas – 3
  • Jimmy Walker – 3
  • Gary Woodland – 3

Course Fits

It seems to me the best way to use Strokes Gained data is to give a sense of a course fit. My working theory is a player is a course fit — or a potential course fit, at least — if their Strokes Gained breakout when they finish in the top 25 is similar to the average for top-25 finishers at this week’s event.

Here’s our breakdown:

Putting: 36%
Tee To Green: 64%
Off the Tee: 19%
Approach: 34%
Around the Greens: 21%

Potential course fits include:

  • Daniel Berger
  • Jimmy Walker
  • Hudson Swafford
  • Andrew Putnam
  • Russell Knox
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Marc Leishman
  • Kevin Na

2019 Sony Open in Hawaii DraftKings recommendations

$10,000 and up

We have five players in this group, and I think you can look at JT, Bryson and Woodland if you’re spending in this range. I’d favor JT and Gary with good finish experience here, but Bryson’s OK too.


We have 18 players in this group, and I like a lot of players in this range. I like Cam Smith, Paul Casey, Kevin Kisner, Charles Howell III, Abe Ancer, Kyle Stanley, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar. I wouldn’t object to Russells Henley and Knox.


DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. What a steal Patton Kizzire is at $7,900; he’s on his way forward. Brian Harman is a horse-for-course. I like Poulter here, playing a new event. Scott Piercy, Kevin Tway and Sungjae Im are great picks, too. Patrick Rodgers is coming along well. Jimmy Walker loves this course. Andrew Putnam should be a great, cheap fit. Brian Gay and Jerry Kelly are veterans with amazing track records on this golf course.

Below or at $7,000

We’re looking for bargains in this range, but I think you can stack your team with guys in the $7,000s. However, worth noting world No. 53, Shugo Imahira, is in this range. Kinda silly to be honest.

My primary DraftKings lineup

  1. Paul Casey – $9,100
  2. Charles Howell III – $8,900
  3. Kyle Stanley – $8,700
  4. Matt Kuchar – $8,500
  5. Sungjae Im – $7,500
  6. Brian Gay – $7,300

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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