2015 Sony Open Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #Dogleggy

Following Patrick “Top 5” Reed’s win at Kapalua last week, the PGA Tour remains in the Aloha state, hop-skip-and-a-jumping over to Oahu for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.  Waialae couldn’t be more different than last week’s venue, as Kapalua and its massively wide fairways and rolling terrain are left behind for the 400 yards shorter (7,044 total) twisty, windy and sometimes quirky Waialae CC.

In fact, dogleggy might be even a better way to describe this week’s venue as it may be one of the few stops on the annual PGA Tour circuit where excessive distance off the tee may actually hurt you—wait a tick, how can extra distance hurt you?  Well, by blasting shots through the corners of doglegs and by continually short-siding oneself, that’s how.  Bomb and gouge, think not.  Precision, accuracy and being able to work the ball both ways off the tee—ah yes.  Just ask those recent past champion pea-shooters David Toms, Paul Goydos, Mark Wilson, Johnson Wager and Russell Henley how important distance off the tee is to their games.  Exactly.

Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Zach Johnson, Russell Henley, Luke Donald and Webb Simpson highlight the field this week.

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Bubba 10th, Hideki t-3rd)

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson
– Straight chalk picking Zach this week, but liked what I saw out of him in the season opener at Kapalua (solo 7th), and sans a 3rd round 73 he would’ve been right there at the end on Monday.  Zach was tops in the field last week in Strokes Gained-Putting and with his superb history here (’09 champ, t-8th last season), makes him a no-brainer pick this week.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama
– Had Hideki as a LOCKZILLA last week and he came thru with a t-3rd finish, so I’m going to keep riding his Asian train while he’s hot, as he packs as much potential as nearly anyone on the Tour at the moment.  Let his 0fer record here as an amateur scare everyone else off (missed all three cuts), I’m ditching that course history and simply riding his potential this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Senden t-25th)

Jerry Kelly
Jerry Kelly
– ‘Ol Jerry has seemingly been just two or three years away from the Champions Tour for about a decade now, but that hasn’t stopped him from consistently reeling in those fat daddy paychecks each season.  The ’02 Sony Open champ has a total of seven top 10s here in his career, including a solo 3rd last year.  Even though it was in November, in his last PGA Tour start he finished solo 5th at Mayakoba, so he’s coming in with some form as well.  Not expecting a win here, but don’t be surprised to see his name lurking on the leaderboard over the weekend.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Henley t-3rd)

Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk
– Sorry folks, but tying a course record with a 62 to finish t-14th in a 33 player field simply doesn’t impress me (pay more attention to the 76, 73 that he slapped his way to on Sat and Sun).  For those who followed my write-ups last season, you’ll know that I’m not a backer whatsoever of the lifelong value of Kirk, I’ve simply never seen a run with more luck and good fortune than what happened during his FedEx Cup Playoff “hot streak” in all of my years watching golf (and yeah folks, I watch A LOT of golf).  Stay away from Kirk this week, and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Streb t-8th)

Marc Leishman
Marc Leishman
– I spot on nailed Marc as my HOSEL-ROCKET BUST of the week several times last summer as his hot streaks seem to predictably come to crashing halts after 5 or 6 straight events.  As for now, I’m calling for the commencement of another hot streak as he’s a perfect fit for the dogleggy, windswept Waialae venue—further proved by his 5 for 5 cuts made record here, including his solo 5th here last season.  He also capped off his fall schedule nicely with a solo 9th at the WGC HSBC tourney in Asia.  Marc Leishman is your DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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