2017 Sony Open Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Following Justin Thomas’ triumph at last week’s SBS Tournament of Champions on Maui, onward to Oahu we go for this week’s Sony Open.  One might think that because it’s another Hawaii tourney that the courses and landscape are similar; however, one would be quite wrong.

Host course for the Sony Open is Waialae Country Club, which in comparison to last week’s Kapalua Plantation track is pretty much a polar opposite, as instead of massively wide fairways and heavily undulating terrain, Waialae is a twisty, windy, quirky and “dogleggy” 7,044 yards, which is 400 yards shorter than last week.

Specifically on the “dogleggy” label, Waialae is one of the few remaining courses on the PGA Tour circuit where excessive distance off the tee actually can be a negative, as blasting shots through corners of doglegs and continually short-siding oneself will lead to a weekend off.  Bomb and gouge, think not.  Precision, accuracy and being able to work the ball both ways off the tee is the ticket to success here.  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.

My picks last week at the SBS Tournament of Champions were looking mighty stellar, as all 3–Jason Day, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner— were in serious contention past the halfway point, only to stumble as the weekend went on.  I did spot on nail my Hosel-Rocket BUST pick of the week on Billy Hurley III, as he finished near DFL (29th out of 32).

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Day t-12th)

Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker
– Just because he faded over the weekend last week at Kaplua doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly in bad form.  Remember folks, we’re still in Hawaii and despite the vast contrast in courses (as listed above), he thrives at both joints.  Two-time champ here at Waialae and a t-13th last year.  Yep, loving me some Mr 42-inch driver this week.

(same “don’t fade him just because he faded on the weekend” thought goes for Jason Dufner this week as well btw).

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Walker t-9th)

Zac Blair
Zac Blair
– The cheeky 26-year-old has amassed quite the record here thus far in his young career, going t-6th, 3rd in his only two starts on the track, including last year when he opened 65-65-64.  He’s still Zac Blair, a guy whose putting stroke I’d only describe as “squirty” so I don’t have the highest of expectations for him this week, but with that kind of course history it’s hard to go wrong. #squirty

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Hurley III 29th)

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas
– After finally notching his first domestic victory of his PGA Tour career last week, JT will undoubtedly still be in celebration mode.  He’s red hot right now, but I’m all aboard the fade train on JT this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Dufner 21st)

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
– I’ve been waiting for this young Aussie pup to breakout for a while now and 2017 very well could be the year.  With a full PGA Tour season under his belt he’ll no doubt have more trust in his game with familiar surroundings.  Cam made all 4 of his cuts in the fall portion of the Tour calendar, including a t-11th at the Sanderson Farms and a t-10th in Vegas.  He also notched a t-2nd and t-15th in Australia during the time between then and now so yeah, good form and big future upside = time to become familiar with Cameron Smith.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

 

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