Cameron Smith set a new PGA Tour record last weekend, shooting 34-under-par to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He’ll now aim for back-to-back wins in Hawaii as he comes into the Sony Open as the clear favorite.
FanDuel Sportsbook lists Smith as the +850 pick to win the Sony Open, well ahead of anyone else in the field.
Calm winds allow for record scores
Smith has already seen success at the Sony Open. He won the tournament in 2020, beating Brendan Steele in a playoff. The Australian now holds the rare Hawaiian double, as only five other golfers have won both the Sony Open and the Tournament of Champions during their careers.
“Mate, it was intense,” Smith said after his victory on Sunday. “It was pretty crazy. I felt like I needed to make a birdie to kind of keep up with [Jon Rahm] or stay in front.”
Smith beat out Rahm by just one shot to win the Tournament of Champions. Both players surpassed the previous PGA Tour tournament record for under-par scoring. Ernie Els held that mark for over 20 years for his 31-under-par score at Kapalua in 2003.
“This golf course only has one defense and that’s the wind,” Rahm told reporters. “If people are shooting between 20- and 26-under with 20-mile-per-hour winds, what do you expect us to do when there’s absolutely no wind?”
It would be unrealistic to expect Smith to repeat that performance in the Sony Open. But the combination of his red-hot form and previous success in the event has made him the clear man to beat this weekend.
Smith: Australians love Hawaii, Sony Open
Smith says that the Hawaiian tournaments seem to suit him and other Australians on tour.
“I think there’s a lot that reminds us of home,” Smith told reporters. “The grass we play off is very similar to where I grew up, maybe not a couple of other guys. But I think Aussies play well when we’re relaxed, and we’re all relaxed here in Hawaii.”
There are plenty of contenders ready to spoil Smith’s run of good form. Chief among them may be Webb Simpson, who will make his 2022 debut this weekend. FanDuel lists Simpson – who finished in the top four in his last three Sony Open starts – as the joint second choice alongside Marc Leishman at +1500.
|Sony Open Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Cameron Smith: +850|
|Webb Simpson: +1500|
|Marc Leishman: +1500|
|Sungjae Im: +1700|
|Hideki Matsuyama: +1700|
|Corey Conners: +2100|
|Kevin Na: +2900|
After winning twice in 2020, Simpson went without a title on tour last year. Simpson dealt with COVID-19, injuries, and even a long bout with the flu during what turned into a disappointing season.
“2021 was a frustrating year for me both physically and [in] golf performance,” Simpson told reporters. “It was a letdown year, I guess. I have a lot of sympathy for guys who have gone through injury because I had never gone through an injury and it really messes with you for a while.”
Simpson says he’s ready to bounce back, and that the Sony Open is the perfect place to do it.
“I love it here,” It is a golf course that if I put top five favorite courses for me and my game, this would be one of them.”