The PGA Course Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Trends Tool and metrics to highlight stats for the upcoming tournament.

The first full-field cut event of 2020 is on tap this week for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Let’s dive in.

The Course

As always, I back-tested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out those that have been the most valuable at Waialae CC. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).

Historically, this course has yielded averages of 57.11 DraftKings points and a +9.31 Plus/Minus with a 56.5% Consistency Rating to the field.

Metrics that tested with at least a +2.00 Plus/Minus:

  • Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +5.60
  • Long-Term Birdies: +4.03
  • Long-Term Putts Per Round: +4.03
  • Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +2.75
  • Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +2.75
  • Course Adjusted Round Score: +2.73
  • Long-Term Missed Cuts: +2.03

Similar to last week, I left off any recent form in the backtesting because the season just started. One thing that’s worth noting is that seven of the last eight winners at the Sony Open had played at Kapalua the week before.

With only two par 5s on the course, Waialae checks in as a par 70 and 7,044 yards in length. Last week we gave an edge to bombers and threw accuracy out the window, but that may be a different story this week. Driving accuracy should have more of an emphasis this week as it was the fourth-highest metric in our database. And per Fantasy National, golfers have historically hit around 52% of fairways here, compared to 61% at an average PGA event. The PGA Tour site also has a bunch of accuracy metrics.

It’s not surprising to see par-4 scoring rate out as the top metric since they make up 66% of the holes. Par-4 scoring will be one of the metrics I give significant weight to. I won’t completely discount par 5s since we still want our golfers to be able to capitalize on those easy birdie holes. Both par 5s at this course have birdie rates above 50%, per Fantasy National.

Overall, this week seems pretty straightforward. Target guys who have strong approach games, especially on par 4s, and guys who can find the short grass off the tee. One player that stands out the most in this regard is Collin Morikawa. Over the last 75 weeks, Morikawa has hit 72.6% of greens in regulation (GIR), 71% of fairways, and he leads the field with -4.0 adjusted strokes on par 4s.

Key metrics: Par-4 scoring, birdie or better scoring, driving accuracy, fairways gained, Strokes Gained: Approach

And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.

Pictured above: Collin Morikawa

CreditHarry How/Getty Images