Sony Open: Take Thomas to defend title

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The PGA Tour makes the short trip from Kapalua to Honolulu for this week’s Sony Open, the second event of the traditional Hawaii double-header which marks the start of the calendar campaign, writes Phil Casey.

And with world number one and last week’s runaway winner Dustin Johnson absent, that gives the rest of the field a chance to kick-start their season in style.

Jordan Spieth recovered from an opening 75 to finish ninth in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and is a 5/1 favourite, but the first of our Sony Open betting tips is his good friend and defending champion Justin Thomas.

Thomas was also the defending champion in Kapalua and could only finish 22nd in the 34-man field, but that did include a final round of 67 in his first tournament for a month.

After his sensational 2017 Thomas can be forgiven for taking a few rounds to get back into top gear and although he also has to cope without his usual caddie, Phil Mickelson’s former bagman Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay should be a more than adequate replacement.

Thomas started last year’s event with a stunning 59 and went on to break the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record and can be backed at 8/1.

The US PGA champion’s win 12 months ago means 13 of the last 19 Sony Open winners have played the week before and that trend can hopefully continue with our next selection, Si Woo Kim.

Kim struggled with form and fitness after his impressive victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass but ended last season with a tie for third in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and was 10th in Kapalua. The talented Korean, who was also fourth in this event in 2016, can be backed at 45/1.

And finally for our Sony Open betting tips, American Wesley Bryan (pictured) is available at 125/1 to claim his second PGA Tour title on a course with similarities to Harbour Town, where he won the RBC Heritage last year.

Bryan could only finish 27th last week, but should be far better suited to a tighter lay-out in Honolulu.

Best bets for the Sony Open

Justin Thomas @ 8/1

Si Woo Kim @ 45/1

Wesley Bryan @ 125/1

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Andrew works at the Press Association where he oversees all the company’s sport betting editorial, having previously worked on the Teletext Sport desk and been editor of the England cricket team’s website. A lifelong Huddersfield Town fan, his preferred way to unwind is to head for the hills on his bike.

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