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Playing the Tips

Expert Picks: Sony Open

by Josh Culp
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to Playing the Tips! 

Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our group of fantasy staffers from Rotoworld.com. We’ll have all of our selections from the GolfChannel.com, Yahoo! Fantasy Golf, as well as One-and-Done & DFS recommendations. 


GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf

Sony Open in Hawaii


Ryan O’Sullivan


2016 Earnings: $1,989,000

2016 Rank: 3,033

Group 1: Jimmy Walker

Group 2: Graeme McDowell

Group 3: Charles Howell III

Group 4: Spencer Levin

ANALYSIS: Ryan went with a great mix of course history and recent form. G-Mac should take a quick liking to Waialae CC.  Walker has won each of the past two runnings, and Charles Howell III has eight top 10s in 14 tries at this event. 

Josh Culp


2016 Earnings: $1,484,666

2016 Rank: 8,981

Group 1: Matt Kuchar

Group 2: Ryan Palmer

Group 3: Harris English

Group 4: Steve Stricker

ANALYSIS: Stricker provides the biggest question mark here, but that is acceptable in Group 4. His track record at the Sony Open is very good, with nine top 25s in 13 tries. Let's see if he picks up right where he left off in 2012. 



Mo Yoshimoto


2016 Earnings: $435,833

2016 Rank: 22,727

Group 1: Kevin Kisner 

Group 2: Brandt Snedeker

Group 3: Peter Malnati

Group 4: Tyler Aldridge

ANALYSIS: Mo has decided to go with recent form over course history this week. Kisner is just 1-for-4 at Waialae CC but his recent form is sizzling. Alridge went 4-for-5 during the fall, so he certainly fits the mold of recent form, as well. 

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf

*Make sure you check our Twitter accounts for any updates before the first tee ball flies on Thursday. Tee time pairings and/or weather scenarios can always lead us to change our lineups prior to lock. 
Josh Culp

“Future of Fantasy” 

Last week's points: 213
Ranking: 4,737

Group A

Adam Scott: Class is permanent, and this Aussie has a lot of class. His putter remains a question mark, but his ball-striking is too good to ignore. 

Gary Woodland: I trust Scott in the driver's seat to play all four rounds. So, I chose Woodland as my second pick as I like his chances to finish on the podium better than any of the other options in Group A. 


Keegan Bradley, Chris Kirk, Justin Thomas, Rory Sabbatini, Pat Perez, Brian Harman (A LOT of good options in A this week)


Group B

Harris English: He loves short layouts and Waialae CC certainly fits that bill. The evidence supports this claim with top 10s in each of his last three trips to Honoulu. 

Jimmy Walker: He's the two-time defending champion here. Regardless of his form, you have to pick him this week. 

Ryan Palmer: A past winner (2010) and not afraid to go real low. In a format like Yahoo! that rewards low rounds, I give him a slight boost. 

Webb Simpson: With the long-putter out of the equation, I expect him to bounce back in 2016. Top 20s in each of his past two visits here make the decision a little easier. 


Brandt Snedeker, Jerry Kelly, Charles Howell III, Russell Knox


Group C

Matt Kuchar: Four straight top 10s at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Don't overthink this one. 

Graeme McDowell: Left a sour taste in gamers' mouths last week but this is a perfect course fit for him. A classical, short coastal track.


Daniel Summerhays, Kevin Na


Ryan O’Sullivan (O)

“The Golf Aficionado”

Last week's points: 206
Ranking: 6,402

Group A

Russell Henley

Chris Kirk


Group B
Jimmy Walker

Zach Johnson

Brandt Snedeker

Charles Howell III

Group C

Scott Piercy

Graeme McDowell



Mo Yoshimoto


Last week's points: 154
Ranking: 30,252

Group A

Chris Kirk

Justin Thomas

Group B

Brandt Snedeker

Kevin Kisner

Zach Johnson

Jimmy Walker 

Group C

Peter Malnati

Graeme McDowell 



Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
DraftKings Picks:

Harris English ($10,200): Has posted top 45s in 14 of his last 16 events played on courses under 7,100 yards. Might not sound that impressive until you start looking at other golfers with the same criteria. The Georgia Bulldog likes short layouts. 

Graeme McDowell ($10,100): He was looking like old G-Mac during the fall, but face-planted for gamers last week. One of the easiest moves in DFS is to hop on a decent play immediately after he ruined lineups the week before. 

Ryan Palmer ($8,900): He won here in 2010 and is 7-for-10 overall at the Sony. His experience with the wind (being from Texas) is extra insurance in case the wind picks up here like it often does. 

Gary Woodland ($8,700): Finished T3 here last year after MC's in his first two appearances. The two-time PGA TOUR winner is long overdue for a third. Being part of Team Under Armour means he hangs out a lot with Jordan Spieth. Winning is contagious, so look for Woodland to add another trophy before this year is over. 

Pat Perez ($6,500): A classic course for the horse, he enters with eight top 25s in 14 trips to Waialae CC. 

Stuart Appleby ($5,500): Well beyond his peak years, but Waialae is a classical tracks that is still manageable for the Aussie. With seven top 25s in 14 tries, this is an event he circles on his calendar every year.

Other Picks to Consider

Jerry Kelly ($7,400): A course for the horse. He's been here 18 times and walked away with top 25s in 11 of those. 

Charles Howell III ($9,700): Another golfer with great course history. CH3 is a perfect 14-for-14 at Waialae CC with eight top 10s. 

Tim Clark ($5,900): Another bargain-bin option if you want to pivot off Appleby above. Clark is in quite the rut but his career strike rate of making cuts is too good to continue that slump. This short, classic layout is the perfect spot to break out of it.  


Each week I think aloud to provide you with my One-and-Done selection as well as a few alternatives. Fade or Follow? You decide!

My strategy is to stick to the chalk as much as possible, and try not to overthink myself out of the easy picks. This week that narrows it down to Matt Kuchar or Jimmy Walker. The latter has more pressure on him as the two-time defending champ entering the week. Therefore, I will go with Matt Kuchar this week. 

Past Results: 

Hyundai TOC: "Right up the gut, and this week that gut tells me Dustin Johnson is the safest route. In 19 rounds at the Hyundai, he's never posted an over-par round. In 11 of those 19 rounds, he signed for sub-70. He hoisted the trophy in 2013 and his worst finish in five tries is a T16." ... Finished T10, not killer but I really wanted a little more out of my DJ usage.  

Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.