Paul Krishnamurty has been scouring Betfair's wide array of markets for the PGA Tour curtain-raiser and produced with the following five-strong portfolio...
"Day's optimum conditions involve wide fairways, where he can utilise his power off the tee and rely on short game brilliance to score."
Back Jason Day to win outright 5u @ 9.08/1
For the last few new years, Jason Day has been a popular section across the golf punting community as ae player to follow, in expectation of significant improvement. Now up to eighth in the world rankings and a dual WGC champion, he's firmly established amongst the elite, but I'm expecting an even bigger impression in the early months of 2015, possibly culminating with the ultimate breakthrough at The Masters.
The Hyundai Champion of Champions offers a golden opportunity to start it in style. In a weaker than usual renewal including only four of the world's top-15, only Bubba Watson is ranked higher. Nearly all the big names and courses specialists one would normally look to at Kapalua are absent. With very few of the 34 candidates fancied, single-figure odds of 9.417/2 about a strong tournament favourite are perfectly fair.
Day has two strong arguments in his favour. First his nationality, given that Australians have won five of the last 11 renewals. Secondly, he has the perfect game for this wide-open track. As we've seen in the World Matchplay and Masters, Day's optimum conditions involve wide fairways, where he can utilise his power off the tee and rely on short game brilliance to score.
He is a vastly improved player than when making his sole previous appearance here in 2011, and the result on that occasion was encouraging. After opening with a ruinous 73, Day stayed on to finish ninth. I'm expecting a very strong bid.
My other main fancy is Chris Kirk, who appeals in either the outright or Top American market. Slight preference is for the latter as it means avoiding over a third of the field, including Day and the other Aussies.
Kirk is another making big strides forward. He became notably more consistent when challenging strongly throughout the FedEx Cup, and his previous in Hawaii is particularly eyecatching. He's finished top-five in the last two Sony Open renewals and finished seventh on debut at Kapalua in 2013, despite a disastrous opening 75.
Top Ten Finish
Back JB Holmes 3u @ 3.814/5
Back Scott Stallings 2u @ 5.69/2
Back Steven Bowditch 2u @ 6.05/1
Finally, a trio of players in the top-ten. One winner from three will guarantee a profit. The common theme is a focus on normally inaccurate big-hitters whose weakness will be largely negated, including Find Me a 100 Winner pick Steven Bowditch, whose case is made in detail here.
JB Holmes is a classic case in point, and it's no surprise to see that this bomber finished fourth on his course debut back in 2007. This is Holmes' visit since 2009 but he's no less a player these days and, to reiterate, this small field is weak.
Scott Stallings is here for the third straight year and fared pretty well in 13th last time. He's stayed busy over the winter, heading to Australia and finishing fifth in their Open, carrying on from a pair of top-25s in the States. He's another plagued by inaccuracy, who will appreciate the extra room.