Sony Open 2019: Harman can get hot in Hawaii

American Brian Harman
Brian Harman looks a big price this week

The PGA Tour stays in Hawaii this week and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks for the Sony Open at Waialae...

"Waialae is a Par 70 with two extra par 4s so it’s encouraging but not surprising to see Harman’s name pop up on last season’s Par 4 Birdie or Better leaders in 16th spot."

Back Brian Harman each-way @ 66/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places

Main Bet: Back Brian Harman each-way @ 66/1

Brian Harman didn't qualify for last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions but he did post a win - of sorts - only last month.

That came in the QBE Shootout in Florida when he teamed up with Patton Kizzire, the defending champion this week.

Looking back at that event, Kizzire said of Harman: "Brian was consistent. I just can't say enough about how consistent he was and how much he bailed me out.

"He would stripe it down the fairway on every hole and that made it easy on me."

Brian Harman Sony Open 2018 - 1280.jpg

We'd last seen Harman finish T32 in the RSM Classic although that was a tale of what might have been after he had three good days out of four - 66-66-73-64.

Looking back on his season at the QBE, Harman, himself, noted: "At the start of the year I had five or six chances to win kind of in a row and was playing some really good golf, just sort of took a breath and then all of a sudden found myself in contention to make the Ryder Cup.

"All that stuff just kind of overwhelmed me just a little bit and I just started pressing towards the end of the year.

"I played a little bit of decent golf at the end of the fall and it was nice to kind of reset. I got in this tournament last minute, so I've been kind of itching to get back and kind of get some good stuff going. It was really nice this week."

One of those five of six chances he referred to came in this very event when he held the halfway lead after rounds of 64-63 and was second with 18 to play before finishing in tied fourth.

That followed T20 in 2017 and a pair of T13s in both 2015 and 2016. "I like this golf course a lot," he said 12 months ago.

Waialae is a Par 70 with two extra par 4s so it's encouraging but not surprising to see Harman's name pop up on last season's Par 4 Birdie or Better leaders in 16th spot.

Looking at similar venues, the left-hander was fourth on the Seaside Course in the 2017 RSM Classic, has a pair of top 10s at Hilton Head and a T6 at TPC Southwind.

This is definitely one of those events where his straight hitting and tidy game mean we should expect him to get involved on the leaderboard so the 66/1 looks more than fair.

Next Best: Back Zach Johnson each-way @ 35/1

It can be easy to think a player's winning days are over and lose faith that they'll get over the line again.

But that line of thinking can be limiting and lead to missed opportunities.

Only last year, we saw Charles Howell III secure his first win since 2007 while Paul Casey, Kevin Na and Keegan Bradley all snapped losing streaks on the PGA Tour that had stretched over six years.

Zach Johnson's last victory came in the 2015 Open Championship but the 42-year-old is unlikely to be done yet. There's plenty of scope for him to add to his tally of 12 PGA Tour wins.

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This is an obvious chance as he's a previous winner (2009) and has a number of recent good finishes.

Starting with T8 in 2014, the double major champ has made the top 15 in four of the last five years and that also includes T9 in 2016 and T6 in 2017 when shooting 61 in round two.

"It just fits my game," he said last year. "I'm familiar with the greens. I like a good Bermuda like this. You have to hit it straight."

There's also a sense that something is brewing.

Johnson reeled off six straight top 20s from June to August, a run that took in the final three majors, while he ended his campaign by firing 70-64-65-66 to close out 2018 with T7 in the RSM Classic.

His last two starts at the Sony - T14 (R1 63) and T6 - were achieved without him playing at the Sentry TOC the week before so it shouldn't be a problem that he didn't compete at Kapalua.

Play Johnson each-way at 35/1.

Final Bet: Back Abraham Ancer each-way @ 40/1

I think Justin Thomas is the one they all have to beat this week.

He had terrible trouble putting on the greens when the wind blew last week but, with the gusts relenting on Sunday, he closed with a 65 to finish third.

Thomas fired an opening 59 on the way to winning this event in 2017 while he was T6 on debut in 2015 and made the top 15 when defending last year.

With very little wind in this week's forecast, he should be able to go low again. However, this is an each-way column so I'll go for something a little more imaginative rather than take JT at 6/1.

The one I'll close with is Abraham Ancer at 40/1.

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The Mexican ended 2018 on the PGA Tour with five top sevens in his closing 12 events.

And then, when a few punters had their back turned, the youngster went out and won November's Australian Open by five shots. In the field that week were Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Byeong Hun An, Cameron Smith, Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele and they were all left trailing in his wake.

Ancer then teamed up with World No.742 Roberto Diaz to guide Mexico to T2 in the World Cup of Golf, their best ever finish.

I'm hoping some of that magic remains here as he tackles Waialae for a second time.

True, his debut ended after just two rounds but one of them was under par and last year's champ, Kizzire, won the event having missed the cut on his only other start in the event.

Sure, there are course horses here but some champions haven't had any Waialae form.

Ancer is now 56th in the world having been outside the top 250 when he played this event last year. That's great but he still needs to advance another six spots before he gets all the riches and exemptions given to the top 50.

Others at 40/1 I looked at were recent Mayakoba winner Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley.

At a massive price, Scott Langley has played well on this sort of course and, indeed, this actual course when third on debut in 2013.

He's back in the big time after a two-year gap and his last two starts show T29 at Mayakoba and T23 at the RSM Classic.

Dave's 2018/19 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £240
Returned: £223.66
P/L: -£16.33

P/L: +£362.84

P/L: +£1179.89

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