First, I will recap last week TOC. I hit on 2/3 rubies with Duncan and Munoz who were both in the winning lineups around contests. Mitchell was a bust cause he couldn’t keep the big numbers off the card, like he tends to do from time to time. The coal was the other piece from the bottom in most winning lineups, but I wouldn’t change my process on that. I feel very happy to never play a chalk Lanto Griffin. Duncan was in most of my lineups and he had 2 very good days and effected my standings in contests dramatically the days he did well because he was so under owned. This week is a completely different course. Where as Kapalua is a beast to walk, Waialae is extremely easy to walk. The only common factor this week is it looks windy again. That should factor into peoples decision making.
Ruby #1: Henrik Norlander ($6700)– A Name that not a lot of people know and I think even fewer will play this week. Norlander is coming off his first top 5 at the RSM Classic. He played the Sony Open in 2017 and finished 20th. So we check the boxes of good form and good course history. He’s made the cut at the Sony 2/3 times playing here. He gained 11.1 strokes total at the RSM Classic in late November. He has made 4 straight cuts also with the tougher cut rules. He has historically been poor T2G but gained over 4.5 each of the last 2 tournaments where it has been tracked. He can struggle around the green at putting at times but he’s not extremely poor at those. Just slightly below average. At his price most people will drop down to Redman given his name is a little more recognizable or jump up to Graeme McDowell. Give me Norlander at sub 5% ownership.
Ruby #2: Nate Lashley ($6800)– This one is going to be a little narrative street. Played TOC, finished top 20 and got the season started before the Sony. All things I like when looking at guys coming into the Sony Open. He didn’t putt well at the TOC losing 1.1 strokes, but I would take that same performance again. These greens are much different here. Kapalua has massive greens and they are much smaller in comparison at Waialae. Back too back top 20s for Lashley though at TOC and CJ Cup. If he gets a hot putter like he had at the Greenbriar he could top 10 again. He’s inconsistent with putting but when he gains strokes putting, he finishes well. Give me that this week and pray for a good putting week. He knows the wind because he played in it last week. Lashley is 1/1 making the cut here with a 39th place finish in 2018.
Ruby #3: David Hearn- Im going out on a little bit of a limb with this one. He will be my lowest owned of the 3. Hearn doesn’t have the greatest history here at the Sony but he does have 1 top 10 all the way back in 2012. He’s made 3 straight cuts as well with 1 top 10 in that time. The top 10 was at the Bermuda Championship. He gained a lot of strokes putting at the RSM so that is a little scary but I’m going with him this week. Hopefully the time between the RSM and this tourney he has righted the iron issues that popped up at the end of last year. This is a plug your nose and play and definitely not a single bullet play. More of a GPP 20 lineup with 10% play.
COAL: Tyler Duncan ($6800)– This one hurts to type a little. I thought I had him penciled in for a Ruby to start the week again. He treated me so well. I have recently flipped on him for a couple reasons. He has a bad history here at the Sony making ½ cuts with his best finish 57th. When he finished 57th he gained strokes putting. Duncan rarely does that. Even gaining strokes putting he finished 57th. Im looking for something in the top 35 players to be honest. I don’t see him getting there and his ownership has been climbing because some of the narratives I mentioned earlier. He did play in TOC and finished top 20. You can choose any of the other 3 I listed here for significantly less ownership and I feel confident in that.