This week in golf: ‘English’ is the punting lingo for Sony Open

Although both of golf’s landmark tours have officially been back in business for a few weeks, the extended festive break ensured the early season fields took on a ragtag look, but that changes in mid-January with many big names dusting off the bag.

Those on the America-centric PGA Tour escape the freezing temperatures of the northerly states at the Hawaii-hosted Sony Open, while the European Tour also soaks up some rays, as the South African swing reaches its conclusion in Johannesburg.

Here at we’ve dug into the form books and recent tournament histories to pick out a couple of savvy-looking bets for each event.

Sony Open:

Winner: Harris English 33/1

Although former FedEx Cup winner Jimmy Walker is hunting a historic three-peat at Waialae Country Club, the American is horribly out of form and cannot justify his 14/1 favouritism on that count.

Step forward compatriot, English, whose trajectory of top-10 finishes in Hawaii – ninth, fourth and third in successive years – is only heading one way. It’s English’s seasonal bow, but he averages 66.58 for his last 12 rounds here and at the odds is each-way gold.

Top 10: Mark Leishman 11/4

Another very consistent Sony Open performer, Leishman has made the cut in six successive attempts, posting a pair of top 20s and 10s. The hook here being that the Australian signed off 2015 in style by claiming Nedbank Challenge glory, so he’s striking the ball extremely well.

Johannesburg Open:

Winner: Jaco Van Zyl @12/1

While Walker’s shaky form renders him a dicey favourite to get behind in Haiwaii, there are some strong indicators Van Zyl is worthy of some investment.

Not only has the Johannesburg Open been claimed by South Africans in six of the nine editions since its 2007 inception, and five of the last six, but the absence of former winners George Coetzee and Charles Schwartzel (2), as well as Branden Grace, aids Van Zyl’s hopes still further.

A joint runner-up last year, the Joburg resident hasn’t finished worse than 18th in three starts this season.

Top 5: Richard Sterne 5/1

In 2013 Sterne doubled up on his 2008 Sony Open title to keep the South African stranglehold on the tournament. If there was ever a horse for a course then the Pretoria native is it.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.