Steve Palmer's Sony Open in Hawaii first-round preview, free golf betting tips
Joaquin Niemann could follow Kapalua playoff heartache with Waialae flop
When to watch
Sky Sports Main Event and Golf, midnight Thursday
Abraham Ancer to beat Joaquin Niemann
3pts Evens BoyleSports
Kevin Kisner-Cameron Smith dual forecast
1pt 400-1 Coral, Ladbrokes
Man of the moment Harris English has an early launchpad for round one of the Sony Open - the Sentry Tournament of Champions victor is out at 8am local time (6pm UK and Ireland) alongside Matt Kuchar and Adam Scott at Waialae Country Club.
English, bidding to repeat the 2017 feat of Justin Thomas by winning both events on the PGA Tour's Hawaiian Swing, has every department of his game purring and could complete the double.
The man he beat in the Sentry playoff though - Joaquin Niemann - may be worth opposing for the contrasting Sony assignment.
Niemann enjoyed himself at Kapalua, bombing on to the wide-open fairways and using his low ball-flight to flourish during some windy periods. But the tight, fiddly Waialae, with hardly any breeze forecast, is a different challenge.
The Chilean youngster ended the Sentry poorly, missing a short birdie putt at the 72nd hole and making a mess of the playoff, and the negative vibes may continue through the Sony.
Niemann tied for 57th in his only previous Sony appearance and Abraham Ancer looks an even-money bargain to defeat him over 72 holes.
Ancer, supremely accurate, is better suited to the Waialae test and an 11-under-par weekend on his Sentry debut has sent him to Honolulu in high spirits.
Ancer, 13th in the Masters and 12th in the Mayakoba Classic before that respectable Sentry effort, could threaten a maiden PGA Tour title this week and leave Niemann behind.
Punters seeking a juicier price should consider the 400-1 about Kevin Kisner and Cameron Smith filling the first two places on the leaderboard in either order after 72 holes. Both are extremely well suited to Waialae and finished fourth and first last year.
Kisner and Smith warmed up well in the Sentry last week and can hit the ground running in the Sony.
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