Welcome to paradise.
And Aloha 2020.
After a U.S. Open contested in September and the Masters in November, I’m all for the normalcy of some tasty waves and cool buds, other fantasy players, to kick off the 2021 portion of the PGATOUR schedule.
I’m excited to hear Mark Rolfing’s facts about Maui and the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
I’m excited to be jealous of the views, surf and weather in the dead of winter.
I’m excited to complain about who I have on my bench and not in my lineup.
Fantasy golf and real golf are back and I’m rested, healthy and ready to go!
Justin Thomas returns to Kapalua 2.0 to defend his championship one year after picking up the first win on the Coore-Crenshaw redesign and second overall. He’ll be joined by 41 others who will get four chances at the Plantation course to see who pockets the first $1.34 million winner’s check of the $6.7 million prize pool. The lowest total also adds 500 FedExCup points to the ledger for their triumph. Thomas will look to join Australians Stuart Appleby (three straight) and Geoff Ogilvy in defending the crown on Maui. Only Sergio Garcia and Daniel Chopra have won on their debut so that will give the seven first-time visitors hope!
Playing almost 7,600 yards up and down the mountain, Year 2 should give those an advantage who played the redesign last year. Before last year’s gusts and rain, the winning score hadn’t dipped below 19-under since 2008 so scoring is a must on this Par-73. Only three Par-3 holes are on the card so tee-to-green play is the key this week. Wide fairways and massive greens will help in that department, plus there’s no water on the course. Hole the makeable ones and avoid the squares to contend!
Recent Event Winners Stats
|Justin Thomas||Xander Schauffele||Dustin Johnson|
|Putting: Birdie or Better %||2||1||1|
Recent Winners and Notables
2020: Justin Thomas (-14, 278)
Defeated Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele in a playoff to win for the second time. … Becomes the fourth multiple event winner. … 10th consecutive American winner. … Increased his victory total on the Pacific Rim to seven. … Led the field with 24 birdies. … In six visits he’s circled 20 or more birdies five times. … Worst birdie output is 18 in 2018. … Joins the list of the last five winners either first or second Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage. … Joins the list of the last six winners to finish top three Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green. … Entered the week on FIRE with two wins and five of his last six results in the top 10.
2015 champion Reed fired 66, the round of the day Sunday, and was the last man knocked out of the playoff on the third playoff hole. … 2019 champion Schauffele was bogey-free thru his first 43 holes; led after 36 and by one after 54 holes before being eliminated on the first playoff hole. … Patrick Cantlay (4th) posted 68, second best on Sunday, to cash his first top 10 in two starts. … Debutant Joaquin Niemann (T5) posted the co-lowest round of the week with 66 in Round 1. … 2018 champ Dustin Johnson (T7) streak of top 10 finishes is now at eight. … Collin Morikawa (T7) posted all four rounds in the red on his debut. … Jon Rahm (10th) hits the top 10 for the third time in three tries. … Only six players were 10-under or better. … Strangely, five of the top 14 were first-timers at Kapalua. … Preferred lies in play the final 54 holes. … Gusty NNE winds were on the menu all week and scoring was the worst since 2007.
2019: Xander Schauffele (-23, 269)
Tied the course record with 62 in Round 4 to win by a shot on the last event before the redesign. … Sat five back of Gary Woodland (not entered this year) entering Sunday before posting his career best round … Holed out twice for eagle in the final round. … Posted 24 birdies (2nd) for the week. … Four of his five career victories are in limited field, no cut events. … Joins the last six winners by not finishing in the top 10 of Driving Accuracy. … Last of five consecutive winners to place in the top three in Bogey Avoidance. … Rolled into Maui after winning WGC-HSBC Champions and picking up T8 at Hero World Challenge.
Justin Thomas (3rd) circled the most birdies on the week (25), fired 65 in the final round, but was still five back. … Johnson (T4) was the only player in the top 10 with a round above 72 as he posted 74 in Round 2. … Marc Leishman (T4) picked up his second consecutive top seven payday here. … In his second start, Bryson DeChambeau (7th) bettered his solo 26th paycheck from 2018. … The last time Webb Simpson entered he was T8 (-13). … Jon Rahm backed up his solo second from 2018 with T8. … Debutant Kevin Tway (not entered) shot 66 to lead after Round 1. … Debutant Rory McIlroy (T4; not entered) was the only first-timer in the top 10. … Winds were gusty before a perfect final round. … Top 15 players 10-under or better.
2018: Dustin Johnson (-24, 268)
Trounced the field by eight shots to become the third multiple winner. … Sat one off the 36 hole lead before 66-65 blew the doors off the contenders. … Leading money winner and has made the most eagles in event history. … 65 and 66 were the best and co-second best rounds of the week. … At 33 he’s the only winner in the last six who wasn’t in their 20s. … Of the last six winners thru 2020, all have finished T7 or better in Par-4 Scoring. …. Won TNT and blew a seven shot lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions so he was in decent nick.
Jon Rahm (2nd) made 21 birdies on debut. … Hideki Matsuyama (T4) closed with 66 for his third top five in three starts. … Marc Leishman (T7) led after 18 and 36 before coming undone with 76 in Round 3. … Top 14 players all 10-under or better. … Wind gusts of a minimum 30 MPH daily yet only five rounds from the top 20 finishers were OVER par.
Key stat leaders
Top golfers in each statistic on the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. * – Top 10 finish here since 2016 or past champion
1 *Justin Thomas
2 *Hideki Matsuyama
3 *Jon Rahm
4 *Sergio Garcia
5 *Collin Morikawa
7 *Xander Schauffele
9 *Dustin Johnson
10 Scottie Scheffler (debut)
11 *Tony Finau
12 *Patrick Cantlay
15 Daniel Berger
16 *Webb Simpson
18 Harris English
19 *Bryson DeChambeau
20 Viktor Hovland (debut)
23 *Joaquin Niemann
26 *Patrick Reed
Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage
2 *Webb Simpson
3 *Justin Thomas
4 *Bryson DeChambeau
5 *Patrick Reed
6 Daniel Berger
7 *Dustin Johnson
13 Scottie Scheffler
22 *Patrick Cantlay
24 *Jon Rahm
26 * Xander Schauffele
27 Cameron Smith
28 Sungjae Im (debut)
29 *Tony Finau
1 Daniel Berger
2 *Xander Schauffele
3 *Brendon Todd
4 Kevin Na
6 Harris English
10 Abraham Ancer (debut)
11 *Jon Rahm
12 *Webb Simpson
16 *Kevin Kisner
17 *Bryson DeChambeau
19 *Hideki Matsuyama
21 *Patrick Reed
23 Lanto Griffin
25 *Justin Thomas
29 Carlos Ortiz (debut)
31 Sebastian Munoz
Horses for Courses
|Top Money Leaders||Top||Recent||Notes||Stroke|
|No Cut Event (Starts)||10||Top Finish||Avg.|
|Dustin Johnson (10)||8||T7 (2020)||2018, 2013 Winner; 8 straight top 10s||69.21|
|Justin Thomas (5)||3||Win (2020)||2017 Winner; Solo 3rd 2019||69.55|
|Patrick Reed (6)||4||P2 (2020)||2015 Winner; Solo 2nd 2016||69.50|
|Xander Schauffele (3)||2||P2 (2020)||2019 Winner; T22 debut 2018||69.58|
|Hideki Matsuyama (3)||3||T4 (2018)||Solo 2nd 2017; T3 2015||68.58|
|Jon Rahm (3)||3||10 (2020)||Solo 2nd on debut 2018; T8 2019||69.92|
|Webb Simpson (4)||3||T8 (2019)||Worst finish is T11; T3 2014, 2012||69.47|
|Marc Leishman (3)||2||T4 (2019)||T7 2018; 28-under last two visits||70.64|
|Patrick Cantlay (2)||1||4 (2020)||T15 2018 debut; only 2 of 8 in the 60s||70.50|
|Bryson DeChambeau (2)||1||7 (2019)||Last 6 are in the red||70.88|
|Joaquin Niemann (1)||1||T5 (2020)||First competitive round was 66||70.50|
|Collin Morikawa (1)||1||T7 (2020)||2nd Driving Accuracy||70.75|
|Tony Finau (1)||1||9 (2017)||20 birdies with all 4 rounds 70 or better||69.50|
|Sergio Garcia (4)||3||7 (2006)||2002 Winner on debut||70.38|
|Adam Scott (6)||4||T6 (2014)||Four top seven finishes; last time 2014||69.88|
|Martin Laird (3)||2||2 (2012)||T4 debut 2010; 20th 2014 last time||69.08|
|Stewart Cink (4)||2||9 (2010)||Last visit 2010; T5 2005; T12 2001||69.81|