2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview

Welcome back!

Ah, Maui.

Like a warm pair of slippers…

Sentry Tournament of Champions

The Plantation Course at Kapalua

Maui, Hawaii

Weekly Readers:

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Expert Picks – click here

The astute have noticed that “Fantasy” at PGATOUR.COM has been replaced with GolfBet. We’re excited to have all of our gaming/fantasy/betting under one umbrella. Once you get used to it, you won’t even notice the difference. We hope the reorganization of the page is helpful, but like every new endeavour there will be bugs to work out. Let me know how I can help. Now, for the other news…

Pour One Out:

Pick ‘Em LIVE, KFT Power Rankings and PGA TOUR Champions Power Rankings have been shelved. Will they return? Great question. Stay tuned.

NOW PLAYING:

The calendar ends on with a round on Plantation (Sea Island) and begins with a round on Plantation (Kapalua). The former pineapple plantation provides the backdrop this week for the 25th consecutive year. Let’s Dole out some winners.

Write your own column…

Yards (per official scorecard):7,596
Par:73 (36-37)
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda; 8,722 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter:11 feet.
Rough:Celebration Bermuda at 2.25 inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards/In Play93/0/0
Architects:Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (1991); Renovation post 2019 event.
Purse:$15 million; $2.7 winner plus 550 FedExCup points.
Tournament Record:Cam Smith (not entered) 34-under 258, 2022. All time PGA TOUR scoring record.
Course Record:61; Matt Jones (not entered) Round 4, 2022. Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas, Round 3, 2022.
Defending Champion:Cam Smith (-34; not entered).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Justin Thomas (2020, 2017).
Fact of the Week:17 of the top 20 OWGR entered.
Fact of the Week II:Only Daniel Chopra (2008) has won this event on debut.

Notes:

  • Field of 39 (Rory McIlroy is the only qualified player not entered).
  • Field comprised of winners from the 2022 calendar season plus all who qualified for the TOUR Championship at East Lake.
  • Stroke play, 72 holes, no cut.
  • First of the designated events of 2023.

For expert gamers this week is a very nice “welcome back” after a relaxing holiday period hiatus. This is the 25th consecutive year at Kapalua so familiarity will be in play from our research and from the horses for courses.

The challenge this week is to stay present, make as many Par Breakers as possible and save every par that needs to be converted. Elevation changes, massive fairways and greens and scenic views suggest it’s a vacation on the course.

It is.

The last two seasons have produced some of the lowest scoring in event history and the forecast this year suggest another batch of 20-something to win. Outside of the 2020 event (new layout, severe gusts and rain) The Plantation Course has ranked in the top six easiest tracts on TOUR in the last decade.

The top 18 players were 20-under or better last year while the top nine of 2021 also hit that mark.

How easy did last year play?

The PGA TOUR tournament scoring record was set.

The top three players would have won every other edition of this event at Kapalua.

The 36 and 54 hole record was shared.

The 54 hole record was shared by two players.

The course record, 61, was shared by three players.

When the wind doesn’t blow, it’s target golf.

Even if it does, the massive fairways and greens don’t provide deterrent to a field of this quality.

Enjoy the views and good luck!

2022-2023 Season Winners

EventWinner
Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipMackenzie Holmes
Shriners Children’s OpenTom Kim
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPKeegan Bradley
CJ CUP at CONGAREERory McIlroy
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power
Mayakoba ChampionshipRussell Henley
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTony Finau
The RSM ClassicAdam Svensson (first TOUR win)

Recent Event Winners

Italics – not entered this week

YearWinnerNotes
2022Cam Smith (-34)Smashed the event record by three shots and defeated Jon Rahm by one.
2021Harris English (-25)Third best winning total in 16 years.
2020Justin Thomas (-14)Second win here, first in a playoff as he held off the wind, rain plus Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed.
2019Xander Schauffele   (-23)Closed with 62 and 11 birdies to wipe out a five shot defecit.
2018Dustin Johnson (-24)Cruised by eight over Jon Rahm.
2017Justin Thomas (-22)Won by three over Hideki Matsuyama.
2016Jordan Spieth (-30)Missed the record by a shot; won by eight.
2015Patrick Reed (-21)First of three in a row to win in second attempt.

Chalk

I’m not going out on a limb here but I’d be highly surprised if the winner came from worse than +2500 this week. Start there and dig out what you perceive as the best value.

Jon Rahm (+650): Hotter than the lava pouring out of Mauna Loa. Probably can find a better number during the live action.

Scottie Scheffler (+900): Not many weaknesses here either! Cashing in his second visit would join Reed, Spieth, Thomas, Schauffele and English as recent winners in that category.

Patrick Cantlay (+1000): Only made one start in the fall at another course he loves, TPC Summerlin (T2). Nothing worse than T15 in four starts with a pair of solo fourth place finishes.

Justin Thomas (+1100) can’t be ignored at fourth choice (BetMGM) as he’s logged the most rounds here of anyone and has the most victories. Loves this part of the world and is making his eighth consecutive start. Comfy

Xander Schauffele (+1100): Back to back top 10 finishes in limited field events last fall. 2019 winner , P2 in defense and T5 2021. His 22-under last year was only good for solo 12th hahaha.

Tony Finau (+1400): Picked up third win of 2022 since July in Houston after MC in Mexico. Best round of his three visits was his last one, 65, last year (T19). Everything trending in his direction.

Sungjae Im (+1800): Make all the birdies you can? Yes, please! He will also serve as my OAD this week, Jeffrey.

Cameron Young (+2000): First timer and has never won on TOUR. Book isn’t going to get burned it as he claimed solo third at Hero, and is trending nicely.

Collin Morikawa (+2000): We’ll see the progress he’s made with his new putting coach! T6 at Hero suggests he’s moving back into the proper direction.  Nothing outside of T7 here in three visits.

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2000): Another first timer but also a major champion. His advantage is on tight driving layouts and that’s not what’s playing this week. Has the full bag to give it a sniff tho.

Viktor Hovland (+2000): Two visits, T30 and T31 sounds impossible but it’s true. Winner at Hero last time out suggests the streak of T30 or worse ends this week. Bold prediction, I know! Other two wins are on a resort course as well. Interesting.

Jordan Spieth (+2500): Just begging all of us to play him at this number! Recent results suggest it might not be enough to consider. Knocked off the rust here last year for the first time since 2018. I’d expect a sharper performance this time around. No problem in the breeze either.

Sam Burns (+2500): Nothing jumping off the page in the fall but has the EXPLOSIVE gene that can pop birdies at any time. Last three rounds here on debut were all in the 60s including 64 in his second loop. Aware.

Tom Kim (+2500): I’ve learned my lesson but this field on this tract gives me pause in the win department.

Will Zalatoris (+2500): Same number as Tom Kim yet hasn’t played since an injury forced him to close the door on the 2022 season at the BMW? And his first time? Would to have loved to see a rust buster.

33-1 and up

Might sneak one or two in the top five or top 10. Leader boards over the years suggest not too many outside of the elite end up here.

Max Homa (+3300): Only player on this number! Playing as Dad for the first time in his third visit here (best T15).

Aaron Wise (+4000): Second trip but nothing better than 71 from his first visit. Made 10 straight cuts but only one top 10 in that streak.

Adam Scott (+4000): Should have the taste of blood after failing to slam the door at the Australian Open. Eight appearance and a bit of breeze? Yes, please.

Brian Harman (+4000): No love for solo second and T2 in his final two events of 2022?

Corey Conners (+4000): Too many putts need to be holed this week to contend.

Hideki Matsuyama (+4000):  Four fall events, no top 10 but did have WD in Houston with neck deal. Lovely long shot, if he’s healthy, as he’s hit the top five three previous times here.

Keegan Bradley (+4000): Closed T21-WIN-T5 but hasn’t played since CJ CUP. Fourth visit here.

Russell Henley (+4000): Went crazy to win Mayakoba to interrupt an otherwise awful fall. 

Longer Shots/Funny Money

Billy Horschel (+5000): Jet setter pinged T13 or better in four of five fall starts. T22 or WORSE in four of five starts career here. Conflicting.

Sahith Theegala (+5000): NO LOVE even with three of six events in the fall T6 or better? I’m going to push him into a top 10 play just in case.

Tom Hoge (+6600): No chance as he’ll be too worried about TCU in the CFB Playoff.

KH Lee(+6600): Has won two shootouts in Dallas. Hasn’t translated here yet.

Scott Stallings (+9000): A pair of top 15 finishes in the last 10 years.

Adam Svensson (+10000): Number reflects the step up in class.

JT Poston (+10000): Quiet fall didn’t produce any big finishes. T11 on debut in the elements in 2020.

Mackenzie Hughes (+10000): Third visit but only one round in the 60s from previous two.

JJ Spaun (+12500): Didn’t miss in the fall in six attempts and his last two were inside T15. Debut here.

Sepp Straka (+12500): I’m going to sneak him in somewhere. Big hitter/Ball-Striker got a taste at Hero. Interesting.

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One thought on “2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview

  1. Pingback: 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview - Have Stix Will Travel

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