Sentry Tournament of Champions – Gambling/DFS Preview 2023

Kapalua Resort Plantation Course – Maui, Hawaii

I had a fantastic fall swing season for the PGA Tour, hitting four outrights in eight events. I hope to keep that momentum rolling as the 2023 season starts this week in Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort Plantation Course. Golf is back!

Course Breakdown

Par 73, 7596 yds but at a high elevation so it plays shorter (around 7100 yds) with 4 Par 5s and 3 Par 3s, resort course, lot of elevation changes and uneven lies as the course was built on the side of a mountain, most of the Par 5s are reachable in 2 but the eagle rate is low, huge very wide fairways with very little rough (over 74% of Fairways Hit, which is significantly higher than tour average ~62%), because of the elevation the average driving distance here is longer than tour average (~290 vs. ~283), lot of roll on the fairways with a lot of slope and undulation, if tee shots are ridiculously wild players will have to deal with very tall grass, huge and slow Bermuda greens with a lot of undulation (but they were a little quicker the last three years and had more bounce due to resodding), some greens have been flattened in 2021 to make the course a little more difficult, much higher GIR % here (~79% vs. tour average ~65%), very high three putt percentage here since the greens are so high, 90+ bunkers on the course, right on the Pacific Ocean and wind will be a factor here

Tournament Notes

  • No cut event
  • First “elevated” event of the season with a much bigger purse of $15 million with $2.7 million to the winner (almost double of what it was last year). Rory skipping this event means he cannot skip any other elevated event this season
  • 12 of the last 13 winners here played a tournament in the month of December across various tours
  • 5 of the last 7 winners had either won a FedEx Cup event or a fall swing season PGA event
  • In the last ten years, the highest odds of the winner of this event was Harris English at +3300
  • Before Cam Smith last year, the last eleven winners before him have all been from the US
  • Before 2021, only 5 non-US golfers have finished T3 since 2011: Day, Rahm, Hideki (x2), Laird, GMac, Joaquín Niemann (last year all of the T3 were from outside the US in Cam Smith, Jon Rahm and Matt Jones)
  • Winners the previous year here have done very well the following year, which doesn’t apply to this season since Cam’s no longer on the PGA Tour
  • No first time player has won since 2008 (Daniel Chopra)
  • Since 2014, before 2021 only seven golfers have finished T5 in their first appearance here, including Spieth, Hideki, Rahm, Rory and Brooks (so the elite). In 2021, Niemann (2) and Sungjai Im (T5) did as well
  • In the last 9 years, 23 of the 33 T3 finishers have been T25 in the World Golf Rankings and 25 of those 33 were American
  • Only two of the 16 first timers here in 2022 finished T10

Key Stats

SG: Approach, Par 4 Scoring, Par 5 Scoring

Main proximity distance range on approach: Less than 150 yds. (~40% of approach shots), over 200 yds. (~40% of approach shots)

Corollary Courses

  • TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic) – 4 of the last 12 winners also won the John Deere Classic (Spieth, ZJ, Stricker and Jonathan Byrd)
  • Augusta National (The Masters)

Field

38 golfers – winners in the last 52 weeks (that didn’t go to LIV) and any golfers who made it to the Tour Championship last season (only one that declined was Rory and Xander WD with injury)

Last Year Champion: Cam Smith (-34), not defending since he went to the LIV Tour

Runner Up Last Year: Jon Rahm (-33)

One and Done: Starts next week for the Sony Open, so make sure you sign up. I’m in the big Pat Mayo one

Players

Justin Thomas: 9900: +1200 – great course history with 5,3,1,3,2,1,21 finishes here, 5th at the Hero World Challenge and 40,5,52,13,53 finishes in his last five PGA events, 21st in Approach, 11th in SG: OTT, 15th in Par 4 Scoring, 6th in Par 5 Scoring, 4th in Proximity: 100-125 yards, 11th in Proximity: 125-150 yards, 14th in Proximity: 200+ yards, 6th in Opportunities Gained, 12th in Birdie+ Gained, 2nd in SG: ARG, 27th in Putting

Tony Finau: 9300: +1400 – Played the best golf in the world to end last season, 19,31,9 finishes here, 7th at the Hero and 1,MC,9,28,5,1,1 finishes in his last seven PGA events FORM, 1st in Approach, 7th in SG: OTT, 1st in Par 4 Scoring, 8th in Par 5 Scoring, 10th in Proximity: 100-125 yards, 25th in Proximity: 125-150 yards, 38th in Proximity: 200+ yards, 11th in Opportunities Gained, 2nd in Birdie+ Gained, 6th in SG: ARG, 1st in Putting

Brian Harman: 8000: +4500 – 3,17 finishes here, 2,2,23,15,21,34,3 finishes his last seven events, 12th in Approach, 23rd in SG: OTT, 5th in Par 4 Scoring, 18th in Par 5 Scoring, 17th in Proximity: 100-125 yards, 4th in Proximity: 125-150 yards, 19th in Proximity: 200+ yards, 21st in Opportunities Gained, 24th in Birdie+ Gained, 11th in SG: ARG, 29th in Putting

Model

Approach (20%)

SG: OTT (5%)

Par 4 Scoring (15%)

Par 5 Scoring (10%)

Proximity: 100-125 yards (5%)

Proximity: 125-150 yards (5%)

Proximity: 200+ yards (10%)

Opportunities Gained (10%)

Birdie+ Gained (10%)

SG: ARG (5%)

Putting (5%)

Stats based on past 36 rounds

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • Because of the small fields, there will be a lot of duplicate lineups, so leaving more money than usual on the table could be a good move
  • Not playing dfs this week and I have a limited betting card with a small field in a no-cut event

Bets

Outrights

.84u Justin Thomas (+1200)

.72u Tony Finau (+1400)

.24u Brian Harman (+4500)

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