PGA Sentry Tournament of Champions Handicapping Preview & Betting Tips

by | Jan 1, 2019 | Golf

Matchup at a Glance

Course: Plantation Course at Kapalua

Location: Kapalua, Maui Hawaii

Date & Time: Thursday, Jan. 3 – Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019

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This week, the PGA returns with the first tournament of the season with the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

The tournament will tee off on Thursday, January 3 and play through Sunday, January 6, 2019.  

There are 34 golfers that will play in this tournament and the entire tournament can be seen on the Golf Channel.  Originally, there were 37 golfers invited however Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson will sit this one out for various reasons.  

Sentry Tournament of Champions Overview

The Sentry Tournament of Champions is played annually, as one of the first tournaments of the year.  The tournament first took place back in 1998 at the La Costa Country Club but moved to its current venue, Plantation Course at Kapalua in Kapalua, Maui Hawaii, the following year in 1999.  

The Tournament of Champions has been played at Plantation Course at Kapalua in Kapalua, Maui Hawaii every year since 1999.  This is one of the easier courses to play on as shown by the scores averaging in the low to mid -20’s.  There will be plenty of opportunities to score birdies if golfers play well and get it in the fairways.

The Plantation Course is a Par 73 that plays at 7452 yards.  This is the only Par 73 course that the PGA utilizes on tour.  The course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.  The putting surfaces at Plantation Course at Kapalua in Kapalua are made up of Bermudagrass.  There are some really wide fairways at Plantation Course at Kapalua so most golfers should have an easy time hitting them.

There are several courses that are very similar in playing style to Plantation Course at Kapalua in Kapalua, Maui Hawaii. The three most similar courses that we have found are Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia, Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas and Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. I would strongly encourage you to consider golfers that play well at those three courses when making your own selections.  

Sentry Tournament of Champions Cut Info

There are only 34 golfers in this tournament so there will be no cut this week.  That means your golfer’s will get to play all 4 rounds beginning on Thursday and ending on Sunday.  

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Sentry Tournament of Champions System Attributes

Many experts in the industry tell you to look for big hitters here at Plantation Course at Kapalua but I think a high priority has to be placed on putting.  Most golfers are not going to miss these fairways and weather permitting, there should be an emphasis put on the putting greens.

We will put a high emphasis on Strokes Gained: Putting.  The past 5 out of 6 years, the winner finished in the top 5 in Strokes Gained: Putting.  Another stat that kept popping up for winners of this tournament is Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green. We will round out the final smaller attributes in our system with Greens in Reg, Strokes Gained: Approach, Scrambling and Birdie or Better %.  

Note: I recommend looking at statistics over the past 12 months, NOT on the PGA’s website.  If you look at the PGA’s website, which I frequently use, it will only show you the statistics for the most recent tournaments.  Many are aware that many of the PGA pro’s don’t play that shoulder season so you could be doing yourself an injustice by ignoring players that are really good at one area but not on the list due to their lack of playing at the end of 2017.

This course benefits those that have played on it so course history is a must!  There is some major elevation change here and with the undulation at Plantation Course at Kapalua, the experience is a huge benefit to golfers.  

Sentry Tournament of Champions Golfers

Let me start off by saying this is truly a very tough tournament to bet and what makes it even harder is the fact that this is the first one of the year and we really don’t know what most of these guys have been up to since mid-November.  

You can’t go wrong with any one of the top 10 that you decide to bet this week.  Most all of them have had success here and come into this one in decent form.  I will sort of look outside the box for my selections this week.

Jon Rahm +800 at BetMania for 3 units

Jon Rahm finished last year as the runner-up in his only attempt at playing at the course. For whatever reason, this course really caters well to those that are playing in their second tournament here.  For example, Justin Thomas won this tournament in 2017 after making his debut in 2016.  Jordan Spieth won this tournament in 2016 after making his debut in 2015. Patrick Reed won in 2015 after making his Tournament of Champions debut in 2014.  Do you see the trend?  Well, last year was Rahm's debut at Plantation Course and I think he takes this one in Hawaii! 

Jason Day +1464 at Bookmaker for 2 units

I think Jason Day is in for a really nice year and it could kick off at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  He ended the season on a nice little streak last year and gets to start out at a tournament that he has had some decent success.  He finished in 3rd, 9th, 10th and 12th place in the past 4 times he played.  Day's distance will be a big asset this week and if his putting is on par this week, he will be there on Sunday competing for the win!  

Paul Casey +4375 at JustBet for 1 unit

Paul Casey is playing in the Sentry Tournament of Champions Tournament for the first time.  That isn't a great trend but one that I will still follow as we saw last year that Jon Rahm almost won on his first attempt.  Casey finished out last year strong and comes into this year healthy, something he hasn't had happen in quite some time.  A healthy Paul Casey at these odds is a tremendous value and one I won't allow to pass me by! 

Head-To-Head Matchups

Jon Rahm -120 over Justin Thomas for 2.5 units

Keegan Bradley +110 over Billy Horschel for 2.5 units

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