The first of the year is here. Happy New Year to everyone!
2019 was a blast. Writing and attempting to predict the play of golfers over 4 days and 72 holes has been very challenging. It has also been very rewarding.
By the end of the year, we were doing very well with the top twenty bets.
I want to keep the proverbial golf ball rolling across the green with continued success on the top 20s and also consistently hit 2 out of 4 top ten bets.
We wrapped up the season at the Australian PGA Championship nearly two weeks ago with 4 wins and 2 losses.
At the Presidents Cup earlier in December, we cleaned up picking Tiger Woods as the top American and Sungjae Im as the top debutant.
I believe we can roll on this week as the PGA Tour makes the yearly trip to the Plantation Course at Kapalua in delightful Maui, Hawaii.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions is just that. Only winners are invited and it shows on the betting board.
Sure, his name is the first to come to mind when you think of someone in the field that has as good of a shot as anyone but the field is just too thick with elite golfers to go with the (+450) Rahm here.
Let’s break down the course and highlight the resurfacing, reworking, and overall redesign of the Plantation Course at Kapalua as well as find some golfers for our betting spread this week.
There are matchup bets available as well as a few props and the normal top five and top ten bets.
The top twenties are unfortunately out of the question for this week’s tournament due to the tiny field of fewer than 35 golfers.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua
A par 73 inland links-style golf course that has been around for nearly three decades, the Plantation Course at Kapalua has historically been a bomber’s paradise.
The fairways are nearly 60 yards wide and there are several reachable par 4s.
Just look at what multiple time tournament champion Dustin Johnson was so close to being able to accomplish last year on the 12th hole, a 433-yard par 4.
This would have been one of the single greatest shots in the history of golf!
What qualifies for resort level scoring? 20 under par? 25? 30?! We have seen golfers hit the 30 strokes under par mark more than once at Kapalua.
Xander Schauffele shot an 11 under par 62 in the final round last year to win this thing.
The renovations were mainly to help the members of the club throughout the rest of the year as they were having trouble with the sheer enormity of the course.
The fairways were resurfaced so that the ball would bounce quite a bit more on golfers’ drives. There has been some rain, though, and the word is that it’s wet out there so I would expect the bombers to bomb.
Youngster and golf ball murderer Cameron Champ has a bit more value because of this. He came through with a matchup win for us a couple of weeks ago at the Aussie PGA Championship. We might have to jump on the 24-year-old Californian from Sac-Town.
- To Win: +3300
- Top Five: +500
- Top Ten: +185
- First Round Leader: +2500
At just 6’ tall and 175 pounds, you wouldn’t think Cameron Champ would be as powerful off the tee as he has been.
The man is incredible, though.
He was #1 in driving distance on the PGA Tour in the 2018-2019 season with an average of nearly 318 yards.
This was good enough for 6th on the Tour in shots gained off the tee and he needed them desperately because he ranked 123rd or worse in approach, around the green, putting, tee-to-green, and shots gained total.
I like how he is playing lately, though, and with the damp conditions, Champ will hopefully have a good weekend overpowering the field.
Last year was Cam’s only appearance at the Tournament of Champions and he wrapped up the weekend with a respectable 11th place.
That’s including a round of 74 which I can’t imagine he will shoot another round over par here in the foreseeable future.
Even with his struggles when the driver isn’t in his hand, Cameron still managed to place 22nd on the Tour last season in greens in regulation percentage as well as birdie average.
Both statistics will likely be massive predictors this weekend in Kapalua.
Add those to that the fact that he will might as well be teeing off from the ammy box, and we have some good value on Cameron Champ.
He has always been pretty good in the first round and I am tempted to take him to be the leader after the first round.
I like very much, though, the (+185) odds on him finishing inside the top ten.
First Round Matchup
Dylan Frittelli vs Cameron Champ
Okay, the South African Frittelli is historically a better wind player than Champ but the winds aren’t supposed to pick up until Friday.
Dylan is a good driver of the ball but his average last season was more than 20 yards less than Cam.
Both struggle on the putting greens so at least on paper, that cancels out.
Cam has played here before.
Dylan has not, at least not competitively.
The Champ is also in good form and has played competitive golf since early-November which was the last time Dylan teed up.
They will be paired up.
Let’s hope Cameron Champ keeps the golf ball within the friendly confines of the 60-yard wide fairways and can hopefully club down lower than the South African creating more birdie opportunities and a lower score.
- To Win: +1400
- Top Five: +240
- Top Ten: -110
- First Round Leader: +1600
The baby-faced assassin… Or is it Captain America? Or, as it turned out at the Presidents Cup, captain distraction?
Reed has got to be hungry for redemption this week and would seemingly love to shut his haters up.
The Texan from San Antonio is still several months shy of his 30th birthday but has already accomplished so much in this sport including a win at the Masters.
Historically a solid driver of the golf ball who has been able to scramble his way out of some of the hairiest spots, Reed is a guy who will be bombing drives 300 plus yards with regularity this weekend.
He has never lacked courage. Well, he’s from Texas, so… His recent form is some of the best in the field.
If Jon Rahm wasn’t all the rage after his 1,1,2 finishes in his previous three tournaments, we would be talking about Patrick Reed as potentially the hottest golfer on the Tour.
He finished one stroke behind Rahm and two behind the winner Henrik Stenson at the Hero World Challenge a month ago. Prior to that, Pat finished 28th, 10th, 8th, 17th, 4th, and 15th in his previous six outings.
He won the Masters at a very young age and I think that may have gone to his head or more specifically, his chubby cheeks. Don’t you just want to give ‘em a squeeze?
Patrick’s course history is only bettered here by a few other guys in the field like Dustin Johnson or Matt Kuchar.
16th, 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 25th is pretty good. Well, the 25th place finish stinks but he wasn’t playing nearly as well when he placed that low this time last year.
I like him at nearly even money to crack the top ten.
I am psyched for this one.
While the rest of the sporting world is salivating over the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs and the NCAA Football National Championship, I’m over here ready for the first golf tournament of the season.
I love Sentry’s Tournament of Champions too!
The only way to get a spot is to win a tournament. This ensures a high level of talent and the course is virtually a chocolate cream cake.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua has ranked 50th out of 50 courses on the PGA Tour in terms of difficulty and it doesn’t look like the nearly year-long redesign will make that much of a difference with a wet course.
Drivers of the ball won’t have to worry too much about their drives bouncing off the fairway as they will most likely stick.
The winds are set to be pretty ugly over the weekend so I believe veterans who have played this course competitively in the past will pull ahead by Sunday.
Let’s hope Patrick Reed continues his proper play in the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season and youngster Cameron Champ makes an early statement to the rest of the golfing world that he is more than a one-trick pony.
Tune in, turn up, remember to check our Sentry Tournament of Champions betting picks and bet hard this weekend!