And we’re back. The festive period is over and golf is back. Thank the lord. After nearly a month off, the PGA Tour returns with a trip to Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which as always, will be played at Kapalua Plantation Course in Maui.
Sentry Tournament of Champions General Information:
- Date: January 6 – January 9, 2022
- TV-Time: Golf Channel, 6:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Kapalua Plantation Course
- Location: Maui, Hawaii
- Prize Money: $8,000,000 ($1,440,000 1st Place)
- Winner last year: Harris English
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
A selection of the best golfers in the world will gather in Hawaii this week, and it really is a small selection as only those who collected a prize last season will feature. US Open winner and world number one Jon Rahm returns to action for the first time since tasting defeat in the Ryder Cup, while a whole host of other high-flyers such as Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas will be in attendance too.
The Kapalua Plantation Course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenhaw, offers players the opportunity to play front-footed attacking golf. The fairways are wide by general PGA Tour standards, while the greens are on the large side too. Scoring tends to be low here, so don’t be surprised to see birdies galore. Last year’s winner Harris English finished 25 under par, while three of the last six winners have emerged with a final score of at least -22.
Expert Pick #1 – Xander Schauffele to Win @+1400
A former winner of this event, Xander Schauffele should be up for it this week. It’s not like he’s started the season in blistering form, while he hasn’t been the busiest, featuring just three times since the Ryder Cup, though he has been ticking along nicely, making three out of three cuts, posting finishes of T18, T28 and most recently T12 at the Hero World Challenge.
In addition, the Olympic champion has lots of course form in the book, winning here in 2019, before finishing second and fifth in 2020 and 2021. Of those in the field to play this event more than once, Schauffele is the fourth-best in this field in terms of average score at Kapalua. Moreover, his strokes gained numbers are positive, ranking as the second-best in the field for strokes gained: off-the-tee on this track, not to mention third for strokes gained: total. If you want an outright bet at a tasty price, then the four-time PGA Tour winner fits the bill.
Fedex Cup Rank: 112 | Fedex Cup Points: 70 | OWGR: 6
Expert Pick #2 – Sungjae Im Top 5 Finish @+450
Sungjae Im, who last season made a name for himself as being a player capable of consistently featuring prominently on the leaderboard, has been in very solid form since the start of the campaign, posting finishes of T31, T9 and T19, as well as winning the Shriners Children’s Open, his second victory on the PGA Tour.
Unlike Schauffele, who has consistently performed well at this venue, Im has only featured once here before, but on that occasion, he looked up to the task, finishing T5 a year ago. And in doing so, the South Korean posted some excellent strokes gained numbers, numbers that put him as the number one player in this field for strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: approach at Kapalua. A performance not dissimilar to the one turned in 12 months ago would likely see the 23-year-old challenge for supremacy.
Fedex Cup Rank: 3 | Fedex Cup Points: 635 | OWGR: 26
Expert Pick #3 – Patrick Reed Top 5 Finish @+450
There’s another previous winner in this field that stands out as a more than viable top-five bet and that’s Patrick Reed, who emerged victorious here back in 2015.
Not only did the man from Texas win this tournament six years ago, but he’s finishing highly on several other occasions, posting three top-five finishes since 2016. The one-time major winner knows how to score on these greens, ranking as the fifth-best putter, according to strokes gained: putting, in the line-up, while he was in hot form when last seen finishing third at the Hero World Challenge before Christmas.
Fedex Cup Rank: 29 | Fedex Cup Points: 258 | OWGR: 25
2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds
*Odds as of Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. ET
2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions Additional Picks
One player to finish top-five.
Jordan Spieth (+350)
In addition to the two options above, Jordan Spieth rates as a solid top-five option. The multiple major winner came out on top here back in 2016, while he’s often proved that Kapalua is a venue where he feels comfortable, finishing inside the top ten in each of his other three appearances, hitting on the top five in three out of four overall.
One player to finish top-10.
Marc Leishman (+225)
If you want to play things a little safer and go for a top-ten pick, then at the prices, look no further than Marc Leishman. The Aussie has performed well at Kapalua in the past, finishing inside the top ten in two of his last three visits to the Hawaiian venue. He also ranks as the ninth-best in the field for strokes gained: total on this track, and therefore, probably deserves to be a bit shorter in this market than a few others.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Justin Thomas (+1400)
Keep this one simple and go for the man who almost always starts like a train at Kapalua. 14-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas loves it at this venue, and his first round efforts usually reflect that. He’s held the lead in one out of six, and has also occupied a top-five position after round one on four other occasions. Chances are he’s going to be up there, and few seem more likely to be out in front after the first 18 than JT.
The Big Hero
Underdog with chances to win.
Cameron Champ (+8000)
With the big names queuing up to win this thing, will Cameron Champ come out on top? Probably not, though if you’re looking for someone with the most realistic chance at mammoth odds, then give the Aussie a go. 16th in this field for strokes gained: total at Kapalua, Champ ranks solidly across all areas and has often played well, finishing 11th and 14th in 2019 and 2020.
The main thing we all have to look forward to this week is the return of high-quality golfing action, and what better way to get back to things than with a small field event containing almost all of the best players in the world. The course looks to be set up for attacking play and thus the excitement and birdies should flow in equal measure.