A number of the worlds top golfers make their first start of 2019 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions taking place at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii from Thursday.
This is the only par 73 layout on the PGA Tour and the Plantation Course is long with very generous fairways and greens. The major challenges are the extreme elevation changes and wind (which is not guaranteed to blow) and this likely explains why course experience tends to be a big factor here. Distance has proven to be largely irrelevant (despite the length of the course) as has Driving Accuracy and with the generous fairways and large greens easy to find, it is putting and scrambling which will likely determine the winner.
The tournament is restricted to players that won on the PGA Tour the previous year and that means there is plenty of quality on display this week although Rose and Woods have opted to delay their 2019 debuts. Defending champion Dustin Johnson returns and he tops the betting boards ahead of Jon Rahm.
2018 – Dustin Johnson -24
2017 – Justin Thomas -22
2016 – Jordan Spieth -30
2015 – Patrick Reed -21 *
2014 – Zach Johnson -19
2013 – Dustin Johnson -16 (54 holes)
14/1 and better the balance, prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change
Patrick Reed at 16/1 – each way
Reeds is a past winner here and he was runner up the year after his win so ticks the crucial course form box. He showed some promising signs at the end of 2018 and I am backing him for a quick start.
Marc Leishman at 28/1 – each way
Leishman finished 23rd on debut but then returned after a 4 year absence to run T7 last year so he is clearly getting to grips with the course. He was in good form towards the end of 2018 and is a player the bookies tend to underestimate.
Aaron Wise at 45/1 – each way
Wise makes his course debut but he showed me enough last season to suggest he could be a surprise contender and given this is a limited field I am tempted by the price.
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