Sentry Tournament of Champions Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The Plantation Course, Kapalua Resort - Maui, Hawaii, USA - Par 73, 7,500 Yards
The opening event of 2020 is at a course that is equally as familiar as it is dramatic, as last year's winning PGA Tour players head to Maui for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. As the name suggests, only those that have won on the PGA Tour in 2019 get an invite, and few turn down the chance to kick off the new year in such beautiful surroundings. Kapalua is regularly the longest course on Tour, and is set to be so again this year with the major venues not the longest - Kiawah comes closest at 7,250 yards. That length is more than offset by the generous terrain and five par 5s that make this regularly one of the lowest scoring venues on Tour (Jordan Spieth posted 30 under par 4 years ago). Most holes are down hill and there is generally little trouble. The biggest danger here is the ball rolling too far as the fairways are abridged and don't run all the way to the green on most holes.
The average width of the fairways at Kapalua is over 50 yards so it will be rare to see the players hitting from the rough (although what there is is incredibly sparse). This is definitely a second shot course, and most players will just hit the driver without much thought. The second shots become slightly more tricky, especially if the winds bow as is possible atop the steep cliff faces of Maui. It isn't unusual to see gusts of over 60 mph and we have had days lost in two of the last four years for this reason. The greens themselves are large, undulating, slow surfaces that are receptive and offer up a number of birdie opportunities. The slowness is also a factor that reduces the advantage of the strongest putters, and any player can go low on any day if they have confidence in their stroke and are aggressive on the greens.
Taking away the threat from the wind, Kapalua plays exactly as it is; a generous, low scoring, resort course. All the par 5s are either birdie or eagle chances, and scores of 30 under par have been achieved here twice; the only course to have that honour aside from La Qunita where we will be for the American Express in a few weeks. The winner this week will need to gain their advantage on proximity of their approach shots, and to putt well on the slow Bermuda greens.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
With a 2nd place under his belt here in 2018, and a red hot end to 2019, John Rahm (4/1) arrives as the stand out favourite. Rahm has the ideal game for most courses, but should really enjoy the challenge of Kapalua. Of his two starts here, i would class last year's 8th as more of the anomaly, and look to his 2nd place behind Dustin Johnson in 2018 as a pointer to how i expect the Spaniard to perform here. That 2nd was in a wind affected event where 16 under par was the highest runners up score for 10 years. Last year Rahm posted 13 under par to finish 10 back, and i expect him to revert back to his performance of two years ago and challenge strongly this week. John is an exceptional iron player and favours slower Bermuda type putting surfaces such as those at Kapalua. In Rahm continues to support this event, I expect that he will be a multiple winner in Maui and he is certainly one to keep on side this week in a field of just 34 players.
Justin Thomas (5/1), the 2017 winner, and who finished 3rd last season is second in the market behind Rahm following an almost as impressive end to 2019. Thomas claimed an impressive win at The Barclays and was second entering the final week of the PGA Tour playoffs before a disappointing week at East Lake. He made just a solitary appearance during the off season, finishing 5th at the WGC in Shanghai, and enjoyed a mixed bag at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Thomas' two other starts in this event have seen him miss the top 20, but the course is no doubt a good fit if he arrives on form and motivated. Although Thomas is certainly a contender, i can't have him just a point bigger than Rahm, and for that reason alone I am happy to leave him here.
Three Americans (including two former winners) make up the rest of the leading places with Xander Schauffele (7/1), Dustin Johnson (10/1), and Patrick Cantlay (11/1) all looking to start 2020 with a bang. Schauffele won last year on 23 under par on just his second visit, and ended last year with a run of four consecutive top 10s before a strong showing at the President's Cup, making him impossible to rule out. Xander is a golfing chameleon, and can adapt to any course. Whilst this gives him less of a specific edge at Kapalua, he is likely to put in a strong showing. Whether he wins i'm not sure and the price looks too short. Johnson will look back on 2019 with little warmth as recurring injuries forced him to miss much of the second half of the year after an average start that has seen him replaced as the World number one. Despite his obvious course synergy (two wins since 2011 and never outside the top 10 in that time), it's difficult to back him straight off the back of such a long lay off in this competitive, albeit reduced, field. Cantlay is making just his second appearance having finished 15th back in 2018. Similarly to Schauffele, he can adapt his game to most venues, but his form towards the end of 2019 was not as strong, and he has had a long lay off despite an average showing in Melbourne two weeks ago. He is another i will be leaving alone here.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
I have gone for just the two tips in this reduced field this week as we look to build up the bank for 2020, and that has meant foregoing the favourite who is without doubt a major threat. Aside from Rahm, one that I really like the look of, and who will not be lacking in any motivation, is last year's US Open winner Gary Woodland. Gary is a huge hitter of the ball, and the length of Kapalua gives him a significant advantage over many of his peers. Making his third appearance here last year, Woodland came second behind Schauffele, and he comes in this week in far better form having posted top 10s in three of his last four events in Asia. Wins come naturally for many in the top half of the field, and a limited event might hold less motivation for some, but Woodland is looking to consolidate his place in the World's top 10, and needs all the points he can get, starting in Hawaii.
Although long off the tee, Woodland traditionally did have a fairly high ball flight which has been to his detriment on some of his earlier visits here. He worked on a more piercing ball flight in 2018 and the rewards have been obvious and significant; both with his performances here, and that win around Pebble Beach where wind was a significant factor in June of last year. A good putting week is a necessity, but with his huge driving and relatively strong proximity with the approaches to the green (44th on Tour in 2019) Woodland looks a solid proposition here. I'm starting with 2 points e/w at 16 /1.
Other Golf Betting Tip
Thirty four year old American Brendon Todd has undergone a stunning revival over the past three months, coming from the seeming golfing wilderness to claim back to back PGA Tour titles (as he did in 2014) and place himself back amongst the winners here in Maui. Those wins at the Bermuda Championship, and at Mayakoba were on wind swept courses where Todd was simply untouchable. Those results qualified him for the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai where he finished 4th on a course that is often compared loosely to Kapalua (mostly due to the easy driving and large greens), and there is no doubt that Todd comes in this week as one of the hottest, and most highly motivated players. Brendon isn't short from the tee, but it's not an area where he is gaining on the field here. The reason behind having him on our side is his remarkable consistency, and that when he gets on hot runs, he is generally able to maintain them for a number of weeks. Back in 2014 after his win at the Byron Nelson, he turned up here and finished 8th on his first visit, and with that performance under his belt, i expect a strong showing from Todd.
The keys this week are going to be that he doesn't fall behind the big hitters, and just concentrates on his own game. I don't expect Todd to reach the dizzy heights of thirty under par, but if the winning score doesn't get too much above minus twenty, then his chances are as good as any in his price bracket, and many below him. Todd is a value bet with 1 point e/w at 40/1.
Following a rolling profit of 463 points in 2019, i am looking for an even better 2020. Each week I will pick between 2 to 4 selections at each event on the European and PGA Tours, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||Event 1: South Africa Open - Jan 9th|
|PGA Tour||Event 1: Sentry TOC - Jan 2nd|
Play Starburst at Bet UK
*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
If you are betting on the Sentry Tournament Of Champions, please gamble responsibly and remember that when the fun stops, stop. All players must be 18+, BeGambleAware.org.