Sentry Tournament of Champions
Starts Thursday 7th January
Plantation Course, Kapalua, Maui Hawaii.
The PGA Tour returns after the holiday season and starts for 2021 in Maui Hawaii at the Plantation Course in Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
The field of forty-two players who qualified for either winning on the PGA Tour or qualifying for the 2020 Tour Championships, this revised criterion of qualification has meant that seventeen of the total field have qualified as non-winners in a tournament usually consisting of calendar winners only
Players choosing not to commit include Tyrrell Hatton and Rory Mcilroy World ranked numbers ten and four respectively. The rest of the top ten golfers all line up in the field
Unsurprisingly the recent winners have all been star-studded with current world number one Dustin Johnson clinching the title twice in 2013 and 2018 the latter by eight shots a margin never been bettered since David Duval won in 1999.
Defending champion Justin Thomas who beat Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed in a playoff in 2020 is also a multiple winner capturing the event in 2017 as well.
Since first staging the event in 1999 the Plantation Course was a birdie fest with Jordan Spieth and Ernie Els both breaking the 30 under par barrier in 2016 and 2003.
Before last year the average winning score between 2015 & 2019 was 24 under par although it was only -14 that qualified you for a playoff the last term.
Previous winners in recent years include Zach Johnson in 2014 which would suggest length is not a prerequisite although the former Masters Champion does tend to buck a lot of trends, but it appears even the bombers played the track more cautiously last season.
Sentry Tournament of Champions Preview
Bryson Dechambeau last played the tournament in 2019 when finishing 7th and nine shots behind winner Xander Schauffele and although he is only 10/1 fourth favourite there do appear to be plenty of other players at the top of the market with rock-solid course form.
Dustin Johnson has not played since his emotional US Masters triumph back in early November so 6/1 seems quite short and for that reasons, I would rather side with players who played in mid-December before the holiday season
Xander Schauffele, the winner here in 2019 and beaten in a playoff last year has a great record in non-cut small fields.
Five of his six wins on the PGA Tour and Euro Tour(where he won the WGC HSBC Champions tournament) have been elite, small fields with no cut.
Sometimes Xander can start slowly and these non-cut events allow him to grow into tournaments and produce his best golf at the business end of the event. Currently, world-ranked at number six Schauffele looks great each-way value at 10/1 five places with Bet 365. In the last three years on the PGA Tour Xander has an over 30% conversion rate for top ten finishes and should contend this week in a field that is small and has players that would not normally qualify for such an event
Justin Thomas, hard to see world number three not being a factor this week. Defending champion and multiple winners here enjoys playing in Hawaii wherein 2017 he became only the seventh player to shoot a 59 in the Sony Open.
Thomas played well in December finishing a tidy twelfth in Mayakoba after his fourth-place behind Dustin Johnson in the delayed US Masters in November
The odds of 7/1 look very fair in a tournament that rarely springs a total surprise.
In the last ten years, the average price of the winner has been only 16/1 since Jonathan Byrd won at 100/1 in 2011 beating Robert Garrigus in a playoff.
Justin Thomas 1pt e.w @ 7/1 Bet 365
Xander Schauffele 1pt e.w @ 10/1 Bet 365