Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Sentry Tournament of Champions
The PGA is back, just in time to start up the new calendar year.
It's not exactly the Masters this week, as 34 golfers head to Hawaii to tackle the Plantation Course at Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Despite a small field, the list is full of big names because -- you guessed it -- they're all champions, having won a tournament during the prior year of PGA Tour action.
What should you know about this particular course?
Course and Tournament Overview
The 34-golfer event features no cut, naturally, and the course itself is a 7,452-yard par 73. The long course has played, well, pretty easily over the past 10 years.
|Year||Difficulty Rank||Course||Par||Yds||Avg Score||Avg O/U Par|
|2017||50||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,452||70.375||-2.625|
|2016||50||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,452||69.805||-3.195|
|2015||52||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,452||69.925||-3.075|
|2014||46||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,452||70.583||-2.417|
|2013||32||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,452||72.111||-0.889|
|2012||48||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,411||70.444||-2.556|
|2011||51||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,411||70.086||-2.914|
|2010||52||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,411||69.884||-3.116|
|2009||47||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,411||70.515||-2.485|
|2008||50||Plantation Course at Kapalua||73||7,411||70.935||-2.065|
Per FantasyGolfMetrics.com, the winner has averaged 21.1 strokes under par since 2003. Which stats can we look to to try to find this year's winner?
Strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: putting always help identify some of the field's best options, but here are the most important stats to seek this week.
|Key Stats for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Putting|
|Birdie or Better Rate|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Proximity to Hole|
This list sounds simplistic, but the key this week is making good on birdie chances. The fairways are wide and easy to hit, so emphasis on accuracy is lessened.
The large (but easy-to-hit) greens require strong putting performances. The issue there is that putting isn't exactly reliable week-to-week, but this isn't the type of course to ignore putting splits.
Sharp play around the green and proximity to the hole to make the putting easier is a way around navigating the large greens.
Essentially, there are multiple ways golfers could excel at this course, be it launches off the tee, flawless iron play, and strong scrambling. That's part of why the course plays easily.
Past History Studs
Dustin Johnson is the course horse this year, as he's played Kapalua seven times; nobody else in this field has played it more than thrice. DJ's recent finishes are promising, too: 6th last year, 10th in 2016, 6th in 2014, 1st in 2013, and 9th in 2011.
Two other golfers have teed off here in three different years. Jordan Spieth won here in 2016 and followed it up with a T3 last year. In 2014, his debut, he was second. Jason Dufner's results aren't quite as impressive: 18th in 2013, 5th in 2014, and 21st a year ago.
Justin Thomas, last year's winner (after a 21st in 2016), is the only other winner in the field besides Dustin Johnson and Spieth.
Hideki Matsuyama has played here twice, with a second last year and a third in 2015. Other than Spieth, Johnson, and Matsuyama, only Rickie Fowler has multiple top-six finishes (6th in 2013 and 5th in 2016).
In total, 14 of the 34 golfers are debutants.