Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Sentry Tournament of Champions

The 2021 calendar year kicks off with a strong -- but small -- field at Kapalua. Which golfers are the best plays on FanDuel?

By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel's daily fantasy golf offering.

Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week. It's a great balance between time to research and time spent tracking your team.

But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.

Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.

Key Stats

Key Stats for the Sentry Tournament of Champions
at Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort
Driving Distance
Strokes Gained: Approach
Par 5 Scoring
Strokes Gained: Putting (on Bermuda)
Birdie or Better Rate

We've got ourselves a rare par 73 to start 2021 at a course -- Kapalua -- that played 4 yards shy of 7,600 last year. There are only three par 3s and four par 5s, and all of the par 5s were the four easiest holes on the course (as expected). Failing to post birdies on the par 5s will lead to trouble gaining on the leaderboard for our golfers over 16 chances total.

Via datagolf, driving distance is about as vital here as any course on the PGA Tour, and the most similar courses are Torrey Pines, Riviera, and Augusta National. Coincidentally, the least similar course to Kapalua is El Camaleon, the site of the most recent PGA Tour event. Just a reminder that recent finishes can be misleading.

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out our course primer from Mike Rodden.

Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour. Putting surface splits include the past 100 rounds when possible, unless noted. Ranks and percentile ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Justin Thomas (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +750) - Thomas is a two-time winner at Kapalua, including a playoff win last year. There's more to like than just that, of course, as he ranks first in the field in strokes gained: approach and in birdie or better rate over the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour. Thomas is 10th in the 42-golfer field in driving distance gained and just -- overall -- seems to be a high-floor play each year at Kapalua. He's 10.1% likely to win, per my simulations, trailing only Dustin Johnson (10.7%). All the studs are in play this week, but Thomas has it all.

Xander Schauffele ($11,400 | +1100) - Xander nearly repeated as the Tournament of Champions champion last year, but a bogey on 18 opened the door for a three-man playoff between he, Thomas, and Patrick Reed. Schauffele is top-12 in both ball-striking stats (strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach) in the field and is a good Bermuda putter (0.14 stokes per round) despite the fact that it's his worst surface between the three primary putting surfaces. He's always locked in out in Hawaii, which alleviates concerns that this is merely a vacation for Schauffele.

Others to Consider:
Bryson DeChambeau ($11,600 | + 1100) - Obviously all the studs are in play, but Bryson has the required distance and pairs with Schauffele as a more salary-friendly stud duo than other options for a more balanced lineup build.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,000 | +2000) - Top 13 in both ball-striking stats and a viable 18th in distance; just a field-average Bermuda putter, though.

Mid-Range Picks

Daniel Berger ($10,000 | +3000) - Berger hasn't played Kapalua in two years but was here the two years prior to that hiatus, and he finished top-15 in each (14th and 11th). Berger is actually one of four golfers to rank in the 50th percentile or better in strokes gained: off the tee, strokes gained: approach, distance, and strokes gained: putting on Bermuda greens (the others being Dustin Johnson [$12,200], Jon Rahm [$11,800], and Schauffele [$11,400]). That puts Berger in great company for this week at a very reasonable salary.

Harris English ($9,900 | +3000) - English has been flushing it and is one of the best short-game golfers in the field, but the ball-striking is viable: 21st off the tee and 28th in approach. English also gains an average of 0.46 strokes per round on Bermuda greens, putting him in the 88th-percentile among the field on the surface. He hasn't played here since 2014, but he finished 11th that year.

Others to Consider:
Adam Scott ($9,000 | +4500) - Has been underperforming but has the distance (12th) and irons (3rd) to fare well; just not a good Bermuda putter (-0.23 strokes per round).
Abraham Ancer ($8,800 | +4500) - Not very long (33rd of 42) and just neutral on Bermuda but did finish 13th at the distance-heavy Augusta National. A long-term form play.
Cameron Champ ($8,600 | +4000) - Super long off the tee with two top-15 finishes at Kapalua. Only positive surface is Bermuda.

Low-Salaried Picks

Jason Kokrak ($8,000 | +7500) - Kokrak's sort of average when putting on Bermuda, so that means it's good enough that we can take a chance on his ball-striking for this week. He ranks 4th in distance gained, 6th in strokes gained: off the tee, and 20th in strokes gained: approach over the past 100 rounds on Tour. Since his win at the CJ CUP (a no-cut event), he was 17th at the ZOZO (another no-cut event) and then cut at the Masters and RSM. But the long-term form is good for the salary.

Sebastian Munoz ($7,500 | +10000) - Munoz is one of three golfers to rank in the 40th percentile or better in strokes gained: off the tee (44th), approach (59th), distance (46th), and Bermuda putting (76th). The other two are actually Berger and Kokrak. So they shape up to be a strong value trio relative to expectations. Munoz putts best on Bermuda greens of any surface and went top-15 at the CJ CUP and ZOZO before a 19th at the Masters.

Others to Consider:
Lanto Griffin ($7,200 | +12000) - A much better pick than most down here; one of 11 golfers in the 40th percentile or better in approach, distance, and Bermuda putting. No golfers in the past two optimal lineups here had a salary below $8,100. It's best to go with a more balanced build in no-cut events than punting with multiple bottom-tier values. Munoz, Kokrak, and Griffin stand out as those possible options.