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2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at Kapalua?

2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at Kapalua? article feature image

Francois Nel/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed

The PGA TOUR makes it triumphant return this week with the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course in Maui. Kapalua is a unique par 73 measuring 7,515 yards.

The Tournament of Champions is a no-cut — and usually very low-scoring — affair, but due to very windy conditions the 2019 edition played much more difficult. Wide fairways and soft greens typically make the event quite score-able, with coastal wind and elevation changes being the courses only real defenses.

Typically, we only see winners from the previous season participate in the the Tournament of Champions (hence the name), however this year the field has been extended to include golfer’s who participated in last year’s TOUR Championship. As a result, the tournaments boasts it’s largest ever field with 42 golfers scheduled to tee it up.

Predictably, the field is absolutely loaded with the top golfer’s in the world. The only players who qualified but will not play are Rory McIlroy,  Tyrrell Hatton and longshot Wyndham Championship winner Jim Herman (COVID-19).

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Past Winners at Sentry Tournament of Champions

  • 2020: Justin Thomas (-14)
  • 2019: Xander Schauffele (-23)
  • 2018: Dustin Johnson (-24)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-22)
  • 2016: Jordan Spieth (-30)
  • 2015: Patrick Reed (-21)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Kapalua’s Plantation Course to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

With Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentages extremely high at Kapalua, just getting on the putting surface won’t be enough. In a low-scoring event, golfers will need to have their irons and wedges dialed in to provide scoring opportunities.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  1. Dustin Johnson (+31.8) (+800)
  2. Tony Finau (+15.6) (+2200)
  3. Justin Thomas (+15.3) (+800)
  4. Hideki Matsuyama (+12.6) (+2000)
  5. Lanto Griffin (+10.4) (+12500)

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Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

With fairways being wide and easy to hit, bombers should be able to let it rip off the tee this week. Golfers with strong off-the-tee should end up with a wedge in their hand for their approach shot which will give them an advantage on the shorter hitters.

Total Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in past 24 rounds:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+24.3) (+1200)
  2. Jon Rahm (+22.8) (+800) 
  3. Sergio Garcia (+22.2) (+8000)
  4. Scottie Scheffler (+18.0) (+3500)
  5. Joaquin Niemann(+18.0) (+4500)

Proximity 100-125

With a good deal of short par 4’s on the course and easy-to-hit fairways, golfers will have wedges in their hands looking to attack pins. Historically, wedge play has been a major factor in determining a winner in Maui, and I expect that to continue in the 2021 edition.

Proximity 100-125 in past 24 rounds:

  1. Dustin Johnson (+171.7) (+800)
  2. Justin Thomas (+165.1) (+800)
  3. Kevin Na (+148.5) (+9000)
  4. Nick Taylor (+133.1) (+40000)
  5. Jon Rahm (+104.4) (+800)

Strokes Gained: Par 5

The Plantation Course at Kapalua presents an uncommon five par 5’s, and with the Par 3’s being relatively tough at this track, taking advantage of all of the par 5’s will be crucial this week. The player who posts the lowest cumulative score on the Par 5’s holes will put themselves in a good position to win come Sunday.

Total Strokes Gained: Par 5 in past 24 rounds

  1. Cameron Smith (+20.9) (+4500)
  2. Tony Finau (+16.4) (+2200)
  3. Dustin Johnson (+16.0) (+800)
  4. Jon Rahm (+14.2) (+800)
  5. Xander Schauffele (+12.2) (+1000)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) (Velcro)

The Bermudagrass greens at Kapalua are notoriously slow. In a low-scoring event, golfers will need to make a lot of putts to win, and those who prefer putting on slow Bermuda should have the advantage. Some elite putters (Reed, Spieth) have had great success here in the past.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Patrick Reed (+13.6)+(1800)
  2. Kevin Kisner (+9.2) (+5000)
  3. Patrick Cantlay(+6.5) (+1800)
  4. Adam Scott (+4.7) (+5500)
  5. Sebastian Munoz(+4.4) (+12500)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (25%) SG: OTT (20%); SG: Par 5 (20%); Prox 100-125 (15%); and SG: Putting (Bermudagrass) (Velcro) (15%)

  1. Dustin Johnson (+800)
  2. Jon Rahm (+800)
  3. Patrick Reed(+1800)
  4. Tony Finau (+2200)
  5. Daniel Berger (+2800)
  6. Sungjae Im (+4500)
  7. Bryson DeChambeau (+1200)
  8. Xander Schauffele (+1000)
  9. Justin Thomas(+800)
  10. Webb Simpson (+1800)

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