2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions First-Round Leader: Russell Henley, Hideki Matsuyama Among Picks

2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions First-Round Leader: Russell Henley, Hideki Matsuyama Among Picks article feature image

Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley.

  • The PGA Tour kicks off 2023 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
  • Matt Vincenzi breaks down this three FRL picks in Maui below.

After a relatively short offseason, the PGA Tour heads to the Plantation Course at Kapalua to play the Sentry Tournament of Champions. There will be plenty of star power in Maui as all of last year's winners (minus Rory McIlroy) plus the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings will tee it up.

With such a small field, there shouldn't be a major difference between tee times, and it will be a fairly even playing field across the board. 

As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any significant wind or precipitation in the forecast, so this is as straightforward as it gets in terms of a first-round leader bet. 

Sentry Tournament of Champions First-Round Leader Picks

Hideki Matsuyama +3100 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 10:05 a.m. Local Time

As I discussed in my event preview, there are plenty of questions surrounding the health of Hideki Matsuyama this season. However, after a six-week layoff and the simple fact that he’s choosing to make the trip to Maui this week tells me he feels well physically prior to teeing it up.

If There are only a handful of golfers in the field who have had more success at the course without a win, and Matsuyama will be looking to build off of three prior top-five finishes.

When Matsuyama is in form, he tends to fly out of the gates. The odds are enticing for a player of his caliber, and I imagine they’ll keep floating some big numbers until the Japanese star proves he can round back into form. Therefore, I’ll be buying early and often in 2023 on him as long as we don’t see any lingering neck issues.

Pick: Hideki Matsuyama First-Round Leader

Russell Henley +3500

First-Round Tee Time: 11:10 a.m. Local Time

I really like the course fit for Russell Henley this week. Although it was back in 2015, Henley has a third-place finish at Kapalua in just his second ever start at the course. He will have a good deal of shots from 150 yards and in this week, and he really excels with a wedge in his hand.

Henley won the WWT at Mayakoba at the end of last season, and that should give him a great deal of confidence heading into the 2023 season. He’s always been supremely talented but lacked the ability to close events down the stretch. Still just 33 years old, it’s possible that Henley can continue to build off of that success in the latter half of his career. He’s typically a good putter on Bermudagrass, and if he can get the putts to fall this week, his propensity to start fast makes him a target in the first-round-leader market.

K.H. Lee +4000

First-Round Tee Time: 11:00 a.m. Local Time

K.H. Lee is a player who can get hot and make birdies in bunches. I also believe he should fit Kapalua quite nicely, despite his struggles in his debut at the course last season.

Lee is extremely inconsistent, but when he gets hot, he can go extremely low. Last season, Lee gained more than three strokes putting in a single round on eight different occasions. At long odds, it’s worth finding out if the South Korean can find some early magic with the putter in Maui.

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