2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds, Picks: Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama, More
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Sungjae Im.
- The PGA Tour is back with the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui.
- Matt Vincenzi has three outright picks, which he lays out below.
Click arrow to expand 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions odds via bet365
The PGA TOUR makes it return this week as we look for Sentry Tournament of Champions picks 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 event and usually plays pretty easy. Five of the past six winners have finished with a score of -22 or better, and last year’s champion, Cameron Smith, set the tournament record by finishing at -34. Wide fairways and soft greens typically make the event scoreable, but coastal wind and elevation changes can occasionally make some shots difficult.
The field will feature 40 of the world’s top golfers. All of the winners on the PGA TOUR from last season in addition to the 30 golfers that made it to East Lake (top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings) have received an invite. The only player who qualified but will not play is Rory McIlroy.
Past Winners at Sentry Tournament of Champions
- 2022: Cameron Smith (-34)
- 2021: Harris English (-25)
- 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 (78.9%), just getting on the putting surface won’t cut it. In a very 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:
- Tom Kim (+29.7) (+2000)
- Tom Hoge (+26.4) (+6000)
- Will Zalatoris (+21.2) (+2800)
- Collin Morikawa (+19.9) (+2000)
- Tony Finau (+19.4) (+1800)
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 a strong off-the-tee game should end up with a wedge in their hand for their approach shot which will give them an advantage on the shorter hitters. Although Smith isn’t known for SG: OTT, he led the field last season on his way to victory (+4.0).
Total Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in past 24 rounds:
- Sungjae Im (+19.6) (+2000)
- Scottie Scheffler (+18.9) (+1200)
- Tony Finau (+18.8) (+1800)
- Justin Thomas (+17.6) (+1200)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+16.4) (+1800)
Proximity 100-125 Yards
With a good deal of short par 4s 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 2023 edition.
Proximity 100-125 in past 24 rounds:
- Tom Hoge (+8.5) (+6000)
- Russell Henley (+8.3) (+5000)
- Chez Reavie (+6.2) (+12500)
- Justin Thomas (+5.9) (+1200)
- Seamus Power (+5.4) (+4500)
Strokes Gained: Par 5
Taking advantage of all of the par 5s will be crucial this week. Historically, par-5 scoring has been more indicative of the winner at this tournament than par-3 or par-4 scoring. The player who posts the lowest cumulative score on the par-5 holes will put themselves in a good position to win come Sunday.
Total Strokes Gained: Par 5 in Past 24 rounds
- Sungjae Im (+18.1) (+2000)
- Xander Schauffele (+15.6) (+1400)
- Patrick Cantlay (+14.6) (+1400)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (+13.2) (+1800)
- Justin Thomas (+11.1) (+1200)
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. There have been a good deal of elite putters (Smith, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth) who have had great success at Kapalua in the past.
Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:
- Jordan Spieth (+20.1) +(2000)
- Patrick Cantlay (+10.2) (+1400)
- Xander Schauffele (+9.4) (+1800)
- Adam Scott (+8.4) (+6000)
- J.T. Poston (+5.4) (+8500)
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%)
- Xander Schauffele (+1400)
- Will Zalatoris (+2800)
- Tony Finau (+1800)
- Patrick Cantlay (+1400)
- Sungjae Im (+2000)
- Justin Thomas (+1200)
- Tom Kim (+2000)
- Tom Hoge (+6000)
- Cameron Young (+2000)
- Scottie Scheffler (+1200)
2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Picks
Sungjae Im (+2000 | DraftKings)
Sungjae Im had a solid overall season in 2022 but failed to convert his strong play into any wins. He had three second-place finishes and was knocking at the door in numerous events before falling short. At 24 years old, Im’s best golf is still ahead of him, and I believe he’s poised for a breakout campaign in 2023.
Kapalua sets up well for the South Korean, and he’s shown his fondness for the course by finishing eighth and fifth in his only two starts there. With the elevation, balls are going a lot further so his lack of distance off the tee shouldn’t be a major detriment to his chances. With wide fairways and greens, getting hot with the putter and being able to effectively lag-putt are important factors, and he excels in both categories.
Kapalua also features a unique setup with five par 5s. Despite not being one of the more powerful players on TOUR, Im thrives at taking advantage of par 5s. He ranks first in the field in par-5 scoring in his past 24 rounds.
Im has the game to win multiple events on TOUR this season, and I believe he will start his season off with a bang and earn a victory in Maui.
Hideki Matsuyama (+4000 | FanDuel)
Hideki Matsuyama started off 2022 with a victory in his second start of the season at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Unfortunately, the rest of the year didn’t go as well for the former Masters champion as inconsistent play coupled with a neck injury prevented him from contending much after that.
If there is anyone who could benefit from the PGA TOUR offseason, it’s Matsuyama. Typically a very private person, the aforementioned neck injury and early season LIV rumors gave him far more negative attention than he’d like to get. The calendar flipping to 2023 combined with some much-needed rest could be exactly what he needs to start off the season on the right track.
The 30-year-old has been excellent at Kapalua throughout his career. From 2015-2018 he finished third, second and fourth in his three trips to Kapalua. His past two starts haven’t gone as well (41st and 13th) but he’s shown that he’s capable of stringing together multiple low rounds at the course.
Matsuyama’s inconsistent play for most of 2022 is absolutely baked into his price on the betting board this week. His odds are on par with players who he’s simply more talented than. At this price, it’s worth the gamble to see if a refreshed Matsuyama can find form to kick off the year.
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Billy Horschel (+6000 | DraftKings)
I typically look for players with strong course history at Kapalua, but the number on Billy Horschel has gotten a bit too big for me to ignore this week. Besides, it can be argued that Billy is a different player heading into 2023 than he was in years past. The 36-year-old is coming off a season where he won the Memorial Tournament, which considering the field and prestige of the event was the biggest victory of his career, and his first ever Presidents Cup selection. There’s no doubt that Horschel’s confidence should be at an all-time high as he heads into the 2023 season.
Despite it not clicking so far at Kapalua, there’s no reason why the course shouldn’t suit the seven-time PGA TOUR winner. Players who can get hot with the putter on Bermudagrass have fared well here, and he’s one of the better putters on the surface when he’s in form. His lack of distance off the tee will be mitigated by the elevation changes so there shouldn’t be a major disadvantage in that regard. Last season, Billy showed that he can compete with the best of the best with his victory at Muirfield Village. At long odds, I believe he has a chance to get in the mix once again at Kapalua.