For a track where 20-plus under par tends to win, Kapalua’s Plantation course was a tougher test than players are used to seeing.
Winds of around 20 MPH buffeted the course throughout the day at the Tournament of Champions. Most of the players were able to get it around and finish under par, but the birdies weren’t as plentiful as we’ve become accustomed to seeing.
Marc Leishman holds the first round lead at 6-under par with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson lurking a couple of shots behind.
Fowler at 4-under is the favorite now at +400, with Leishman and Johnson checking in at +500.
All three of them came in to this event with good form, so to see that trio at the top of the betting sheet after a day isn’t a surprise.
One number I’d look at betting if you’re just jumping in is Si Woo Kim at 28-1. Kim is one of those guys who runs really hot or really cold, and when he’s on, he can take down any tournament. This week, he appears to have his “A” game after leading the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green after 18 holes. He’s 4-under now, and if the putter heats up at all he could be in for a good run this weekend.
After my Jordan Spieth bet, I’m pretty much tapped out on the bankroll for the winner this week, but I’ll look at Kim in a Friday head-to-head against Jhonattan Vegas at -130. One other matchup I’m looking at is a fade of Patton Kizzire against Chris Stroud. Kizzire putted better than anyone on Thursday, but only shot 1-under. If that cools off, he could be in for a big number. Stroud, who is +135 in the matchup, had a better ball striking day — with the irons, at least — and if he gets his chipping around the field average, I think he’ll win that head-to-head.
ALSO SEE: Pre-tournament betting preview
Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22
Photo: © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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