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2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Final Round Picks: Collin Morikawa Poised for Win

2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Final Round Picks: Collin Morikawa Poised for Win article feature image
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Pictured: Collin Morikawa. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

There were many big stories on TOUR last season and one of the more shocking ones was Collin Morikawa’s winless year. He looks ready to quickly put that to rest in 2023 as he stormed to a six-shot lead through the first three rounds of this year’s opening event.

He pulled away from the likes of Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, notching a birdie on three of his final four holes to close out an 8-under round on Saturday. I’d love to tell you I have some great plan for someone who can chase him down on Sunday, but Morikawa seems to have this one wrapped up like a present on Christmas. I certainly won’t be sinking any money into the outright market chasing him, but let’s see if he or someone for a placement position has some value going into Sunday.

Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

Morikawa has been the best player in the field this week by a large margin and he is showing it on the leaderboard through three rounds. The major champion has a six-shot edge and, in a rare twist of events, he has his putter to thank for that lead. He was the second best player in the field on the greens on Saturday and has been the best over the entire week.

We have seen in his past that when he is hot on the greens, he can hold it that way through an entire event and even when he doesn’t have his absolute best tee-to-green, he can win with his putter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him extend this lead on Sunday, but even if he doesn’t, this isn’t typically a course that plays to players coming from several shots back to win. I’m putting this one in the books for Morikawa on Sunday and while -500 on DraftKings is too much, it is a play I wouldn’t hate pairing with my favorite NFL bet of the day for some parlay fun.

You know the tournament is all but wrapped up when books start offering markets without the leader. BetMGM is doing that going into Sunday as they have some options without Morikawa and that may be the most interesting market to play in the final round.

The problem is that nothing really jumps off the page. Matthew Fitzpatrick found it a bit on Saturday and is just behind the odds of Scheffler and Jon Rahm, who struggled on approach in the third round.

I think I would go just one shot further back to Tom Kim, who gained better than two shots on the field with his irons in each of the first two rounds, but struggled putting. He finally gained some strokes with the flat stick on Saturday, but his ball striking wasn’t quite as sharp. I think he can put it all together Sunday and be the guy with a combination of form and odds to play this market prior to the final round at +900 on BetMGM.

If you’ve been following this column over the past couple of years, you know I have a soft spot for K.H. Lee. Take this with a grain of salt, but I really like Lee heading into Sunday in Hawaii.

He has improved each and every day on approach this week and it built to a 7-under round Saturday. If he can continue that progress, he has a chance to close the gap between him and a top-five type of finish, but with DraftKings giving us plus money at top-10, I’ll happily take it.

We can get +125 on a player who is trending in the right direction after a strong day ball striking on Saturday, leaving him ranking seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green in Round 3.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3

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