2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions Round 3 Odds and Picks: Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth in Position to Challenge Collin Morikawa
Pictured: Scottie Scheffler. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The 2023 PGA Tour season is underway from Hawaii as last season’s winners, and the rest of the players who made it to East Lake, have gathered at the Kapalua Plantation Course for the Tournament of Champions. We saw several players go low in the opening round as they chase the tournament record of 35-under set last year by champion Cam Smith.
This week, it’s Collin Morikawa who is setting the pace through two rounds as he looks to quickly avenge his winless 2021-2022 season with a victory in his first event of the new year. Morikawa has charged out to 16-under through 36 holes, which gives him a three-shot advantage heading into the weekend. He’s done it with a hot putter, gaining more than four shots on the field with the flat stick to start the week.
I noted Friday that this hasn’t been a place that has allowed many players to come from behind to win over the weekend, but with a player like Morikawa, who can run hot and cold with the putter, we may find some value in chasing him down. Let’s take a look and see if anyone stands out before Round 3 of the first tournament of the year.
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 3
The guy who sticks out from the numbers is the player closest in pursuit, Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler. He’s nearly two strokes ahead of the rest of the field in SG: Tee-to-Green, gaining more than a shot on the field per round in both aspects of his ball striking. Scheffler gained a field-best 3.78 shots with his ball striking in the second round, but even in a 7-under round, he left shots out there with the flat stick.
Scheffler ranks in the bottom 10 of the field with his putting through the first two rounds and it is the single statistic that can be pointed to as the reason for his deficit heading into Round 3. I know the odds for an outright aren’t overly attractive at this stage, but being that he gets to stare down the leader on Saturday, I’d prefer him in that two-ball matchup.
Jordan Spieth simply makes the world of golf a better and more exciting place. His rounds are always must-see TV and that can come on both ends of the spectrum. This week, we are seeing the good Spieth, on a course that plays to his creativity. He’s gaining more than five shots on the field with his play tee-to-green after the first two rounds.
The three-time major champion will go into the weekend just three shots back of Morikawa. I am encouraged by Spieth’s ability to get the putting going a bit in Round 2 because he is always someone who can get white hot on the greens to go really low and get in the mix for the win before Sunday. His volatility can also leave him as likely to fall completely off the first page of the leaderboard, but that’s part of his allure. If I’m looking for an outright into the weekend, I’ll take the flyer on Spieth at +700 heading into Saturday.
While Scheffler was great Friday, he wasn’t as good tee-to-green as Adam Scott. The Aussie dialed it in as he gained 3.76 shots on this elite field in that metric, including 3.7 with his ball striking. The 42-year-old seems ready to show he is still one of the best ball strikers in the world, and as usual, it’s just the putter holding him back this week.
Scott is the third worst in this 39-player field on the greens through two rounds. That leaves him eight shots back as we go into the weekend, which likely removes him from winning contention, but I would be really interested in overnight odds to see if he can erase the two-shot deficit between him and a top-10 finish.