After a short offseason, golf is back this week with the Sentry Tournament of Champions hosted at the Plantation course at Kapalua in Hawaii. This is the first of the new elevated events series in 2023, so we are seeing a stronger field than usual. We have 39 players in total and the only top player missing is Rory McIlroy. We are in for a treat this week as this course is great for TV and allows players to make birdies by the bunches.
So what skills are needed to succeed at the Plantation Course? The fairways here are some of the widest you will ever see, so driving accuracy isn’t that important. The biggest emphasis this week will be on approach shots inside 150 yards and the ability to convert scoring chances as players are going to go low. Those who have creativity both chipping and putting tend to have success here. Let’s take a look at a few players to target this week:
Justin Thomas $9,900
JT is the No. 1 ranked player in my model for this week and for good reason. He ranks top five in approach inside 150 yards, birdies, par-5 scoring, and around the green. That’s a pretty good recipe for success. If he has any semblance of a putter this week, he will contend and add to his great record at Kapalua, where he boasts five top-five finishes, including two wins, in seven starts.
Sungjae Im $8,300
I’m pretty sure DraftKings is suffering from a New Year’s hangover if they are pricing Sungjae like this for this week. He will be one of the most popular plays of the week and for great reason. He ranks fourth overall in my data model, thanks to top-10 rankings off the tee, around the green, birdies, and in putting. His approach play has been hit or miss over the last year but when he is having a good week with the irons, he contends. He has had multiple close calls with victory the last year, which is keeping his price down a bit this week. There is a very good chance Im finishes top eight for the third straight year at Kapalua.
Jordan Spieth $8,200
Spieth is going a bit under the radar this week now that this elevated event has nearly all of the top players. Historically, Spieth has excelled on the same courses year after year with some clearly benefiting his game more than others. Kapalua is a great setup for him as driving accuracy isn’t as important and creativity both on approach and on and around the greens is key. Jordan has three top-three finishes, including a win, in five starts at Kapalua. $8,200 is too cheap of a price tag for the upside that Spieth brings.
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