Starts: 6th January 2022
Course: Plantation Course @ Kapalua
Length: 7,596 yards
2021 Champion: Harris English
Overall Profit/Loss: -12.83pts
Pre-Event Bets: -9.5pts
2pts Win Only Justin Thomas 9/1 @ William Hill
1pt Each Way Patrick Reed 28/1@ Ladbrokes (1/5 1-6)
1pt Each Way Harris English 33/1@ Betfair (1/5 1-6)
0.75pts Each Way Marc Leishman 40/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
1pt Each Way Jordan Spieth to be First Round Leader 22/1 @ Skybet (1/4 1-5)
In-Play Bets: -3.33pts
9 January 2022(+0.67pts)
1pt Each Way Justin Thomas without Rahm or Smith market 16/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-3)
1pt Cameron Davis Top 10 Finish 3/1 @ General
7 January 2022 (-4pts)
1pt Each Way Kevin Na (outright) 33/1 @ Mansion Bet (1/4 1-4)
1pt Each Way Erik Van Rooyen 2nd Round Leader 22/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-4)
Course Designer: Coore & Crenshaw
Course Used Since: 1999
Course Type: Coastal/Resort
Fairways: Very wide & undulated
Greens: Extremely large - Bermuda
Par 5's: 5th, 9th, 15th, 18th.
Water Hazards: None
Premium on: Length and putting
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
-The course played significantly tougher in 2020 following renovations in 2019. The greens were not as receptive and the wind was up. Winner that year, Justin Thomas, averaged 69.5 when the winners between 2008-2019 averaged 67.25.
-A number of players have not competed since November. With that in mind, some players might not be at their sharpest.
-Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Between 2017 - 2021, scores ranged between -22 and -25 with the exception of 2020, where a score of -14 won.
There hasn't been a debutant winner at Kapalua since 2008.
Although it is important to have played Kapalua before it's not essential to have posted a big finish here prior to winning. Previous winners course form:
2021 - Harris English hadn't bettered 11th
2020 - Justin Thomas had won at Kapalua in 2017
2019 - Xander Schauffele hadn't bettered 22nd
2018 - Dustin Johnson had triumphed in 2013
2017 - Justin Thomas hadn't bettered 21st
2016 - Jordan Spieth had a 2nd place finish previously
2015 - Patrick Reed hadn't bettered 16th
Although it is the first event of the year, 10 of the last 11 winners all arrived following a top 10 in their previous event, and the other was 14th. Look for someone who played well towards the end of the year.
Americans have dominated here, the last 11 events having been won by them.
The past TEN champions of this event had teed it up competitively the previous December. Do not underestimate those golfers who have taken a short winter break and are suffering less rust.
- Harris English won last year having won the QBE Shootout which ended on 13th December 2020.
- Justin Thomas won in 2020 having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 8th December 2019.
- Xander Schauffele won in 2019, having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 2nd December 2018.
- Dustin Johnson won in 2018, having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 3rd December 2017.
- Justin Thomas won in 2017 having played in the Franklin Templeton Shootout which ended on 10th December 2016.
- Jordan Spieth won in 2016 having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 6th December 2015.
- Patrick Reed won in 2015 having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 7th December 2014 and Franklin Templeton Shootout which ended on 13th December.
- Zach Johnson won in 2014 having won the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge on 7th December 2013.
- Dustin Johnson won in 2013 having played the Hero World Challenge which ended on 2nd December 2012 and Franklin Templeton Shootout which ended on 9th December.
- Steve Stricker won in 2012 having played the 2011 Franklin Templeton Shootout which ended on 11 December.
First Round Leader
Six of the past eight first round leaders have come from the final six pairings on Thursday.
2021: Harris English and Justin Thomas jointly led after the opening 18 holes. English went out in the 6th last group, Thomas went out last.
2020: Joaquin Niemann played in the 5th group but the three players immediately behind him on the leaderboard all played in the final five groups.
2019: Kevin Tway led when playing in the 2nd group. However two of the three players in 2nd place played in the final two groups.
2018: Marc Leishman led when playing in the 3rd last group on Thursday.
2017: Jimmy Walker led with a 65 having teed off in the 5th last group. Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore were two of the three players in 2nd after 18 holes and they played 3rd and 4th last.
2016: Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth were 1st and 2nd after round one when playing together in the final group.
2015: Russell Henley led when playing in the 5th last group.
2014: Two (Jordan Spieth and Webb Simpson) of the four first round leaders played in the 3rd last group.
We are looking for a solid all round game to win here.
SG: Off The Tee
Solid driving is required as four of the past five winners have ranked no worse than 6th in this category. The only one that didn't? Harris English was 8th last year.
It is notable that driving accuracy is not important here as some fairways are over 50 yards wide. Only one winner in the last 10 years has ranked inside the top 10 for driving accuracy.
Due to the size of the greens, proximity to hole is important. The past five winners have ranked 12th, 2nd, 4th, 7th and 7th (most recent first) in this category.
SG: Around The Green
The past five winners have ranked 25th, 8th, 4th, 4th and 13th (most recent first) in this category.
The past five winners ranked 1st, 13th, 3rd, 6th and 4th in this category. Due to the large greens, the ability to lag putts close to the hole is hugely beneficial.
It should be a pleasant week at Kapalua with no rain forecast and winds expected to be moderate.
11mph wind and mostly sunny.
8mph wind and mostly sunny.
8mph wind and sunny.
9mph wind and cloudy.
Fast or Slow Start
Harris English led after the opening round last year and went on to win. English, Justin Thomas and Ryan Palmer were inside the top 3 after round one and all three finished inside the top four at the end of the tournament.
Out of the eventual top 6 in 2020, only Patrick Reed was not in the top 10 after round 1 and didn't break 70 in round one. The winner, Justin Thomas, sat 1 shot off the lead in 2nd place.
In 2019, winner Xander Schauffele was 6 shots back after round one. He was the only player in the top 6 after 72 holes who wasn't in the top 10 after round one. Schauffele is also the only winner in the last 10 years who hasn't opened with a 69 or better.
In general, you want to be up with the pace early on, although there are exceptions.
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Brooks Koepka 30/1
There were signs of life from Koepka at the Hero World Challenge before a final round 74 dropped him back to 9th. A 3rd place finish here in 2016 was encouraging, as were his quotes towards the end of last year which referenced his swing being "really, really close." Odds of 30/1 could certainly look foolish come Sunday evening. However, he just missed out on selection given poor recent efforts at Kapalua and a look at his social media feed which didn't seem to include much golf practice the past few weeks.
Sentry Tournament of Champions In-Play Blog
9 January 2022, 1.20pm (UK time)
Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith have separated themselves from the field with a combined 21 under par on moving day! They are now five shots clear of the nearest challenger, Daniel Berger.
The final pairing will replicate the Northern Trust in August last year and Smith won that dual by two shots, however he was pipped by Tony Finau in a playoff. The chasers are probably too far off this time and Rahm will be seeking revenge.
The world number 1 is now 8/13 to see off Smith and he is going to take some beating. A course record 61 yesterday included a lost ball and he played his last 14 holes in 12 under par. He ranks 1st for birdies, 1st off the tee, 2nd for approach and 4th for putting.
Backers should remain cautious about his performance at Northern Trust and he also let a winning chance slip at the Scottish Open to finish 7th. It's certainly enough to stop us from piling in at 8/13 but this is a man who's won 13 times since 2017 and he's a justified heavy favourite.
Smith did remarkably well to keep pace with Rahm yesterday and he won't go away. He is a phenomenal putter and quite a gritty opponent who will take confidence from outscoring Rahm last year in a similar position. He can be backed at a general 6/4 to see off Rahm today.
Up until the start of last year, we had a strong opinion of Smith's ability to close. Two wins in his homeland were followed by a win at The Sony Open (also in Hawaii) from off the pace. He then gave a good fight at the Masters in November 2020 to show his progress.
However, he's since let four winning opportunities slip in 2021, two of which on the last hole of the tournament. A double bogey at his final hole at the WGC FedEx St Jude cost him a playoff place and it was followed by an out of bounds tee shot on the first playoff hole at Northern Trust to lose to Tony Finau. He also made a mess when leading the WGC Workday Championship in February, as well as a disaster final round when one off the lead at the Travelers in June.
All things considered, it's enough to stop us taking on Rahm today. Smith had a few ropey drives at the start of his round yesterday which would have been punished on most courses and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of them find trouble today when the pressure is on.
As mentioned above the chasing pack probably have too much to do, although another 61 or 62 would perhaps ask a question. The course has no defence without the wind though, so we will not be taking on the leaders today. Instead, we will take a closer look at the special markets.
Round 4 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Justin Thomas without Rahm or Smith market 16/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-3)
Justin got off to a horror start with an opening 74 but has improved every day to give himself a fighting chance of a top 5. Rounds of 67 and 61 have been closer to what we expect from Thomas at the Plantation Course and he can carry his momentum into today. A final round 66 last year saw him sneak 3rd place although he will probably need a couple lower today. A final round 64 in his last event at the Hero World challenge was the lowest of the day and something similar today would at least bag a top 3 without the leaders.
- 1pt Cameron Davis Top 10 Finish 3/1 @ General
We think there's a bit of value to be had backing Cameron to finish strongly and secure a top 10 on his Kapalua debut. His scoring has improved every day this week with rounds of 69-6866 and we think he can continue in that vein. He's a player we rate on a Sunday, he also has a sound Round 4 scoring average for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. His iron play has improved every day this week and he's gained strokes every day off the tee. He's tied 10th at the moment so the 3/1 seems more than fair.
8 January 2022, 12.20pm (UK time)
Cam Smith recovered from a shaky start (+2 through 4 holes) to extend his lead going into the weekend in Hawaii.
Four closing birdies in as many holes were impressive and it's understandable he's now 13/8 to convert from here. Whilst his putting may have been the basis for his opening score, his iron play was sharp yesterday.
However, only two leaders have converted here in the past five years and with scoring set to remain low, we're happy to pass over on Cameron and look for opportunities further down the leaderboard.
Jon Rahm and Daniel Berger are the two players closest to Smith and both need to be respected. Rahm is a best price 7/2 and is always a danger from off the pace. Wins at the US Open (last year) and BMW Championship (2021) both came when trailing by three shots.
Daniel Berger (13/2) has been exceptional tee to green so far this week, leading the field for SG: Tee To Green. However, there remains a nagging doubt about his ability to continue to hole the putts necessary to win this. All his wins have come in events where scoring has been moderate and we've yet to see him win where scoring is exceptionally low.
Weather for the third round should be sunny with winds set to to reach a maximum of 12mph.
Round 3 Bets
- No bet
We considered Cantlay to beat Berger from today's two ball draw but ultimately decided it wasn't a bet we were strong enough on to include it in the staking plan. We will review again tomorrow.
7 January 2022, 1.20pm (UK time)
Cam Smith picked up where he left off at the end of last season, firing a 65 to lead by a shot at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
The Aussie ended 2021 with three top 15 finishes and despite "a lot of lounging around" in the off season, he once again impressed. Now a best price 13/2, he'll need to continue to score well in order to stave off the top class players chasing him.
Late scoring bursts from Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay shot them well up the leaderboard and they now occupy the front two spots in the betting market. Rahm (4/1) played his final four holes in six under par and is a huge threat now. The Spaniard said in his post round interview that he wasn't surprised that he played "good" and fears that he may be rusty appear unfounded.
Cantlay (11/2) finished his round even more impressively than Rahm, playing his final six holes in six under par. Last year's Fed Ex Cup winner had an even longer break than Rahm and he too appears to be showing no issues with a lack of competitive action.
Weather for the second round should be sunny with winds set to to reach a maximum of 11mph.
We have two bets ahead of round 2.
Round 2 Bet
- 1pt Each Way Erik Van Rooyen 2nd Round Leader 22/1 @ Boylesports (1/5 1-4)
Erik finished 2021 fairly slowly however it was evident his win at Barracuda has given him the belief to compete at this level. 7th at the Northern Trust (including a 62) and 5th at BMW Championship followed his win in elite fields. He is two shots behind Smith but can should really be at least tied after a couple of small putts missed. Ranked 3rd for approach and tee to green and commented he didn't find the course all that hard after his round.
- 1pt Each Way Kevin Na (outright) 33/1 @ Mansion Bet (1/4 1-4)
We toyed with adding Na in the 2nd round leader market as well but think there is more value in the outright market given his ability under pressure. Na is also two behind Smith despite two unfortunate bogies on his first two holes. He commented after the round how the win at QBE has left him feeling not much rust and the stats back that up - he ranked 2nd for approach and 6th tee to green. Na shot the lowest 72 hole score at the Tour Championship last year, shooting four rounds of 67 or less, so we know he can keep the foot down in this company. A winner in Hawaii last year too with rounds of 67-66-61-65, he is a dangerous competitor when his irons are firing. Finally, he's due to become a father again in the next few months and we saw in 2019 just how good Kevin can be with the inspiration gained from a little one arriving into the family.