Sentry Tournament of Champions Betting Tips & Predictions – Thursday 3rd January 2019

The new PGA Tour season got underway a couple of months ago but the Christmas break coupled with the turning of the New Year makes this feel like a time of renewal in the world of golf. 2019 begins on the PGA Tour with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, an invitation event open only to players who won on tour last season.

If the way that Jon Rahm has begun his career is anything to go by he’s going to book a place in the Tournament of Champions more often than not. Having finished second on his debut at Kapalua he’ll be hoping this event remains at the Plantation Course for many years to come and could well go one better this year by winning at odds of 15/2 with Betfair.

Top Tips

Jon Rahm @ 15/2

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Course Info

The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii has been hosting the Tournament of Champions for some years now. The course has become very well known by players and fans alike for its huge greens and massive hills throughout the layout. Those changes in elevation have a significant impact on the way the course plays meaning that the official yardage of 7,452 must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Big hitters have done well at this par 73 layout before but shorter, more accurate types such as Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker have also won in Kapula. It’s important that a tournament such as this should provide a fair examination of golf and that’s exactly what the Plantation Course does.

CourseLocationLengthPrize Money
Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort Kapalua, Hawaii 7,452 Yards $6,500,000

Recent Winners

That the Plantation Course provides a fair test of golf is made clear by the list of recent winners. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are two of the longest drivers in the game but their wins owed more to the fact that they were playing all round excellent golf at the time rather than their prodigious power. What all the recent winners had in common was a rock solid display with their wedges and short iron. Being reliable from 150 yards and closer is probably the single most important attribute required to be competitive at the top of the leaderboard at the Plantation Course against what is always a high calibre field.

YearWinnerCourseTo ParWinning Margin
2018 Dustin Johnson Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort -24 8 Strokes
2017 Justin Thomas Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort -22 3 Strokes
2016 Jordan Spieth Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort -30 8 Strokes
2015 Patrick Reed Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort -21 Playoff
2014 Zach Johnson Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort -19 1 Stroke

Analysis: Approach Play to Separate the Wheat From the Chaff

The size of the greens is one of the core features of the Plantation Course. As they’re so big players should find they hit a higher percentage of greens in regulation than normal but that is only half the battle. Those who leave themselves long putts will find themselves losing strokes to the field so it is vital for approach shots to get as close to the hole as possible.

Rahm’s Competitive Juices Can Fire Him to Victory

Some professional golfers love the winter break because it gives them the chance to hang their clubs up, not think about golf and enjoy themselves. You get the feeling that Jon Rahm can only enjoy relaxing for so long before he starts going slightly mad at the lack of a chance to compete. Rahm is a born competitor and will be chomping at the bit to get back out on the golf course again, especially given the chance to beat some of the very best.

The first thing that stands out about Rahm is his size. He uses every inch of his powerful frame to hit the ball as long as anybody else in the game but he’s much more than just a powerful hitter. Like many of his fellow Spaniards, Rahm possesses an excellent short game and is absolutely brilliant hitting wedges into greens. He will be up there with the best in terms of the proximity to the hole with his approach play and will surely take his fair share of chances so back Rahm to build on last year’s performance at the Plantation Course by winning at 15/2 with Betfair.

Molinari’s Consistency to See Him Contend

When Francesco Molinari decided to skip the Open de France (giving up the chance to play at Le Golf National before the Ryder Cup) for the Quicken Loans National there were was no shortage of criticism. It’s fair to say that the Italian knew what he was doing. Not only did Molinari have more than enough course form at Le Golf National to secure a perfect five points from five Ryder Cup matches but the Quicken Loans National became his first PGA Tour victory.

That victory was one of just many in 2018 for Molinari and there is no reason why he cannot be just as successful in 2019, potentially starting with the Tournament of Champions. There is nothing for Molinari to fear about the Plantation Course, indeed his incredible approach play should see him have plenty of birdie opportunities. He’s become a very reliable putter so will have plenty of birdies and may well push the leaders all the way at odds of 20/1 with Ladbrokes.

Final Verdict: Jon Rahm to Win

As you’d expect given what it takes to earn a place in the Sentry Tournament of Champions it is no surprise that there are many players in with a great chance of winning this week. For that reason it makes sense to have a look for value and both Jon Rahm and Francesco Molinari both represent value. It’s the former who has the best chance though given his extra experience at the Plantation Course.

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