Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions
2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions Fantasy Preview
So here we go again! The Christmas and New Year festivities are behind us and that can mean only one thing: a return to top-level golf on the PGA TOUR.
Old Santa Claus is off to put his feet up and relax after a busy few weeks, and his choice of vacation location might just be the stunning Hawaii, which is unmoved in its idyllic beauty.
And it also just happens to be the destination for the next two weeks on the PGA TOUR!
The ever-popular Sony Open is an event to savor next week, but to open the 2018 calendar year there is something equally as edifying: the Sentry Tournament of Champions from the mesmeric Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort.
As the name suggests, only tournament winners from the preceding year trouser an invite, and so naturally the 34-man field here is well stocked with class acts. It’s the perfect way to shake off the dust and get ready for another titanic year on the Tour….for the players and for DFS punters like ourselves!
Justin Thomas of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the…
Justin Thomas of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the third hole during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on November 30, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. Get premium, high Resolution News Photos at Getty Images
Last PGA TOUR Picks Fantasy Results from the RSM Classic
We left off with our picks on the PGA TOUR with the RSM Classic where our Top Tier pick Kevin Kisner finished T4 and our Top Sleeper Pick from our Tuesday Sleeper Report,. JJ Spaun, finished with a solid solo 2nd.
Together the two collectively banked over $1 million in weekly earnings and a load of fantasy points for our rosters.
J.J. Spaun of the United States plays his shot from the 16th tee…
J.J. Spaun of the United States plays his shot from the 16th tee during the final round of The RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club Seaside Course on November 19, 2017 in St Simons Island, Georgia. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
As we wrap around into 2018, here is a brief recap of the seven fall-series results:
Of our total 49 picks (7 per event) our selections successfully made 85.71% cuts, which as we all know if crucial for finishing in the money on DFS. We also had one winner picked and two runner-up finishes over the seven “wrap around” weeks.
2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions Field
The entry qualifications for the TOC dictate that this event reads like a who’s who of American golf. FedExCup winner Justin Thomas lines up for the first time on the road to defending his crown, and he will be joined by British and US Open champions Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, as well as world number one Dustin Johnson.
There are five players in the field who won on their last start – Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith and Austin Cook, while Hideki Matsuyama will be looking to go one better after finishing 2-3 in his last pair of starts at Kapalua.
An intriguing supporting cast is headlined by the likes of Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Dan Berger and Pat Perez, among others.
Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the 15th tee…
Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the 15th tee during the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on December 2, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
It’s a bit of a treat for the players this week in that the Plantation Course at Kapalua is the only Par 73 track on the PGA TOUR rotation!
The extra stroke available naturally lends itself to some rather low scores, with the -31 posted by Ernie Els in 2003 and -30 by Jordan Spieth in 2016 the obvious highlights!
Designed by Ben Crenshaw, this is a fairly long track at 7452 yards, but the extensive elevation changes and sloping fairways ensure that, more often than not, this a stretch that plays rather shorter than advertised. With a rollcall of former winners including Spieth, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and Geoff Ogilvy, this is not solely a bomber’s paradise by any means.
The large Bermuda greens tend to run fairly benignly – even as slow as 10 on the stimp in some recordings, and all in all if the weather is good then low scoring is a certainty. Judging by this week’s forecast, the players may not be afforded A1 conditions, however (more on that later).
The course record here is jointly held by KJ Choi and Graeme McDowell, which confirms what we already suspected: success at Kapalua is achieved through birdie-making on the back of excellent approach play and/or scrambling.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the…
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the SBS Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 8, 2017 in Lahaina,… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
The sun will have his hat on Hawaii this week, with pleasant spells and temperatures of around 72 degrees. The only problem is that he will be joined by some rather strong winds!
Breezes of up to 22 mph could cause quite a stir, particularly at the weekend when gusts look set to be at their strongest. These aren’t quite as bad as the 2013 edition, which was reduced to 54 holes and a Tuesday finish as the players were buffeted by high winds which ensured that only three players (winner Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Brandt Snedeker) finished at double digits under par.
On a brighter note, little if any rain is expected.
Last Year’s Results from the Sentry Tournament of Champions
It was, for all intents and purposes, plain sailing for Justin Thomas in the 2017 edition of this event, with the FedExCup champion starting his year very much as he meant to go on with a three-shot win over Hideki Matsuyama.
An opening trio of rounds of 67 secured JT a comfortable lead heading into Sunday, and his opening nine holes passed by with little incident.
But then a remarkable four-shot swing in the blink of an eye – Matsuyama eagling the 14th, Thomas double-bogeying 15 – opened the door for the Japanese ace.
However, the PGA Championship winner showed the kind of mettle under pressure he has subsequently become known for, and on the 17th unleashed an 8 iron that lasered in on the flag like a homing missile. It came to rest three feet from the hole, and that birdie essentially sealed the deal for Thomas to secure his then third PGA TOUR title….an incredible four more would follow in 2017!
Other notable efforts came from Ryan Moore, who went toe-to-toe with Thomas for the opening 36 holes before drifting away over the weekend, while the fast-finishing Jordan Spieth (65) and Pat Perez (67) secured themselves a T5 return each with strong Sunday showings.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Sentry Tournament of Champions this Week
This the first opportunity for the various daily Fantasy Golf sites to flex their muscle in 2018, and it’s fair to say they have all come to the party with their offerings. The headline act at DraftKings is particularly alluring:
- PGA $300k Season Tee Off: DK have gotten into the swing of things, if you’ll pardon the pun, with an eye-catching bounty of a contest that will reward the top 20% of finishers with a cash prize in excess of the $7 entry. Top prize is a cool $50k, with top-ten finishers trousering a minimum of $1k.
- PGA $25k Long Drive: Given the small field size of the TOC you might want to lower your risk of drafting the same roster as hundreds of other entrants, and this three-entry max contest should fit the bill. This 277-team affair features a buy-in of $100 but an upside of a winner’s cheque of $5k.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Sentry Tournament of Champions
Now here comes the tricky part: analyzing who to draft this week, and why.
Normally we have current form to work with, which is often the best metric for determining who will play well at any given tournament and who won’t. Of course, there are always those outliers – those who crash back into form without any prior hints, and those who play poorly after a number of good weeks – but form is linked to confidence and, as we know, elite golf is played as much with the muscle between the ears as the ones in the arms, torso and legs.
Unfortunately, we don’t really have any form-lines of relevance to work with, apart from the occasional jolly prior to the festive break, and so we will need to dig a bit deeper here.
We’ve already mentioned that there is no set profile of player who excels at Kapalua, certainly off the tee. This is a track at which powerhouses like DJ and JT have won, as well as more considered types like Spieth and Zach Johnson.
Indeed, it’s actually what you do with iron/wedge in hand that will ultimately decide your fate this week. We’re not talking GIR as a key stat – even local club hackers could find these huge greens within regulation, but instead pinpoint accuracy and proximity to the hole.
Being able to putt well on Bermuda always helps of course, and note the identities of the last five winners of this tournament: Thomas, Spieth, Reed and Johnsons D and Z. Four of that five are major winners and the fifth, Pat Reed, will presumably win one someday. This isn’t a nice jolly by the seaside by the world’s elite, this is a tournament in which the big guns are desperate to lay down a marker for the forthcoming campaign.
A quick word about that wind, because it will surely make a difference on the exposed Plantation Course this week. Some players thrive in a breeze and some don’t; that should act as a piece of ‘gatekeeper information’ when making your draft.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Sentry Tournament of Champions
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2017-2018)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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