After the craziness of the festive period it's great to get back to a little normality and it's a welcome relief as the PGA Tour rolls back on to the sporting calandar. The Sentry Tournament of Champions heads over to The Plantation Course at Kapalua. One of golf's more scenic courses hosts the season's curtain raiser, so join our main in the Bermudas as he previews the runners and sends us his latest news 'n views in his broadside from the bunkers.
Favourite: JORDAN SPIETH | 5/1
TOURNAMENT & COURSE OVERVIEW
Consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in Hawaii, The Plantation Course at Kapalua plays as a challenging 7,452-yard par 73 nestling on the slopes of the West Maui mountains, with dramatic ocean views from virtually every hole.
This course is one of the first Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw joint ventures and the Plantation Course first opened in 1991. Birdies should be relatively easy to come by here, so expect lots of low scores and dramatic moments.
However, beware: this beauty has teeth! The high winds and terrain can bring problems of their own and a small sub-climate means that players can face ice and glaring sunshine on the same day. Dramatic elevation changes mean that there are lots of downhill tee shots, the 18th with its energetic and vigorous fairway slope wll see some of the longest drives made in golf! In fact, the 18th, a 663-yard, par-5 is the course's signature hole and many of the pros will be looking to hit the green in two - amazing stuff!
PRIZE POOL: The prize pool is $6,300,000, with $1,180,000 up top for the winner Should pay for a few days vacation in Hawaii... book it, Danno!
WEATHER: Pretty much perfect golfing conditions. Partilly sunny, with slight showers to aid the zip of the ball. Temperatures range between 27-29 degrees and will speeds will average around the 18kn mark, N/Ne. there will be gusts of between 33 and 40km, however, so watch out for those with a later tee time.
MARC TO UNLEASH THE BEAST!
The boys are back in town.
Quite literally, the very best players in the world are in town for the season's curtain raiser with the advent of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and we’re sure there aren't many more picturesque walks to shake of the excesses and hangovers of the festive season... at least, if there are we can’t think of any!
Last year’s champion Justin Thomas had a stellar season last year, winning his first Major, along with the FedEx Cup, in his breakthrough year. He scored four-under when winning here in 2017 and the 24-year-old will need to recapture that type of form if he is to repeat winning here for successive years, especially given the quality of the field. The ‘Louisville Slugger’ certainly has the length to make an impact here, but at 7/1 we feel there is better value to be had further down the field. So join us as we dig deep and try to uncover a diamond (or two).
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! Australians traditionally have enjoyed playing here, their results emphasising their familiarity with the course and conditions. The 34-year-old Marc Leishman fits the profile of the type of player we’re looking out for. After winning the Nedbank he seemed to go off the boil a little, but picked-up towards the end of the season, where he started reminding everyone just what he is capable of, especially when winning the BMW Championship in September. He plays wind well, and the 40km gusts we mentioned above shouldn’t put him off. He has the length to match the course and if he can get his putting together then the 18/1 on offer looks a fair shout to us.*
Mention Long beach, California, and people imagine one giant playground, a hedonistic retreat for the glamorous and idle. However, it is the second busiest container port in the United States and that sense of industry and urgency can be seen in the way 25-year-old Long Beach native Patrick Cantlay applies himself to his profession. After winning the Shriners Open in November he took a couple of months break and will enter this refreshed and eager to go. The youngster’s star – he is currently ranked 42nd in the world, having risen in the rankings over an astonishing 1800 places in 2017 -is in the ascendancy and this could be HIS breakthrough year. His driving accuracy is 57.14%, but the size of the greens will compensate for that. Another one to watch, especially if he gets off to a flyer. 20/1.*
Lastly, we’ll plump for the man who finished T3 here last time out, the 41-year-old Pat Perez. True, he has struggled with injuries in the past, but has reported fit and raring to go for the Sentry. He’s been bubbly and positive on Social media, with posts such as: “Fun one out at Kapalua today… shaking off the rust for @Sentry_TOC. Hawaii in January, never a bad place to get a new year rolling.” As last year’s finish showed, he knows the course and can play it well. His driving accuracy is 73.66%, and his GIR rate hits 76.33%. Same may feel he’s one to watch in-play, but at 25/1 we’ll have an each-way dabble!
Whomever you decide to back, don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@stanjames) as we mark your card with all the latest updates: it's just like being on the fairway yourself!
Please do bet responsibly, and the best of luck!
- 2017 - Justin Thomas
- 2016 - Jordan Spieth
- 2015 - Patrick Reed
- 2014 - Zach Johnson
- 2013 - Dustin Johnson
- 2012 - Steve Stricker
- 2011 - Johnahon Byrd
- 2010 - Geoff Ogilvy
Whoever you're backing, don't forget StanJames are offering our famous ACCA Insurance on the Sentry Tournament of Champions
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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