After a number of invitational tournaments, the PGA Tour returns properly and gets our 2023 golf schedule underway, with The Sentry Tournament of Champions, from Hawaii. As always, we have previewed the event and given you our suggested betting tips for the tournament.
The Tournament of Champions Betting Tips
- 5u Jon Rahm win only – 13/2
- 2.5u each-way Sungjae Im (1/5 6 places) – 16/1
- 1.25u each-way Seamus Power (1/5 6 places) – 40/1
The Tournament of Champions tournament dates all the way back to 1953 but has only been held in Maui, Hawaii since 1999.
Originally held in Las Vegas and then California as the season opener, the event originally was purely for the winners of the previous years tournaments.
However, the Tour changed to a wrap around September-August format back in 2013 and this year the tournament winners will also be joined by the Top 30 qualifiers from the Tour Championship.
2022 champion Cameron Smith won’t be defending his title this week, due to his defection to LIV Golf.
Previous winners teeing up this week include two-time winner Justin Thomas (10/1), Xander Schauffele (9/1) and Jordan Spieth (20/1).
The total prize fund on offer this week is $15m, with a winners purse of $1.476m and 550 FedEx Cup points.
The Sentry is played at the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort, in Kapalua, Maui. Plantation is a huge Par-73, 7596 yards layout, featuring four par 5’s , eleven par 4’s and just three par 3’s.
A Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore design, the course was designed on a grand scale in keeping with the mountainous location on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and offers incredible views from every hole.
It features wide, lush fairways, with generous greens meaning that the course is generally fairly easy for the average pro.
This is evidenced by the winning scores over the years, with -30 broken on three occasions in the past (Ernie Els -31, 2003, Jordan Spieth -30, 2016 and Cameron Smith with a PGA Tour record -34 last year).
A stacked but small field sees 40 golfers tee it up this week and it is led by the DP World Tour Championship winner, Jon Rahm (6/1).
We have four FedExCup champions in Patrick Cantlay (9/1), Thomas, Spieth and Billy Horschel (55/1) as well as eight of the top 10 in the OWGR’s.
One notable omission this week is Rory McIlroy, who has used his one time opt-out from the newly elevated PGA Tour events and will open up his 2023 on the DP World Tour instead, at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
5u Jon Rahm win only – 13/2
It’s obvious to anyone why the Spaniard leads the outright betting here in Maui. After a stunning end to 2022, with wins in Madrid and Dubai as well as two other Top 5’s, Rahm is back in the top five in the world and it’s surely only a matter of time before he starts challenging the top three.
The 28-year-old missed just one cut in 2022 and his consistency has been displayed in his five previous attempts here, finishing runner-up in 2018 and last year and has never finished outside the Top 10 in Hawaii.
2.5u each-way Sungjae Im (1/5 6 places) – 16/1
After winning at the Shriners back in late 2021, Sungjae Im was unable to get over the line again in the 2022 season but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Three runner up spots at the £M Open, The Wyndham and the Tour Championship, showed a man in tremendous control of his game and it’s only a matter of time before he wins again.
2023 started in decent shape for Im, with two Top 10’s and four straight made cuts.
The 24-year-old now lines up at a course he clearly likes, with results of T8th and T5th and a scoring average of just over 67. He will go close this week, surely?
1.25u each-way Seamus Power (1/5 6 places) – 40/1
My last pick for a bit of a longer shot value, is Irishman Seamus Power.
The 35-year-old is perhaps the form player on tour right now and leads the FedExCup rankings.
Power started off the 2023 season in fine shape, winning in Bermuda, before two more top fives at Mayakoba and Sea Island, showing just how solid his game is right now.
This is Power’s 2nd attempt at Kapalua, having finished T15th last year. Don’t be surprised to see him higher on the leaderboard this time.
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