The PGA Tour is back from its Christmas break and we begin the year, as always, in Hawaii. Here’s who we think will get 2021 off to the perfect start
There’s a bit of a difference to this year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. Traditionally a winners-only event where players qualify courtesy of their victories during the previous calendar year, an additional eligibility criteria has been created for the 2021 event to include the 30 players who qualified for September’s season-ending Tour Championship.
Sentry Tournament of Champions details
Venue: Plantation Course, Kapalua Resort, Hawaii
Date: January 7-10, 2021
Course stats: Par 73; 7,596 yards
Course summary: A rare par 73, the Plantation course at Kapalua often plays on the easy side – indeed the PGA Tour’s low 72-hole record score of 31-under-par by Ernie Els came here in 2003. The relative simplicity of this venue is in no small part down to wide fairways, huge greens, and just three par-3 holes. The course’s main defence is wind, and there is some forecast.
Purse: $6.7 million
Defending champion: Justin Thomas (-14)
Sentry Tournament of Champions TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 9pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 9pm
Sentry Tournament of Champions staking plan
Patrick Reed – 3pts win @ 16/1 with bet365
Reed rounded out 2020 in fine form, but will no doubt be disappointed with his weekend in Dubai which ultimately saw him lose the Race to Dubai prize to Lee Westwood. He can however be proud of a second round 64, where he led the field for GIR and putting, and he will fancy his chances at an event where he has won and twice been runner up in his last five visits. On the PGA Tour, Reed ranks 2nd for Putting Average and 20th for SG: Approach, which will be important here. If Reed can carry his solid form into 2021, we could be looking at an early winner at a respectable price.
Tony Finau – 2pts e/w @ 25/1 with bet365
There would be a certain irony in Finau winning the Tournament of Champions, especially when you consider he has had 30 top-10 finishes without a win from 2017 to present. Finau finished 9th on his only previous appearance at this event, and rounded off 2020 with an 8th-place finish at the Mayakoba Classic. Finau currently ranks 10th for SG: Tee-to-Green and is very capable of producing low scores when the putter is hot. While his record may suggest a victory is unlikely, there would not be a more popular winner of the first event of 2021, and I have faith that Finau has the quality to take any event when on top form.
Joaquin Niemann – 1.5pts e/w @ 35/1 with bet365
Niemann led the field through 18 holes here 12 months ago, when opening with an impressive 66. That 7-under-par start propelled him to a 5th place finish on debut at the event, and with another year of PGA Tour experience under his belt the young Chilean is good value this week. As a player who favours Bermuda grass, Niemann will relish the opportunity to attack the large greens here and usually goes well following a break. Off the tee Niemann ranks 14th for Driving Distance and 12th for Strokes Gained, so getting in position on the wide fairways shouldn’t be a problem. On a course that yields birdies, a ranking of 15th for birdie average further adds to his appeal as a solid each-way pick.
For more prices, visit bet365.
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