Get our golf experts' best bets for this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions, the first PGA Tour event of 2022...
"Matt Jones looked overpriced at 300.00299/1 given he finished 11th on his only previous appearance, when he shot three rounds in the 60s in 2015."
Steve Rawlings starts 2022 with his comprehensive preview of this week's event at the Plantation Course in Maui.
Steve says: "The Open champion, Collin Morikawa, has finished seventh in each of his two previous visits but he really should have fared better last year given he trailed by just a stroke after three rounds. He was never at the races in round four and he also needs to overcome the disappointment of throwing away the Hero Challenge last time out.
"Having led by five with a round to go, Morikawa was matched at just 1.081/12 in running but he lost his way badly on Sunday to eventually finish tied for fifth.
"Sungjae Im ticks a few boxes this week. He finished a respectable fifth on debut last year and he currently ranks third for SGT2G so I was happy to chance him at 29.028/1 but it's all about how the Korean putts. Most weeks his flatstick doesn't behave well enough for him to win but when it does he's deadly. I'm happy to take the chance at such a juicy price."
Steve's bet: Back Sungjae Im @ 29.028/1
Dave Tindall has three-each way tips for the action in Hawaii starting with the Masters champion...
Dave says: "Hideki Matsuyama had four previous cracks at this event and has racked up a second (2017), a third (2015) and a fourth (2018). Matsuyama shot a round of 66 in each which equals 7-under on a course where, adding to its quirky nature, there are four par 5s but just three par 3s to make par 73.
"He was the 54-hole leader in 2015 and, looking at his stats, the World No.18 ranked second for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green in his first three appearances here.
"'I like the views and so I like the course," Matsuayama said on debut in 2015, adding that he didn't go to the ocean or get the surf board out because he couldn't swim! Three years on in 2018, he added: "I love it here.'
"So the vibes are positive and the 20/1 seems a decent price."
Dave's bet: Back Hideki Matsuyama each-way @ 21.020/1
Steve surveys the field for Hawaii as he tries to begin 2022 with a winner at long odds...
Steve says: "Australia's Stuart Appleby won the tournament for three years in-a-row between 2004 and 2006 and fellow Aussie, Geoff Ogilvy, won back-to-back renewals in 2009 and 2010. Steve Elkington was another multiple tournament winner from Down Under in 1992 and 1995, before the tournament switched to this venue in 1999, so Australians have a very fine record.
"Although debutants don't have a good record, one look is often all it takes here and five of the last seven winners were playing in the tournament for only the second time. For that reason, last year's Honda Classic winner, Matt Jones, looked overpriced at 300.00299/1 given he finished 11th on his only previous appearance, when he shot three rounds in the 60s in 2015.
"His chance would be enhanced with a blusterier weather forecast but we're due another Aussie winner and he's a very juicy price to oblige."
Steve's bet: Back Matt Jones @ 300.0299/1
Dave picks a trio of the players who could make a strong start at the Plantation Course on Thursday...
Dave says: "In the last three years we've had two internationals shooting the lowest score on day one. One of those was Marc Leishman and I'm going to back the Aussie to repeat the trick.
"Leishman's 6-under 67 was enough to give him the 18-hole lead in 2018 while he was also fifth after day one in 2019 thanks to a 68. An opening 69 put him 12th after Thursday's action last year.
With finishes of fourth and seventh in two of his last three appearances, he clearly gets on well with the Plantation Course and should be confident ahead of his return...
"With the 38-year-old looking fighting fit, I'm hoping he can show the form he ended the year with. Leishman was the first-round leader in Houston on his latest start and had back-to-back top four finishes in the Fortinet Championship and Shriner's Children's Open."
Dave's bet: Back Marc Leishman E/W @ 31.030/1
Andy Swales is back with his form guide for Kapalua including his four players to watch this week.
Andy says: "For the six years between 1st-Jan-2016 and 31st-Dec-2021, the overall tournament percentage for fairways found successfully off the tee at the Plantation Course was 74.78%* (when the overall PGA Tour average for Driving Accuracy was 61.92%*).
"It's a similar story regarding Greens in Regulation: 76.58%* at Kapalua, compared to a Tour average of 67.79%*.
"And because of its large, undulating, windswept putting surfaces, players will need to be adept at scrambling, as well as avoiding the dreaded three putts...
"Sam Burns is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour during 2021 and his stats look good when it comes to avoiding three putts."
Andy's Player to Watch: Sam Jones @ 25.024/1
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