Golf Bets

The Sentry First-Round Leader Tips: Three Selections from 33/1 to 66/1

Korean golfer Sungjae Im
Sungjae Im can start fast again

The 2024 PGA Tour season opens in Maui this week and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at The Plantation Course...

  • 33/134.00 Sungjae Im has an excellent R1 record here

  • 33/134.00 Russell Henley can shoot the lights out

  • 66/167.00 Chris Kirk is a Thursday specialist in Hawaii

Weather forecast for Thursday

Wind can often be a factor at this venue which sits near the north-west coastline of Maui.

Wind speeds are around 8mph for the early starters but could be double that by 2pm before just settling a little.

Tee-times (three-balls and a single two-ball) for the 59-man field run from 7.45am local to 11.39am.

There's no great bias but perhaps the final few groups (Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler are the last to tee off) have a little more wind to deal with.

Back Sungjae Im @ 33/134.00

Having a strong first-round record in a particular event is far from uncommon.

And repeated day one success may just count for more on distinctive courses such as this one, especially when the event is played at a time of year when many players have some Festive ring rust.

Plenty will need a round or two to adjust to the downhill and sidehill lies but one who seems to instantly find his groove at The Plantation is Sungjae Im.

The Korean has fired 66, 67 and 67 in his three openers here, those birdie-laden laps good enough for positions of fifth, fifth and third on the 18-hole leaderboard.

Im has also twice fired 8-under 65s (both in round three) on this quirky par 73 so he's very comfortable at this location.

We haven't seen much of him of late but Im was the first-round leader in the Korean Tour's Genesis Championship in October and he followed that with an opening 67 at the ZOZO Championship to lie eighth on the Thursday board.

He tees it up at 10.39am local time; that's 8.39pm in the UK.

Back Sungjae Im each-way @ 33/134.00

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Back Russell Henley @ 33/134.00

Russell Henley did plenty of battery recharging from August onwards so hopefully he'll be chomping at the bit to get started here.

Looking at the last five events he played in 2023, Henley twice carded 62s, one of those securing the first-round lead at the Wyndham Championship.

The other is far more recent and came in his closing round at September's RSM Classic, another coastal event.

Henley has been a day one leader here too, that feat coming courtesy of a 65 back in 2015.

Despite the very different nature of the courses, form from the other Hawaii event, the Sony Open at Waialae, also stacks up well here.

It's relevant, therefore, that Henley has twice finished round one of the Sony in second place, the most recent in 2022 after he kicked off with yet another 62.

Henley is an early starter at 8.33am.

Back Russell Henley each-way @ 33/134.00

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Back Chris Kirk @ 66/167.00

If there's such a thing as an Hawaiian first-round leader specialist, that gong has to belong to Chris Kirk.

He set the pace here at The Plantation Course in 2014 while he's twice been the FRL in the Sony Open.

The first of those came in 2018 thanks to a 63 while he secured the Thursday headlines again last year via a 64.

He's not played this event since 2016 which is a negative for the pessimist but points to excitement for the optimist.

Three starts ago, Kirk was third on a PGA Tour R1 leaderboard and he looked in decent nick when signing off 2023 with a pair of 66s in the RSM Classic.

Kirk hits off at 10.27am local.

Back Chris Kirk each-way @ 66/167.00

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Now read Dave's outright each-way Sentry preview which features a 66/ tip!

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