Sentry Tournament of Champions: Reed can start 2019 with a bang

American Patrick Reed
American Patrick Reed can win here again

In the PGA Tour's opening event of 2019, Dave Tindall makes three each-way picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii...

"T16 on debut, champion in 2015, runner-up in 2016 and T6 in 2017. For the record he's now 68-under for 16 rounds."

Back Patrick Reed each-way @ 16/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 4 places

Main Bet: Back Patrick Reed each-way @ 16/1

"You have 14 rounds around this golf course and 65-under par. You like this place, don't you?" Reed was asked in a press conference in 2017 after throwing in another low number at the Plantation Course.

"I do," he replied. "Any time I can come out, set up with wide fairways, large greens and be able to just kind of shape the golf ball and do whatever I want with it and be creative, it kind of fits into my wheelhouse

"I think it's just the creativity. You step up and you can hit a big turn or you can hit a straight shot. You can kind of do whatever you want. It's just kind of whatever you see.

"Because of that, it allows me to free up and not feel like I have to guide anything. I can just go ahead and make a golf swing. I wish more golf courses were like this."

Those positive views come from a CV in this event which shows T16 on debut, victory in 2015, champion in 2016 and T6 in 2017. For the record he's now 68-under for 16 rounds.

That emphasis on creativity is also highlighted by Jordan Spieth when he talks about this tournament and it's no surprise that both he and Reed have both won this event and the US Masters.

Augusta National is another course which suits those who don't see everything in straight lines (Bubba Watson the poster boy for this) so it certainly made sense that Reed should triumph there.

Both venues put a big emphasis on scrambling and this is an area where Reed excels. He was second in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green in 2018 so an already sharp short game got even sharper.

All that's really needed is some recent form and, although we've had the Festive break, you don't have to rewind too far to see the 28-year-old finishing T7 at the WGC-HSBC Champions and runner-up at the DP World Tour Championship.

Any time he's 16/1 at this track - just as he was when winning in 2015 - Reed is worth an each-way punt.

Next Best: Back Charles Howell each-way @ 66/1

As this event is for winners only, the idea of Charles Howell ever appearing again seemed impossible to some.

It's certainly been a long time between drinks but 'Chucky Three Sticks' is back on the island of Maui for the first time since 2008 after he broke his 11-year winless streak with victory in November's RSM Classic.

Howell was T8 back in 2008 after going lower each day (74-70-68-67) while he fired a seven-under 66 (Par is 73 here due to there being just three Par 3s) on the way to T16.

Note though that we have seen the American tee it up numerous times in the other Hawaii event, the Sony Open, and he's been one of that event's standout performer.

Go through his Sony Open record and there's no less than seven top fives and a further pair of T8s.

While Waialae and the Plantation Course are very different animals, it's very common for the same players to excel on both so Howell's Sony Open record could count for plenty this week.

One of the common factors is an ability to play well in windy conditions and the forecast suggests it will gust this week. History says some may struggle but Howell will not.

I'm hoping the 'waiting ages for one bus and two come along in quick succession' theory plays out but, if it falls short, there's still plenty of each-way juice in that 66/1.

Since winning the RSM Classic, Howell kept the engine running by finishing T3 in the QBE Shootout with Luke List so that's an early sign that ending his lengthy drought will see him kick on rather than be satisfied with his lot.

Final Bet: Back Marc Leishman each-way @ 25/1

Aussies had a ridiculously good record in this event with Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy combining for five wins between 2004 and 2010.

The theory, and it had validity, was that the Australians were still match-sharp from their Triple Crown events Down Under.

Americans have won the last eight editions of the event which is good for my Reed and Howell bets but it makes sense to get an Aussie on board too.

And not just any old Aussie. Marc Leishman is 20th in the world rankings and back here courtesy of victory in the CIMB Classic in mid-October.

He ended his 2018 campaign by finishing runner-up at the Australian PGA Championship in early December, so like his compatriots from a few years back, will carry some recent form to Hawaii.

Leishman has played this event twice, struggling on debut when T23 in 2013 but improving to T7 last year.

His round scores tell the story pretty well (67-69-76-67) and for 18 and 36 holes he had a piece of the lead before shooting himself in the foot in round three.

One skill he showed off was an ability to flourish in the wind. "I grew up in it," said Leishman. "I enjoy playing in it, which is helpful. When you enjoy playing on certain golf courses or certain conditions it's easy to play well.

"It just takes a little imagination, I think."

Add in a record at the Sony Open which shows nine cuts out of nine and five top 20s and Leishman looks primed to have another big week.

Dave's 2018/19 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £210
Returned: £213.66
P/L: +£3.66

2017/2018:
P/L: +£362.84

2016/2017:
P/L: +£1179.89

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