The PGA Tour kicks off 2022 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions and our man's back with a pair of outsiders to back at Kapalua...
“Putting is very often the key to success on these huge greens and few players roll their potato better than Na. I thought 120.0119/1 was more than fair.”
We might just be up against it this week in the pursuit of a big-priced winner. The PGA Tour has been a tough gig for outsiders lately and, since Phil Mickelson caused an almighty shock at the USPGA Championship way back in May, the only triple-figure priced winner witnessed is Cameron Champ at the 3M Open back in July. And this week's event, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which I've previewed here, hasn't been a great event for outsiders either...
Last year's winner, Harris English, was a 42.041/1 chance before the off, three of the five winners before him went off at a single-figure price and I've gone all the way back deep into the last century looking into the results and there hasn't been a single triple-figure priced winner.
Jonathan Byrd was generally a 50/1 on the High Street in 2011 but he was matched at a high of 80.079/1 on the Exchange and prior to his win, the only other fairly big outsider to take the title was the last debutant to win, Daniel Chopra in 2008, but he was matched at no bigger than 90.089/1.
Playing up the positives
There'll be better weeks ahead for the column, when we'll have two or more tournaments to choose from, with events that throw up more than their fair share of monster-priced winners, but let's put a positive slant on things.
The record books are against us but maybe we're due an outsider winning the event so I've got two to try and remember, they don't have to win anyway, they merely have to trade low enough to secure a profit.
For the purpose of record keeping, I've suggested two lay back prices on both selections this week of 10.09/1 and 2.01/1 but that's by no means a hard and fast rule. Some punters may prefer to lay back their stakes at a much higher price and others may decide to wait and see if a selection goes odds-on.
In-form Na can bolster the already strong Sony trend
As highlighted in the preview, next week's Sony Open has produced more than its fair share of winners of this event.
This year's favourite, Justin Thomas, as well as Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson, have all won both this tournament and the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club and the likes of Brant Snedeker and Jimmy Walker have recently come very close to winning both.
Last year's runner-up, Joaquín Niemann, finished second in the Sony the following week and the man he finished second to, was Kevin Na.
This is Na's fourth appearance at Kapalua and he's yet to set the place alight, finishing 12th, 32nd and 38th but he did shoot a nine-under-par 64 in round two on debut 10 years ago so we know he can go low here.
Na finished the 2020/21 season in style, pressing Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm all the way in the Tour Championship and he won the QBE Shootout alongside Jason Kokrak in the last official PGA Tour event less than a month ago.
Putting is very often the key to success on these huge greens and few players roll their potato better than Na. I thought 120.00119/1 was more than fair.
Jones can get the Aussies back on track
The last 11 winners of the Sentry Tournament of Champions have all been Americans but that's a strange run given the nine editions between 2002 and 2010 were all won by an overseas player.
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.
As highlighted in the preview, 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.
I'll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
Get a £5 Free Bet on Multiples - Every Day!
Place £20 worth of Multiples or Bet Builders over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 bet to use on Multiples or Bet Builders. Bets must settle within 48 hours. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.