10:05 - January 06, 2019
Halfway leader, Gary Woodland, looked to have opened the door ajar when he bogeyed the 12th and parred the two holes either side of the 12th yesterday. Rory McIlroy was matched at just 2.265/4 but Woodland moved three clear again with an eagle from 63 feet on the 15th and a birdie at the last.
Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 12:20.
Gary Woodland -17 1.9210/11
Rory McIlroy -14 4.216/5
Marc Leishman -13 11.521/2
Bryson DeChambeau -12 16.015/1
Xander Schauffele -12 20.019/1
-10 and 50.049/1 bar
In the 20 years we've been coming to the Plantation Course for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, 13 players have held a clear lead with a round to go and nine of them went on to convert. The worse collapse witnessed was by poor Lucas Glover, who went from one clear to eight back in 2010, when he shot 76 in round four, and Rory Sabbatini finished second, beaten by a stroke, in 2001, having led by two through 54 holes but nobody has lost a three-stroke lead or bigger and Woodland can't be viewed as too short at just a shade of odds-on given those stats.
The furthest any winner here has trailed by with a round to go is just four strokes so that's bad news for my pre-event pick, Bryson DeChambeau, who trails by five, and I'm going to leave the event alone now.
12:25 - January 05, 2019
A pair of six-under-par 67s have seen pre-event 40.039/1 chance, Gary Woodland, move three shots clear of the field at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 12:20.
Gary Woodland -12 3.711/4
Bryson DeChambeau -9 6.25/1
Rory McIlroy -9 6.611/2
Kevin Tway -9 23.022/1
Marc Leishman -8 13.012/1
Justin Thomas -7 12.5
Xander Schauffele -7 22.021/1
Cameron Champ -7 24.023/1
-6 and 25.024/1 bar
Sergio Garcia, in 2002, and Stuart Appleby, three years later, both won this tournament from seven shots back at halfway but the wind blew hard all weekend at both renewals and they're very much the odd men out. Jim Furyk, in 2002, won from four adrift, but he was sitting second, and Geoff Ogilvy, in 2004, also won from four adrift, but he was only third at halfway.
The last seven winners have all been either leading, tied at the top or within one stroke of the lead and 36-hole leaders have a decent record. In the 20 years that the tournament has been staged at the Plantation Course at Kapalua, 26 players have led or been tied for the lead and 11 went on to win and nine of the 15 to hold a clear advantage went on to take the title. Lucas Glover, who finished 14th in 2010, is the only 36-hole leader to lead by as many as three strokes to get beat so I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone off backing Woodland at around 3.711/4 but his record when leading isn't spectacular...
This is the seventh time Woodland has led at halfway and the only time he converted was at the 2013 Reno Tahoe Open and that was the only time he's converted a 54-hole lead too. He's failed to do so on six other occasions. He can hardly be described as ruthless in contention but it's perhaps worth mentioning that he's never before led by as many as three strokes at halfway. All things considered, I'm in no rush to back him but I certainly don't want to lay him either and I'm going to stick with what I have.
In-play pick, Justin Thomas, was a disappointment yesterday but pre-event pick, Bryson DeChambeau, is paired with Woodland and the market, quite rightly, views him the biggest danger to the leader.
Play starts a bit earlier tonight, with the leaders teeing off at 20:45 UK time so I may get to see it all without dropping off! Either way, I'll be back again tomorrow to see how we stand with a round to go.
15:20 - January 04, 2019
The first round of the year on the PGA Tour didn't disappoint and we didn't have to wait long for the first hole-in-one of 2019...
One of my two pre-event picks, Bryson DeChambeau had threatened to use one of the new rule changes to his advantage and he proved a man of his word. As of January 1, leaving the pin in to putt was made legal, presumably in an attempt to speed the game up at amateur level, and DeChambeau had said this was a rule change he could take advantage of. He wasn't wrong. He left the flag in numerous times, it clearly helped on occasions and after the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, DeChambeau leads the field for Strokes Gained Putting.
Bryson may lead the SGP stats but it's Kevin Tway who leads the tournament. Here's the first round leaderboard with prices to back at 15:15.
Kevin Tway -7 24.023/1
Dustin Johnson -6 3.7511/4
Justin Thomas -6 5.95/1
Gary Woodland -6 15.014/1
Marc Leishman -5 15.014/1
Bryson DeChambeau -4 13.5
Rory McIlroy -4 16.015/1
Jason Day -4 18.017/1
Patton Kizzire -4 70.069/1
Andrew Putnam -4 85.084/1
Andrew Landry -4 150.0149/1
-3 and 29.028/1 bar
If the stats are to be believed, it's long odds-on that one of the first five after round one will go on to take the title. The tournament has been staged at Kapalua 20 times previously and only two winners have trailed by more than three strokes after the opening round and those that sit on -4 and three back might be in trouble too given 12 of the last 13 winners have been inside the top five places and within two of the lead after round one.
Sitting alongside Gary Woodland in a tie for second, and just one off the lead, the last two winners, Dustin Johnson (2018) and Justin Thomas (2017) are the men to beat and at the prices available, I much prefer the latter. Thomas tops the Greens In Regulation and Scrambling rankings after day one and he's the value at just a shade under 5/1. Thomas is extremely prolific and I'm happy to get him onside.
I'll be back tomorrow with a look at the state of play at halfway.
Bryson DeChambeau @ 17.016/1
Webb Simpson @ 29.028/1
Justin Thomas @ 6.05/1
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter