Sentry Tournament of Champions 2019 Betting Preview

Sentry Tournament of Champions 2019 Betting Preview

It is time for the first PGA Tour event of the new year as the Sentry Tournament of Champions gets underway. 2019 promises to be a big year for golf, as Tiger Woods looks to carry on his resurgence, whilst the elite talent that has formed during his absence, will continue their own strong play.

34 players tee it up this week, from a possible 37 that qualified, for the 2019 renewal of the Tournament of Champions, in Kapalua, Hawaii. Only those that won in the previous calendar year earn an invite this week, giving us an elite field and a superb event.

Just two players from the World’s top-10 miss this week, as Justin Rose chooses to prepare elsewhere, whilst world No.9, Tony Finau didn’t qualify. Woods and Phil Mickelson both could have played but decided against making the trip to this wonderful resort.

Favourites

It may be a new year, but it’s the same old favourites this week as Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka headline the betting here at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Two wins, two top-6’s and two more top-10’s in his last six starts here make Johnson the obvious favourite. He won here 12 months ago, with a 24-under-par total, eight shots better off than next best, Jon Rahm and 2018 saw him win three times in total.

Koepka finished dead last of 34 players last year, but was battling the wrist problem that eventually kept him out for 4 months. A 3rd place finish on debut in 2016 is perhaps a better indicator of his chances, and he’ll hope for a good week to start the year. A win three starts ago at the CJ Cup is evidence enough to suggest 2019 could be another big year, and he relishes these strong fields.

The aforementioned Jon Rahm returns this week, fresh off a victory last time out at the Hero World Challenge. That was another limited field, with an elite feel and he will look to better his 2nd place finish here last year. Debutants don’t tend to prosper here as a rule, but Rahm is a unique talent, which allowed him to play well here last year. He looks well placed once again for another PGA Tour victory. The wind that can wreak havoc here shouldn’t come between him and victory, as the young Spaniard is a former winner of the Irish Open.

Justin Thomas is another former winner here, and he followed up that victory in 2017, with a win at the Sony Open a week later, to complete the Hawaii double. Happy in this part of the world, Thomas will be hoping for a finish similar to that of two years ago, as opposed to his 21st and 22nd place finishes in his other efforts. He was average at the Hero World Challenge last time out, where he finished T12, in the 18-man field, after four-straight rounds of 70. He ended the 2017/18 season with a T7 finish at the Tour Championship and started this one with a T5 at the CIMB Classic back in October, so he’s playing well enough. A hard worker, you can be sure Thomas has put in a lot of effort to get better in the off-season, as he strives to regain the top spot in the world rankings.

Rory McIlroy will play this event for the first time in his career, opting for a different schedule this year. He suggested at the end of 2018 that he will play more events on the PGA Tour this season, something fans of the European Tour and the organisation itself wouldn’t have wanted to hear. Either way, this is a new test for McIlroy who’s power off the tee may help him here, if he can get to grips with the unique course at the first time of asking. Low scoring, and wide fairways will suit McIlroy but this stop is not usually a fruitful one for debutants. 2018 had its highs, with a win at Bay Hill the standout performance, but it was frustrating nonetheless. Rory was in position to win on multiple occasions, including at Augusta but poor final rounds proved costly. He’ll look to right some of those wrongs this year, starting here, so it be interesting to see how he gets on. He finished his 2017/18 season strongly with finishes of 5th and T7 in his last two FedEx cup starts, but he’s been no better than T20 in three limited-field events since, so will need to improve.

Jason Day has never finished outside the top-12 in four starts at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but only once has he contended, finishing 3rd here in 2015. He was just one shot shy of the play-off that year, which was contested instead between eventual winner, Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker. 16th out of 18 players at the Hero World Challenge last time out, Day’s form continues to go up and down, but he’ll hope to find some consistency soon. T5 at the CJ Cup and T11 at the WGC HSBC, Day has played well enough in recent starts to suggest he may go well again here.

Three wins in his last six starts and four in total in 2018, the most of any player, Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed an incredible year. Two of those wins came in his first two FedEx Cup Playoff events, and the most recent came at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open where he kicked off his 2018/19 season. He was largely disappointing at the Hero World Challenge, but a final-round 68 saved face somewhat, and gave him something to build on going into the off-season. 26th on debut here 12 months ago, Dechambeau will be hoping for a much better showing this time around, and that will be expected given the improvements he’s made since. A proven winner, Dechambeau will be hoping for more victories in 2019 and he can get that started here.

Dark Horses

Webb Simpson returned to his brilliant best in  2018, which led to a dominant victory at the Players Championship. He was unlucky not to double his tally on the year, finishing T2 at the Wyndham, as well as T6 and T4 at the BMW and Tour Championship respectively to end the season. T15 at the Shriners and T3 last time out at the RSM Classic suggest he has another strong season to look forward to. In three starts here, Simpson has finished 3rd twice and 11th in between. When 11th in 2013, Simpson was actually very unlucky that the first round was cancelled and scores scrapped, after being 3-under-par through 7, despite tough conditions. In superb form and familiar with winning again, Simpson looks a good price to go well at this course again, despite a four-year absence.

Brandt Snedeker has a decent record here, with 3rd place finishes in 2013 and 2016 and the 2018 Wyndham Classic winner can go well again this year. A superb putter who likes this course, he should enjoy this test once again and looks good value to battle for a place at the very least. Snedeker got his new season off to a good start, finishing T2 at the Safeway Open, where in truth, he should have won. A final round 74 meant he had to play in a three-man play-off in which, Kevin Tway emerged victorious in the end. No better than T30 in four starts since, his form certainly isn’t where  it could be, but he can improve here. He’s won at Torrey Pines twice, once at the end of January and then at the start of February and he’s also won at Pebble Beach twice, again in February, so he’s enjoyed fast starts to the year in the past. He has also nearly won down the road at the Sony Open, where he lost in a play-off in 2016, so he likes this part of the world, as well as this time of year.

Recommended Bets:

Dustin Johnson to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions at 5/1 with Bet365 – BET HERE

Rory McIlroy as the top European at 11/5 with Bet365 – BET HERE