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Horses for Courses: Sentry Tournament of Champions

7 Min Read

Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses: Sentry Tournament of Champions

    Written by Mke Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    Welcome back folks!

    Nothing like easing into the New Year with views of humpback whales, rainbows, mountains and the Plantation Course at Kapalua. As is the tradition on the PGATOUR to start the new calendar year, the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions will open the batting. Beginning a run that will take us all the way to the TOUR Championship, it's time to knock the rust off and bunker in for the second part of the 2021-2022 season.

    All who are eligible minus Rory McIlroy means 39 players will tee it up this week at the Coore-Crenshaw design on Maui. The Plantation Course will host all four rounds (no cut) as it has since 1999 but this will be the third edition after the 2019 post-tournament renovation. The last two years have seen both extremes at Kapalua. The 2020 edition was hit with severe winds and rains and posted the second-highest winning total. Last year, the weather was non-existent and the scoring was the second lowest on record on Maui.

    The Plantation Course is defended by the wind and its routing up and down the coastal terrain. The fairways are the widest on TOUR (almost 45 yards on average) and the TifEagle Bermuda greens the biggest targets to hit (over 8,000 square feet on average). There will be wind that blows but the good news is there will be ample room to move it and recovers. Errant shots will find almost three inches of Celebration Bermuda, which will make recovery and scrambling shots challenging to get close.

    Playing at Par-73 at 7,596 yards, the Plantation Course has 93 bunkers and zero water penalty areas but has plenty of canyons, ravines and trouble if shots are errant. There are only three Par-3 holes but each of the last five winners have finished in the top eight in scoring on these short holes. With massive fairways and massive greens, those gaining the most shots into and on the greens will factor this week. Of the last 17 winners 14 have been in the top seven in Strokes-Gained: Approach. Remembering this is a resort course (and Par-73) scores should be in the low 20-under range as usual if the weather cooperates so it's not a week to grind out pars. Birdies will need to be circled and circled frequently!

    Combining the wind and elevation changes minus the use of personal green books (new rule in 2022) suggests that the experienced, elite talent should rule the roost this week. Harris English, the 11th consecutive American to win, returns to try and join Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby as the only players to defend the title. 2020 and 2017 winner Justin Thomas is the only multiple winner in the field this year. Xander Schauffele was the last to set the course record, 62, in his final round come-from-behind victory in 2019. His gold medal in Tokyo punched his ticket into the field this week.

    The prize purse gets a very nice bump to $8.2 million this season with the winner taking home $1.476 million plus 500 FedExCup points to start the New Year in style.

    Recent Event Winners Stats

    WinnerHarris EnglishJustin ThomasXander Schauffele
    MOVPlayoff 3-man playoff1
    All Drives21811
    Putting: Birdie or Better %821
    SG: Off-the-Tee865
    SG: Approach-the-Green1224
    SG: Around-the-Green2585
    SG: Putting1133
    SG: Tee-to-Green1323
    Bogey AvoidanceT2T133
    Par-3 ScoringT312
    Par-4 ScoringT12T72
    Par-5 Scoring5T7T6

    Recent Winners

    2021 - Harris English (-25, 267)

    Birdied the first playoff hole to win for the third time on TOUR in his 250th start. ... Played in the final group on 21-under, setting the 54-hole low total. ... Led by two after 36 holes. ... T-1 after 18 holes (Thomas) after opening with 65. ... Became the EIGHTH consecutive winner inside the top five after 54 holes. ... Made only ONE BOGEY thru 54 holes. ... Circled 26 birdies and one eagle. ... Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Putting. ... Won in his second attempt (T11) at age 31. ... First win since Mayakoba in 2013. ... Qualified for the event from the 2020 TOUR Championship (COVID-19 exception). ... Entered the week on back-to-back Top 10 finishes and four from his last six starts.

    Notables in the field this week:

    2020 and 2017 champ Justin Thomas (3rd) posted his FOURTH podium finish in just six starts. ... Debutant Sungjae Im (T5) had no problem acclimating as he posted all four rounds in the 60s as he led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green. ... 2019 winner Xander Schauffele (T5) collected his third straight top five here. ... Bryson DeChambeau (T7) led the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and Bogey Avoidance (2 bogeys). ... Collin Morikawa (T7) posted a pair of 65s and has T7 in back-to-back seasons. ... Jon Rahm (T7) picked up his fourth Top 10 paycheck in four starts. ... Daniel Berger (10th) was second in Ball-Striking and GIR. ... 34 of 42 players were 10-under or better. ... 34 bogey-free rounds. ... Scoring average 69.315, easiest on TOUR last season. ... Second-easiest Sentry on record (2003).

    2020 - Justin Thomas (14-under, 278)

    Birdied third playoff hole to win for the 12th time on TOUR in his 141st start. ... Began the final round in the last group one back. ... Sat three back after 36 holes. ... One behind after opening with 67. ... Led the field in Par-3 scoring and continued the trend of the winner being in the top seven the last five years. ... 24 birdies led the field. ... Becomes only the fourth multiple champion (2017) since the event moved to Kapalua in 1999. ... Third podium in five attempts at age 26. ... Won twice and added three top 10 paydays in six events leading into the event.

    Notables in the field this week:

    2015 champ Patrick Reed (P2) posted two of the three lowest rounds of the week (66) to make the playoff and ensure his third top two finish. ... 2019 winner Xander Schauffele (P2) led after 54 and 36 holes but could not repeat. ... Patrick Cantlay (4th) led the field in Proximity and was T4 GIR. ... Debutant Collin Morikawa (T7) hit the second most fairways with 55 of 60 and posted all four rounds under par. ... 2018 runner up Jon Rahm (10th) hit the top 10 in both Fairways and GIR. ... First edition after post 2019 renovation. ... Firm fairways and greens because of all new sod. ... Wind blew 20-30 MPH with gusts at 40. ... Lift, clean and replace the final 54 holes. ... Highest winning score since 2007. ... Just seven bogey free rounds. ... Only six players 10-under or better. ... 72.228 scoring average.

    2019 - Xander Schauffele (23-under, 269)

    Made 11 birdies on Sunday to win by one and claim his fourth victory in 61 career starts. ... Final round 62 tied the course record and was the lowest round of the week. ... Sat five off the lead after 54 and 36 holes. ... Was six back after 18 holes. ... Largest final round comeback in history (5 shots). ... Finished T5 or better in EVERY Strokes-Gained category. ... Made 24 birdies, second to Thomas. ... Played his final 54 holes 22-under. ... Won on his second attempt after T22 in 2018 at age 24. ... Won WGC-HSBC Champions in November and T8 at Hero in December leading in.

    Notables in the field this week:

    2017 winner Justin Thomas (3rd) led the field in birdies with 25 as he was second in Fairways and fourth GIR. ... Marc Leishman (T4) backed up his T7 from 2018 even with a triple and a double on the card. ... Bryson DeChambeau (7th) was T3 in Distance of Putts made. ... Jon Rahm (T8) followed his solo second in 2018 with another top 10. ... Cameron Champ (T11) circled 22 birdies. ... Final event before the massive Coore-Crenshaw renovation. ... Scoring average 70.924. ... 12 bogey free rounds. ... 15 players 10-under or better.

    Key stat leaders

    Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

    Strokes-Gained: Approach the Green
    1Collin Morikawa
    3Justin Thomas
    5Daniel Berger
    8Jon Rahm
    14Xander Schauffele
    15Viktor Hovland
    17Hideki Matsuyama
    23Abraham Ancer
    24Patrick Cantlay
    25Brooks Koepka
    28Tony Finau
    30Sam Burns
    32Talor Gooch
    34Stewart Cink
    38Seamus Power
    40Max Homa
    41Jordan Spieth
    Birdie or Better PercentagePlayer
    1Cameron Smith
    2Bryson DeChambeau
    4Jordan Spieth
    5Justin Thomas
    6Harris English
    7Sam Burns
    8Patrick Reed
    9Cam Davis
    13Jon Rahm
    13Xander Schauffele
    15Brooks Koepka
    22Jason Kokrak
    24Viktor Hovland
    25Max Homa
    27Tony Finau
    28Patrick Cantlay
    33Hideki Matsuyama
    34Abraham Ancer
    35Daniel Berger
    39Erik van Rooyen
    Par-3 Scoring
    1Jon Rahm
    1Stewart Cink
    4Daniel Berger
    6Cameron Smith
    6Jason Kokrak
    14Abraham Ancer
    17Harris English
    17Tony Finau
    22Justin Thomas
    22Sungjae Im
    33Xander Schauffele
    33Bryson DeChambeau
    33Collin Morikawa
    33Marc Leishman

    Horses for Courses: Sentry Tournament of Champions

    Top Money Leaders (Starts)Top 10's Most Recent Top Finish NotesStroke Avg
    Justin Thomas (6)43 (2021)2020 and 2017 winner; 3rd 2019; 14 of 24 in 60s69.13
    Patrick Reed (7)4P2 (2020)2015 winner; 2nd 201669.46
    Jordan Spieth (4)49 (2018)2016 winner in 2nd visit; 2nd on debut; T3 2017; 11 of 16 in 60s68.25
    Xander Schauffele (4)3T5 (2021)2019 winner closed with 62 to tie course record; P2 202069.16
    Jon Rahm (4)4T7 (2021)10th, T8 and 2nd the previous 3 years; 5th straight appearance69.44
    Hideki Matsuyama (4)3T4 (2018)T3 on debut 2015; 2nd 2017; 5 rounds of 6669.44
    Marc Leishman (4)2T4 (2019)T7 2018; 12 of 15 in the red70.33
    Harris English (2)1Win (2021)T11 2014; 37-under total in 8 rounds68.38
    Fresher Faces
    Sungjae Im (1)1T5 (2021)All 4 rounds in the 60s; worst round 69; 24 birdies, 1 eagle, 5 bogeys67.75
    Bryson DeChambeau (3)2T7 (2021)7th 2020; T26 2018; 10 straight in the red; All 12 Par or better69.92
    Collin Morikawa (2)2T7 (2021)T7 2020; 29-under combined; 65 twice last year69.38
    Patrick Cantlay (3)14th (2020)Only 5 Rounds in the 60s; 67 best69.92
    Daniel Berger (3)110th (2021)T14 on debut, T11 next visit #Trending; 11 of 12 rounds red69.58
    Brooks Koepka (3)1T3 (2016)Best is debut; Wrist problem 2018; 63 on debut as well72.00
    Cameron Champ (3)0T11 (2019)Only 4 Rounds in the 60s; 4th consecutive appearance70.75
    Si Woo Kim (2)110th (2018)T30 debut 2017; 6 of 8 in the red71.63
    Tony Finau (2)1T9 (2017)7 of 8 in the red; T31 last year69.88
    Cameron Smith (2)0T17 (2018)T24 last year; only 2 rounds in the 60s70.25
    Abraham Ancer (1)0T17 (2021)Last 2 rounds best (69-66); 23 birdies 5 bogeys 1 double69.00
    Max Homa (1)0T25 (2020)71 best round73.00
    Branden Grace (1)031 (2017)Played 4 rounds 1-over73.25
    Viktor Hovland (1)0T31 (2021)Closed with 7670.25
    Jason Kokrak (1)0T35 (2021)66 Round 2, 76 Round 470.75
    Matt Jones (1)0T11 (2015)All 4 rounds in the red; 22 birdies69.50
    Lucas Glover (2)16th (2006)Top 10 on debut; T14 last visit 201071.13
    Phil Mickelson (2)0T22 (1999)T28 2000 only two appearances; 0 rounds in the 60s72.50
    Kevin Na (3)0T12 (2012)Debut is best; T38, T32 last 2 years72.42
    Kevin Kisner (4)19 (2016)Debut is best; 15 of 16 in red70.38
    Billy Horschel (5)1T6 (2014)Best was debut; Only 4 of 20 rounds in the 60s70.50
    Stewart Cink (5)29th (2010)T31 in return last year; 74 in the breeze Rd 4 202169.79
    First Appearance
    Sam Burns
    Joel Dahmen
    Cam Davis
    Talor Gooch
    Lucas Herbert
    Garrick Higgo
    KH Lee
    Seamus Power
    Erik van Rooyen
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