We have made it — golf is returning this week with the annual trip to Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. As the name suggests, the field this week is made up of golfers who won a sanctioned PGA Tour event in 2021 (last year’s field had a few golfers who didn’t win due to COVID-19 issues). The tournament will be played at the familiar Plantation Course at Kapalua. Although a smaller field, we have plenty of data to sift through due to years of this competition being played here. 

The Plantation course is unique in its look and location and isn’t exactly similar to many others golfers will typically see. It is a par 73 and potentially can play as long as 7,596 yards. Due to its location and undulating fairways, we often see multiple 400+ yard drives on certain holes, which you will not miss as the commentators will be sure to point them out. 

Large, easy-to-hit fairways often lead to an edge for distance/less accurate and a high number of greens in regulation hit and that appears to be true in Kapalua. Missing greens here hasn’t led to overly difficult chipping; however, it will prevent birdie opportunities that will be needed as the winning scores tend to be quite low here. Overall, the course doesn’t present anything tricky and driving and irons will lead to a great weekend (like most weeks). 

Below are two free bets this week. To see all of my bets, head on over to the Bet Tracker. If you’re not yet a subscriber, use code “Axis” to receive an additional discount on your subscription.

 

 

Matchup | Collin Morikawa over Bryson DeChambeau

+120, FanDuel Sportsbook

I can see why the market may favor DeChambeau at this particular course, seeing how the fairways are huge (almost non-existent rough) and the massive drive number get pumped on TV coverage. That said, the distance advantage I saw isn’t any larger than usual and Morikawa’s irons should be a greater advantage. Morikawa is not DeChambeau off the tee, but he’s no slouch either. Another angle, which is not part of my model, is DeChambeau’s first go at putting without the sophisticated greens reading books. He’s been vocal on how useful these have been to him so I’m curious to see if it changes anything. He has been a great putter, and this is just one week, but it will be something to watch his numbers over the first quarter of the season. All that said, I made the line -105/105 in favor of Morikawa. 

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Matchup | Sam Burns over Daniel Berger

-110, DraftKings Sportsbook

Burns took his game to a new level in 2021, and despite my ratings often being more bullish on Berger, I have to back Burns at this price. I do think they are similar golfers in projected output; however, Burns is a slightly better ball striker and although Berger historically has been a great putter, there was a bit of a lapse last season. Will this continue? Hard to say, but Burns continued to be exceptional on the greens and his play through the fall-swing was immaculate. It does pain me a bit to go against my man Berger, but Burns consistency is hard to argue against. Berger has the same winning upside, but more of a tail off right now in my sims. It’s a small margin matchup, but I’ll take Burns. 

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