The PGA TOUR returns with its first tournament of 2023; the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. The course will play as a par 73 that measures 7,596 yards and features Bermuda greens.
The Tournament of Champions has a new wrinkle this year, as anyone who made the TOUR Championship at East Lake last August gets an invite to this tournament, as well as all of the 2022 PGA TOUR winners. There will be a 39-man field this week with 17 of the world’s top 20 golfers teeing it up. Rory McIlroy is the lone qualifier who is not making the trip to Maui. This tournament is a no-cut event and will require a ton of scoring to take home the trophy.
The only time the winner of the TOC failed to break 20-under-par over the last eight years was Justin Thomas, who won at 14-under back in 2020, where the wind played a big factor.
Jon Rahm ($10,000)
Rahm will be making his sixth straight trip to Kapalua, and he’s taken a serious liking to the Plantation Course. Over his past five starts at the TOC, Rahm’s finished inside the top 10 on each occasion, while posting a pair of runner-up finishes in that span, including last year. The Spaniard had somewhat of a subpar 2022 season by his standards, only posting one PGA TOUR victory, which came at the Mexico Open at Vidanta in May.
He did pick his game up during the Fall swing, including winning twice on the DP World Tour at the Open de Espana and the DP World Championship Dubai. The fact he’s coming in with good form bodes well for his chances this week. Over his past 48 rounds in this field, Rahm ranks No. 1 in SG: Off-the-Tee, third in SG: Ball-Striking and seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green. He also ranks No. 1 in this field in Total Strokes Gained per round at Kapalua. His $10,000 price tag on DraftKings is pretty cheap, especially considering that Rory McIlroy will not be teeing it up this week. Rahm should be a staple in cash game and GPP lineups alike.
Xander Schauffele ($9,500)
The no-cut king himself is also a bit underpriced this week at just $9,500. Much like Rahm, Schauffele also fancies Kapalua, having posted a win and two additional top-five finishes in his five starts at this event. Over his past 48 rounds in this field, Schauffele ranks No. 2 overall in Strokes Gained: Total, behind only Tony Finau ($9,300). He also sits fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green and fourth in SG: Approach in the same time frame. Keep in mind this is one of the best fields we will see all season.
Before a down season in par-5 scoring average last year, Schauffele ranked third on the PGA TOUR in that department in 2021 and should feast on the four par 5s that will be in play this week. It would come as a surprise to no one should Schauffele pick up his eighth career victory this week, and the fact you’re getting a decent price discount from the top of the board would make it that much sweeter.
Aaron Wise ($7,400)
In order to jam in some of the studs at the top you are going to need some value plays to round out your rosters. Look no further than Wise, who had a phenomenal 2022 season, posting four top-10 finishes and three additional top-15s. He closed out the Fall swing really well and it shows in the numbers, as he ranks No. 1 in this field in bogey avoidance over his past 16 rounds, while also ranking third in eagles per round in the same time frame.
Wise can get scorching hot with his putter and make a ton of birdies (22nd on PGA TOUR in BoB% last season) and we are guaranteed four full rounds from him this week, making him one of the premier values on the slate.
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