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Sentry Tournament of Champions 2018 betting tips: 3 from the tee at Kapalua

Jon Wilde 2 Jan 2018
Jordan Spieth (credit:Credit by bettingpro)'s Jon Wilde provides outright betting tips for the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a guide on how to bet on this opening PGA Tour event of 2018 taking place in Hawaii from January 4-7.

Background to the Tournament of Champions

The Tournament of Champions was inaugurated in 1953 and is restricted to players who won a PGA Tour event in the previous calendar year, having been the season-opener until 2013 when the schedule was switched to a wraparound campaign from October to September.

It has previously had a variety of sponsors, most recently Mercedes, Hyundai and South Korean broadcasting company SBS, while Sentry Insurance have now come on board with a five-year deal starting this year.

Jack Nicklaus is the most prolific Tournament of Champions winner with five victories, while of the current generation of players Stuart Appleby three-peated from 2004-2006. But the only previous champions teeing it up this time are Justin Thomas (2017), Jordan Spieth (2016) and Dustin Johnson (2013) who are currently the top three in the world rankings.

Three from the tee

Here are the trio we are backing at a variety of odds as they try to give themselves, and us, a flying start to 2018:

1) JORDAN SPIETH @ 11/2 with BetFred

Jordan Spieth (Getty Images)

Let’s start with the favourite for this event because you need to have one of the market leaders running for you and Spieth fits the bill, having captured the title two years ago and finished second and third on his other two appearances.

When the Texan likes a venue he generally performs well there on each visit and the reigning Open champion looks a solid bet to make a winning start to 2018.

2) RUSSELL HENLEY @ 50/1 with BetFred (paying 1/4 odds first 4 places for each-way bets)

Russell Henley (Getty Images)

Henley had a quiet end to last year with only a couple of run-of-the-mill performances after he finished an excellent third at the Tour Championship, but the reigning Houston Open winner should be relishing his return to Kapalua.

Last time he qualified for this event, in 2015, he finished third to show he is capable of playing well straight out of the box, and appeals at generous-looking odds here.

3) WESLEY BRYAN @ 150/1 with BetFred

Wesley Bryan (Getty Images)

Regular readers may know that Bryan did us a huge favour when he won The Heritage last April, tipped by us at 80/1, and we are hopeful he can do us an even bigger turn here at almost double those odds.

Strong performances at the John Deere Classic and in Japan right at the end of last year again showed Bryan can cut the mustard at the highest level, and the emphasis this venue places on a strong game from 120 yards in should suit the 27-year-old from South Carolina. 

Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui, Hawaii is the venue for the Sentry Tournament of Champions and specifically the Plantation Course, which has staged the event since 1999.

It is a par-73, unusually, which measures 7,452 yards and among its designers was two-time former Masters champion Ben Crenshaw. There are four par-fives and a trio of short holes.

Located on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, there are spectacular ocean views on almost every hole and the dramatic elevation changes offer plenty of downhill tee shots. Wide fairways and generous greens make it a big hitter’s paradise.

Four players share the course record of 62, including Jason Day and Chris Kirk who both recorded their 11-under-par score on the final day of the 2015 Tournament of Champions.

Previous winners

Sentry Tournament of Champions results: Past winners of the Sentry Tournament of Champions

YearWinnerScoreTo ParRunner-Up
2007Vijay Singh278-14Adam Scott
2008Daniel Chopra274-18Steve Stricker
2009Geoff Ogilvy268-24Anthony Kim/Davis Love III
2010Geoff Ogilvy270-22Rory Sabbatini
2011Jonathan Byrd268-24Robert Garrigus
2012Steve Stricker269-23Martin Laird
2013Dustin Johnson203 (reduced to 3 rounds)-16Steve Stricker
2014Zach Johnson273-19Jordan Spieth
2015Patrick Reed271-21Jimmy Walker
2016Jordan Spieth262-30Patrick Reed
2017Justin Thomas270-22Hideki Matusyama

Sentry Tournament of Champions in-play betting tactics

A fast start is a huge advantage in this event because in the 19 renewals held at this venue, 17 of the winners were within three shots of the lead after the first round.

It’s also worth pointing out that the two exceptions to that stat occurred when the wind blew and so if conditions are calm, the front-runners are highly unlikely to come back to the field.

There may not necessarily be a wire-to-wire winner, but there have been several instances of a couple of players having this tournament between them from an early stage.

Sentry Tournament of Champions markets

Bookmakers are offering a good range of markets on this tournament including Winner, Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20 Finish – bear in mind only 34 players are competing - plus First Round Leader.

Those happy to bet on a single nationality or continent of player can choose from five such markets - Top American, Top Non-American (or Top Rest of the World with some bookmakers), Top Australian (Marc Leishman or Cameron Smith) and Top European (Jon Rahm or Jonas Blixt). These can be a good way to bet if you fancy a certain player to go well, or at least better than a compatriot, but not necessarily feature right at the top of the leaderboard.

There are also a few special bets on offer including whether there will be a play-off or a hole in one, as well as the margin of victory.

Bookmaker promotions on the Sentry Tournament of Champions

For details of all the ongoing golf promotions available with the bookmakers, click here

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Sentry Tournament of Champions 2018 betting tips: 3 from the tee at Kapalua's Jon Wilde provides outright betting tips for the Sentry Tournament of Champions and a guide on how to bet on this opening PGA Tour event of 2018 taking place in Hawaii from January 4-7.

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