The PGA Tour season picks back up this week as it visits the Plantation Course at Kapalua for the 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design will play as a par 73, 7,596 yard layout this week as it hosts this tournament for the 25th time. Notably missing this week is defending champion Cameron Smith, who set a PGA Tour record by shooting 258 in this tournament last year, good enough for -34. Smith is no longer eligible for the PGA Tour after signing over with LIV Golf.
Player to Fade:
Ryan Brehm qualified this week by winning the 2022 Puerto Rico Open. It has been a struggle for Brehm ever since, missing the cut in 18 of his 23 starts since winning, including all 7 events so far this season. Brehm has yet to fire a round in the 60’s this season, which puts him at a huge deficit, as the average winning score the last 5 years here has been 268 (-24). With an inability to go low, Brehm is an after thought this week and will finish in the bottom quarter of the field in this no-cut event.
Brian Harman has gotten off to a fast start this season, with 4 top 25 finishes in 4 starts, including back to back runner-up finishes to close out 2022. Harman looks to continue his hot streak at Kapalua, where he has made two made prior starts, highlighted by a 3rd place finish in his most recent appearance here in 2018. The field this week is strong, with 17 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking teeing it up, but we predict Harman has the game to contend and bring home a top 15 finish.
One of the hottest men in golf right now, Jon Rahm has been on quite the tear of late, with 2 wins and 7 top 10’s in his last 8 worldwide starts. Although he has not won at Kapalua in his career, Rahm has played about as flawlessly as one can, with 2 runner-up finishes and 5 top 10’s in 5 starts, capped off by a runner-up, -33 showing last year behind Cameron Smith. Rahm is ranked 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green, and 4th in Scoring Average on the young season and will 100% be in the mix on Sunday. A 6th straight top 10 finish at Kapalua is a lock for Rahm this week.
A two-time Sentry Tournament of Champions winner, Justin Thomas qualified for this year’s edition thanks to his come from behind victory in the 2022 PGA Championship. Fresh off a 5th place finish at the Hero World Challenge and a victory alongside teammate Jordan Spieth in The Match, Thomas comes to one of his best courses on tour in Kapalua, as he has won here twice in 7 starts and has had 4 straight top 5 finishes in this event. Finishing at -20 or better each of the last two years here, we predict that the 3rd time will be the charm for Thomas as he picks up his 3rd Tournament of Champions victory in Kapalua!