PGA DFS Primer: Sentry Tournament of Champions (2022)
The 2022 PGA Tour returns this Thursday at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. The tournament is unique because it will only feature 39 players, all of whom won at least one tournament in 2021. In addition, most of the competitors should be well-rested with the last PGA Tour event being held nearly a month ago. Plantation is also the only course that runs as a par 73 on the PGA Tour circuit, with a favorable layout that should yield several 20-under-par finishes.
Sentry Tournament of Champions features no cuts due to the small field, allowing players to overcome sluggish starts to mount a run up the leaderboard. There is a good mixture of veterans and newcomers this year, which adds a layer of unpredictability to how the tournament unfolds over its four-day allotment located in beautiful Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.
I’ve collected a couple of blue-chip prospects and some hidden value players to help you construct winning lineups during the first tournament of the new year.
- 2021 – Harris English
- 2020 – Justin Thomas
- 2019 – Xander Schauffele
- 2018 – Dustin Johnson
- 2017 – Justin Thomas
There are a couple of recurring themes when assessing the Plantation Course at Kapalua. As previously mentioned, it’s a par 73, featuring only three par 3s. While there are quite a few lengthy par 4s and par 5s, the downhill fairways and crossing wind patterns create momentum in the player’s favor, allowing drives and long tee shots to wind up in plus-territory. Some of the holes have hills surrounding the green, forcing the player to take approach shots with limited vision, creating illusions of difficulty despite the fast, expansive bentgrass greens behind them.
The back-nine is mainly comprised of par 4s and par 5s, with crossing winds forcing accurate drives and tee shots to remain on doglegged fairways. Renovations were performed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw before its debut in 2019, leaning on flatter greens that roll at quicker speeds. Unfortunately, the wind is both a friend and an enemy at Kapalua. Fortunately, the forecast calls for minimal wind this weekend. Players will be lighting up the scoreboard with birdies if this holds up, although the island is known to adjust its weather patterns quickly. Sand bunkers flank most greens and fairways, a familiar sight to all competing in the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Relevant Betting Stats
- Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentage
- Birdie Average
- Driving Accuracy Percentage
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Putting
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Patrick Cantlay ($9,700)
The reigning 2021 FedExCup champion, Patrick Cantlay, is a must-add to DFS lineups in his 2022 debut. The 29-year old native of California was nearly flawless as he won four tournaments, including the PGA Championship, relying on a potent combination of high GIR percentage and dominating the strokes gained categories. Cantlay racked up 335 birdies during the most successful year of his career and should hit the ground running in Kapalua this weekend. Last year, Cantlay finished T13 at 17-under-par but fizzled out in the final round (-1) to land outside the top-ten. Cantlay is an excellent value at under $10,000 on DraftKings, so prioritize him as the anchor in your lineups.
Sungjae Im ($8,200)
It’s not often that a player with a tournament win under his belt is available at $8,200. However, this is the case for 23-year old Sungjae Im, as he finished a ridiculous 24-under-par at the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas back in October. Last year, the South Korean native fared exceptionally well at Kapalua, finishing T5 (-21) with a well-rounded performance. This season, Im is deadly accurate with hitting greens in regulation, boasting a 74 percent conversion rate, ranked 22nd on Tour. Strokes gained off-the-tee, tee-to-green, and around-the-green all rank 20th or better, meaning Im will be positioned for success once again in 2022. Additionally, his salary is ridiculously undervalued, making Im a quality upside player to enlist in lineups this weekend.
Patrick Reed ($7,900)
31-year old Patrick Reed produced an impressive resume in 2021 but could not compete in the FedExCup playoff rounds due to health issues. Fortunately, Reed is back and playing well in 2022, earning runner-up at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in October with a 14-under-par finish. He has struggled in all of his other event appearances this season, but he can play well in big moments, as Reed finished 21st with 15-under-par at Kapalua last season. His cheap salary reflects the missed cut and three finishes outside of the top 56, so take advantage of a player with massive upside and use him as a quality salary-saving option in lineups at Kapalua this weekend.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000
Jon Rahm ($12,000)
Jon Rahm solidified himself as a household name in 2021, earning a whopping 15 finishes inside of the top ten. Despite always being in the mix to win tournaments, Rahm only won one event in 2021 and finished second in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the PGA Championship. Rahm has a powerful driver and finesse with his irons but did experience occasional putting issues in clutch moments. Last year at Kapalua, Rahm finished T7 at 20-under-par, overcoming a shaky start to finish six-under in the final round, catapulting him into the top ten. Expect more of the same for the priciest player on the slate. He cannot hurt or damage your lineup in any way, as Rahm led the Tour in birdies (4.51 average) last season and is well-rested, heading into his 2022 debut in Maui this weekend.
Daniel Berger ($10,500)
Yet another player making his 2022 debut is 31-year old American Daniel Berger. Last season, the Florida native finished 11th in the FedExCup standings thanks to an accurate driver, good putting, and a phenomenal GIR conversion percentage. Berger managed to produce eight top-ten finishes and only missed two cuts in 23 events. His only win came at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but he played well at Kapalua, finishing 19-under-par to earn tenth place. He’s been a consistently good player at Kapalua, dating back to 2017 when he first debuted, earning T14 and T11 finishes before cracking the top ten last season. As a result, he is slightly undervalued and makes for a good play in lineups due to his incredible greens in regulation consistency.
Sam Burns ($11,100)
Sam Burns is a rising star in the PGA. Hailing from Louisiana, the 25-year old has transferred his elite play from 2021 to 2022. Burns has three top-ten finishes in four PGA events this season, including winning the Sanderson Farms Championship to start the year off right. Burns did not compete at Kapalua in 2021, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches the course, as it offers quite a few misleading perceptions due to hills, wind, and mountainous backdrops. However, I’m highly confident in Burns’ ability to generate massive production in the form of birdies, which is the ultimate PGA DFS currency. Plug Burns into lineups and watch the points pile up by the end of this weekend.
Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup — to learn more.