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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Sentry Tournament of Champions (2023)

PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Sentry Tournament of Champions (2023)

The 2023 PGA Tour officially kicks off with a scenic trip to Kapalua Resort at Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii for the 25th annual Sentry Tournament of Champions. It’s a bit of a unique format in terms of the size of the field and no cut-line being enforced. For the field, every player with an outright win last season or earlier this season was invited, but Sentry also extends its invites to players who qualified for the TOUR Championship in August. Players like Sahith Theegala and Cameron Young have fulfilled that criteria, never managing an outright win but playing well enough to draw a few top-five finishes. Other veterans will have plenty of experience to rely on and on a course like Plantation, where the wind is the dominant obstacle to overcome, there could be quite a large number of red scorecards in each of the four rounds played.

Since the opening tee times are happening in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, viewers in the Eastern Time zone will not be able to watch the action until 6 p.m. ET on Thursday night. The purse has been raised for Sentry, rewarding the winner with $2.7 million, while distributing the remaining $12.3 million amongst the other 38 players in the field. As mentioned before, there is no cut line enforced, so the urgency won’t be as present on the first day as it normally is on other PGA Tour tracks. Cameron Smith logged a 34-under-par finish to set a new record last year, but he’s no longer around due to his affiliation with LIV Golf, opening up opportunities for other players to compete and earn the massive purse and an additional 550 FedExCup points towards the FedExCup playoff push late in the summer.

There’s quite a bit of value to obtain on this slate at the 25th Sentry Tournament of Champions. I’ve identified six of my favorite players to add when constructing DFS lineups ahead of Thursday’s opening round tee times. Before we get there, let’s take a bit of time to recap previous winners, relevant betting stats, and a course breakdown.

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Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Cameron Smith (-34)
  • 2021 – Harris English (-25)
  • 2020 – Justin Thomas (-14)
  • 2019 – Xander Schauffele (-23)
  • 2018 – Dustin Johnson (-24)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Greens in Regulation
  • Par Breakers
  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Bogey Avoidance

Course Overview

Plantation Course was initially built and designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw back in 1991. The course underwent a redesign phase in 2019, but it remains the only par 73 course used on the PGA Tour circuit. There are ample opportunities to lower one’s score throughout each round and the entire weekend due to soft, Bermuda greens that measure just over 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. Plantation runs just shy of 7,600 yards and features minimal hazards, with a smattering of shallow sand bunkers and rough that is trimmed around two inches.

The real obstacle for players to be weary of during their rounds is the prevailing coastal winds off of the cliffs and beaches that surround Plantation. The breathtaking views may be scenic, but there is always the chance that wind gusts start to swirl and complicate tee shots and approach shots on certain holes. There are only three par 3s but four par 5s, which will give players more chances to lower their scores and finish the day deep in the red on their scorecard. After all, we’ve seen four of the past five winners produce a -24-under-par final score to win, with the only exception being Justin Thomas’ -14-under-par victory in a thrilling playoff between him, Patrick Red, and Xander Schauffele.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Jon Rahm: $10,000
There is minimal risk with investing in Jon Rahm. While he hasn’t won at Sentry yet, he fell one stroke short with a blistering 33-under-par final score in 2022. The Spaniard is in his prime and is a wizard with his irons and driver, ranking 12th in driving distance, third in driving accuracy, and eighth in greens in regulation percentage at 75 percent. Rahm’s putter can occasionally betray him, but he’s going to have abundant chances to cash in on birdies throughout the four-day event. He’s the second-most expensive salary on DraftKings behind only Scottie Scheffler, but Rahm’s experience and skill set create the perfect blend to warrant insertion into DFS lineups.

Matt Fitzpatrick: $9,100
Matt Fitzpatrick will make his debut at Sentry on Thursday but he’s one of the Tour’s best players when it comes to his pure talent with ball-striking. The 28-year-old Englishman had ten T10 finishes in 2022, including his first win during a major at the U.S. Open, showing his growth and maturity as a player. Fitzpatrick is 26th in strokes gained putting, 15th in total strokes gained, and has a strong, accurate driver to get him down the fairway in a good position to approach the greens. I like Fitzpatrick’s upside and he’s reasonably priced at $9,100 on DraftKings.

Aaron Wise: $7,400
Another young, developing talent entering Sentry for the first time is 26-year-old American, Aaron Wise. He has competed in four solo events already this season, drawing T25 finishes in three of four, while possessing incredible touch with his irons. Wise is seventh in strokes gained around the green, 18th in strokes gained putting and can start and finish strong. At only $7,400 on DraftKings, Wise is a huge value that could dominate the Plantation Course during his first appearance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Xander Schauffele: $10,900
One of my favorite blue-chip prospects on this slate is Xander Schauffele. Since the 2018-19 season, when Schauffele won outright with a final scorecard of -23-under-par, the California native has been dominant at Plantation. Schauffele followed up his win with T2, T5, and 12th-place finishes, so you’re getting a massive floor and an equally high ceiling by inserting him into FanDuel lineups. Schauffele has a T10 finish in his lone solo event at the ZOZO Championship this season and his ball-striking is world-class, so feel confident plugging him into DFS lineups this weekend.

Brian Harman: $8,800
We’re digging into the value plays here with Brian Harman. The small-framed, 35-year-old Georgia native has been around the PGA Tour for over a decade, but he’s playing some of the best golf of his career right now. Harman has four T25 finishes in four solo events this year, including two runner-ups, relying on a hyper-efficient 75 percent greens in regulation conversion rate. He’s also ranked 19th in total strokes gained, which encompasses several other strokes gained metrics, showcasing how talented Harman is when his irons are on fire and his putter cooperates. At under $9,000 on FanDuel, we’re getting massive value with Harman.

J.J. Spaun: $7,800
J.J. Spaun has been consistently producing T15 and T25 finishes to start the 2022-23 PGA Tour season on a good note. He’s yet another player with no experience at Kapalua, and while none of his metrics are notable or eye-popping, Spaun finds a way to get the job done when it counts the most. He won’t have to worry about a cut line, and he usually starts and finishes strong, so the 32-year-old Los Angeles, California native could be in line to return big value with a T25 finish at just $7,800 on FanDuel.

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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.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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