Sentry Tournament of Champions – Kapalua Course Preview

Finally, the weekend we have all been waiting for.  The weekend that sets the men apart from the boys.  The weekend you have been (hopefully) building your bankroll for.  The weekend that starts on Thursday, or at least productivity ends on Wednesday night.  The weekend where a green jacket will be passed on the next winner.  The DVR’s are set, and the beers are ice cold.  LET’S GO!

The Masters is not only the first major of the year, it is the only major that is held at the same golf course each year.  Settled on a former nursery, August National Golf Club comes in at a 7,435 yard Par 72 course played on bentgrass greens.  A beautiful drive down Magnolia Lane features 60 magnolia trees leading up to the clubhouse.  What makes Augusta National Golf Club unique is that every hole is named after a tree or shrub.

Augusta National boasts a famous three hole stretch known as Amen Corner.  Amen Corner claimed a victim last year as Spieth collapsed on 12 posting a quadruple bogey.  Holes 11 through 13 make up this infamous stretch that viewers strictly have their second monitor set to on Thursday and Friday.

Key Holes

Hole #11 White Dogwood : Par 4, 505 yards

White Dogwood is a long Par 4 that plays toughest on the course.  This is also the start of the previously mentioned Amen Corner.  Wind is usually a factor on this hole as White Dogwood features a downhill left to right drive.  Hopefully your players have cushioned the scorecard before arriving at this intimidating hole.

Hole 11 - White Dogwood

Hole #10 Camellia : Par 4, 495 yards

A whopping 10 yards shorter than the White Dogwood,  Camellia boasts the second toughest rating at August National.  The long Par 4 plays downhill with a 60 yard long bunker located well in front of the green.  Camellia requires a strategic drive into the left center of the fairway to give yourself the best angle towards the green.  Holes #10 and #11 can be very difficult to watch your core player get through.  This would be a good time to grab another cold one.

Hole 10 - Camellia

Hole #7 Pampas : Par 4, 450 yards

Although Pampas doesn’t seem long, this is a tight driving hole.  Many will play this hole to the left-center of the fairway.  This is to set up an even lie for the approach shot.  The green is surrounded by 5 bunkers making it very important to stick the approach shot on the green.

Hole 7 - Pampas

Key Statistics

Since the only four holes playing under par at Augusta National Golf Club are Par 5’s,  it is important for players to score low on the Par 5’s.  This will give them some “cushion,” if there is such a thing at The Masters, for the treacherous Par 4’s.  Let’s target those Par 5 Scorers and cling to the seat when they get to Camellia and White Dogwood.

Looking at historical results, the players with higher Greens in Regulations at the Masters have statistically fared well here.  This makes sense as the more greens you hit, the less you have to scramble.  With the speeds of the greens here at Augusta National, missing these greens is not fun.  We’ll load up on the accuracy guys strong in GIR so we don’t have to sweat the bunker shots.

Another statistic that has stood out for the successful players at Augusta is a combination of Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy.  This will make it important to target the players with the best Total Driving as it combines the two.  With the importance on GIR and Total Driving, you can also rely on SG: Tee to Green to target the players that are really striking the ball well this year.  SG: Around the Green and SG: Approach the Green are also very important statistics at Augusta National for various reasons and are included in the SG: Tee to Green statistic.  SG: Around the Green is important for scrambling to avoid the bogeys or worse that can ruin a good scorecard.  SG: Approach the Green will target those players that will put themselves in position for multiple birdie opportunities.

Hey, you can’t ignore Course History at Augusta either.  Side note: I will not play Bubba, I will not play Bubba. Keep telling yourself that as the week goes on to prevent that last minute lineup tinkering.

Previous Winners

2016 Danny Willett
2015 Jordan Spieth
2014 Bubba Watson
2013 Adam Scott
2012 Bubba Watson
2011 Charl Schwartzel
2010 Phil Mickelson

Course Horses

Jordan Spieth – 3/3 made cuts, Top 2 each event with a win, not much explanation needed here
Justin Rose – 11/11 made cuts, seven straight top 25’s, two straight top 10’s
Lee Westwood – 10 straight made cuts, with 5 of those top 10’s (Caution: did not play well at Shell Houston Open in the First Round)
Adam Scott – 7 straight made cuts, won here back in 2013, 4 top 10s all time
Rory McIlroy – 6 straight made cuts – 3 straight top 10s
Matt Kuchar – 7 straight made cuts – 3 of those top 10s
Bubba Watson – (this pains me to write this but he is a course horse here) 8/8 cuts, won here twice, outside his wins he hasn’t finished better than 20th
Jason Day – 5/6 made cuts – 3 top 10s, one WD (recent form and WD’s are concerning)
Dustin Johnson – 6/7 made cuts – 4th and 6th last two years
Bill Haas – 7/7 made cuts – 5 top 25’s

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