Kapalua Course Preview – Sentry Tournament

Well the golf season is back and we start 2018 as we always do with a return to Maui and Kapalua. Justin Thomas won the event last year and has thrived in Hawaii over the recent years. The Sentry Tournament of Champions will be comprised of 34 golfers in a no cut event. The field was determined by anyone who won a tournament in 2017. There are 16 golfers making a debut at Kapalua this week so nearly half the field has no course history. Now lets get into the course.

Previous Winners

2017: Justin Thomas -22
2016: Jordan Spieth -30
2015: Patrick Reed -21
2014: Zach Johnson -19
2013: Dustin Johnson -16
2012: Steve Stricker -23
2011: Jonathan Byrd -24
2010: Geoff Ogilvy -22

What to Expect

The tournament is held at the Plantation course at Kapalua and comes in at 7,452 yards as a par 73. I have actually played the course twice, most recently in 2015 and the first thing that you notice is how the course is settled into the mountains. Parts of these mountains can receive over 400 inches of rain per year and the mountains can expose some extreme weather. However, this time of the year the weather is pretty consistent and the only threat is typically wind. Scores will approach -20 in good conditions for the weekend, and have seen as low as -30 (Jordan Spieth 2016).

The Course

Lets start out with the greens which are bermudagrass. The greens here at Kapalua are slower than your average PGA Tour green. They measure around 10 on the stimpmeter so I am going to not be as focused on above average putters in the field.

Kapalua offers some of the widest fairways on tour, so I will start off saying driving accuracy is not as important this week. The course is long, coming in at over 7,400 yards so distance off the tee will be important setting up for the second shot. As I mentioned above the course is just off the ocean and is settled in the valley of the Maui mountains. So it can get windy and players must be able to control their shots if the wind picks up.

Some of the key holes on this course are on the back 9. Holes 16, 17, and 18 offer a great stretch of closing holes. The 16th is a 365 yard par 4 that can encounter trade winds. Bunkers are settled around the fairway so a strategic tee shot off the tee is important, birdies are common on this hole. Moving next to hole 17, this is the longest par 4 at 549 yards. There is a change in elevation at more than 150 feet tee to green. The average score on this hole is over par, so players are not trying to lose a stroke as they finish up their round. Lastly, we finish with the 18th par 5 that comes in at 663 yards and is downhill (see picture above). The hole is easily reachable in two, and has a very high birdie rate of 46%. Players are looking to birdie 18 to finish up the round.

Weather

As I mentioned above the weather factor we need to monitor is wind. Currently (Tuesday) the forecast shows winds in the lower to mid teens. With a smaller field, tee times will be closer together this week so I do not see an advantage in tee times. I will post any updates as the week goes on below.

Key Stats Ranked

  1. SG Approach
  2. Total Driving
  3. Driving Distance
  4. Par 4 & 5 scoring
  5. Bermuda putting
  6. SG Around the Green

Our Picks (Members Only)

Each week, Brandon and Dan will release their Draftkings golfers for the tournament. Memberships for the entire 2018 season are $19.99. Click here to access the weekly picks.


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