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The Sentry preview, set on the backdrop of the Plantation Course at Kapalua

It seems only fitting that the PGA Tour have dropped the “Tournament of Champions” part from the tournament title for The Sentry, our first preview of 2024. After all, this will now be the second consecutive year where the champion is not actually even here to defend their title. Cameron Smith was absent in 2023. Subsequently, Jon Rahm will not be here in 2024 as the latest and most significant defection to LIV Golf. That is a real shame not just for the PGA Tour but, most importantly, the fans. You can read more on my thoughts on the defection and what 2024 may hold here.

Before we dive into our Sentry preview proper, I’d like to take a paragraph to thank all my loyal followers in 2023. Especially, to all our WinDaily Sports subscribers. Obviously, there are costs associated with running a website and providing the best coverage of golf tournaments that we can. For those who supported me in that, please accept my heartfelt gratitude. You literally keep the lights on and, therefore, help us continue producing more great content.

Of course, this also paid off in a rather grand way for our Premium subscribers in 2023!
2023 we had 15 outright winners for a return of investment of +22% on the DP World Tour and +40% on the PGA Tour.
2023 total ROI was an EPIC +33% and profit of +929.58 units.
Using just $10 per unit, you would have made over $9,000 in 2023!

That follows a 2022, when we had 16 outright winners for a return of investment of +24% on the DP World Tour and +26% on the PGA Tour. It marks our 5th consecutive year of profitability; may 2024 bring another one!

The Sentry Preview

Plantation Course at Kapalua – Course Analysis

This is often a tricky event to cover. Chiefly, that comes down to the fact many golfers have only played sparingly since August. Some guesswork is required, and hope that we can use what we know to assist us in our search for a winning start to 2024.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua plays host to The Sentry (Tournament of Champions) as it has done since 1999, so a preview of the course may seem somewhat unnecessary. But, we have of course all been so focused on “growing the game” the last few years that I am sure there are lots of eager new golf fans ready to delve into their first tournament here.

First, note that this is a rare par 73 on the PGA Tour. Sitting at 7,596 yards, the course has 3 par 3s and 4 par 5s. That makes the course one of the longest on the PGA Tour.

The length is offset somewhat by many of the holes playing downhill. As such, driving distance is not the be all and end all here. Fairways are undulating, leading to many approach shots where the ball is above or below the feet. Also assisting are some of the widest fairways and the largest greens on the PGA Tour. Players can pull their driver out regularly, with % of fairways found the highest of all regular PGA Tour stops at 72.2%.

The huge green complexes averaging over 8,700 sq ft also pose less risk when approaching with a long iron than on other courses. There really lies the key to success. Finding the right area of the green. Making your fair share of putts is important too, at a course which has had a tendency to allow some low scores.

Preview Course Comps for The Sentry

Course form at Plantation is somewhat stickier than most PGA Tour courses. If you have played well here previously, there is a higher probability that you will do so again than at comparative venues. Further adding to this phenomenon is the transient nature of this field. Typically, the Sentry field has consisted only of the winners from the previous PGA Tour season. I suspect the correlation of previous success as a predictive factor should actually receive some uptick compared to first glance.

The strongest correlation is from The Masters. That comp passes the sense check. Augusta National features some of the widest fairways on the PGA Tour, actually just wider on average than at the Plantation course Kapalua. Again, fairways found hovers above 70% for Augusta National. Many approach shots are congruent to those seen here due the undulating fairways at both. Most obvious, Jon Rahm completed the double winning both in 2023. 2022 champion Cam Smith came mighty close to winning The Masters with a 2nd and 3rd in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Hero World Challenge host, Albany Golf Course, also is a decent guide. Played in The Bahamas and featuring a small but elite field, Albany has hosted the Hero World Challenge since 2015. The course provides parallels not only from the field assembled. The tropical and coastal elements lend itself well to Plantation. As a 7,309 yard par 72, driver is used heavily and we can see correlation through the top of the leaderboard. Rahm has won and finished runner-up at both. Morikawa has never finished worse than 7th at Plantation nor worse than 6th at Albany.

Weather

As the Sentry features a limited field, we can release our tournament preview article a little earlier in the week as there is less chance a significant weather edge will develop. Basically, the tee-times are over a shorter window. There is less of an advantage to be gained by any one player.

From our future forecasting, Thursday looks to be overcast with possibility of light showers to soften conditions and benign winds. Scoring should be good, and a fast start likely necessary to keep up with the pack. Friday should see some heavy winds arrive from midday, with gusts over 25mph. The winds remain for Saturday, while Sunday will settle. A low round should again be required on the final day of play.

Overall, the course does not pose much risk and has yielded some very low scores. The main defense for Plantation has always been the wind. We saw this in 2020 with a winning score or -14 being 20 strokes higher than the tournament record -34 set in 2022. With some wind in the forecast, I suspect a winning score in the low 20s should see the job done.

Sentry Preview Golf Betting Tips

Thank you for reading my Sentry preview and tournament analysis.
If you would like access to my golf betting tips and player profiles for The Sentry, premium customers can find these here.

For the start of a new golf season, we have a special offer on our premium memberships.
We are so confident in our pricing that we guarantee this will be our best deal ever in 2024. Basically, if you see a cheaper price advertised in 2024 we will happily refund you the difference on your annual membership.

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