Plantation Course, Kapalua, Hawaii
Par 73, 7,452 yards
Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2015 is a happy and profitable one! We kick off 2015 with The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which starts this Friday. This tournament is only for previous winners and has a field of only 34.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort is a par 73 measuring a lengthy 7,453 yards. It is quite open and runs along the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and is quite exposed to the elements. It generally suits the big hitters if they can keep it in the fairway with three of the four par 5’s reachable in two. The 18th is a 663 yard par 5 that plays a lot shorter, as it runs downhill and should be reachable by some of the longer hitters. It also has three par 3’s and 11 par 4’s.
Accuracy off the tee is not hugely important here as the fairways are quite wide and forgiving. The greens are also quite forgiving with some of the approaches having uphill and downhill slopes into the greens, which have some undulations. Good putters have done well here with the likes of Zach Johnson (2014), Dustin Johnson (2013) and Steve Stricker (2012, 2nd 2013) being past winners. With 11 par 4’s on this course, it is also worth considering par 4 scoring and GIR.
With the weather set to be calm and sunny with moderate winds, the scoring should be low with the winner averaging around the 20 under mark judging from previous years.
Billy Horchel 20/1
Billy had a superb end to last season finishing runner up in The Deutsche Bank, and then going on to win both The BMW Championship and The Tour Championship, taking home The FedExCup crown and a tasty 10 million bucks!
He had a good week at Tiger’s event recently, The Hero World Challenge finishing T8 shooting rounds of 73,72,67,67 on nine under par for the tournament. He also showed good signs the following week at The Franklin Templeton Shootout finishing T3 with Ian Poulter. Billy also played well here last year shooting rounds of 72,72,68,66 on his way to a respectable T6 finish.
Horchel ranks sixth in driving distance so far this season averaging an impressive 312 yards off the tee. Last season, he ranked fourth in GIR, 23rd in driving accuracy, 15th in par 5 scoring and second in putts from 5-10 feet. He is clearly showing some good form and could be one to watch here this week.
Jason Day 15/2
After an injury stricken 2014, Jason Day will be looking to start 2015 off with a bang finishing 2014 off with a win at The Franklin Templeton Shootout with Cameron Tringale. He also has a good week at The Hero World Challenge finishing solo 5th on 14 under par, which included an impressive final round 66.
After a win at The World Cup of Golf and The Accenture World Matchplay, Day also performed well in the last of the FedExCup playoffs at the end of October finishing T2 at The Barclays, T7 at The Deutsche Bank and T4 at The Tour Championship at East Lake. His last visit to Kapalua was in 2011 when he shot rounds of 73,66,69, 70 on his way to a T9th finish.
Last season, Day ranked 18th in driving distance, 20th in strokes gained putting, 29th in par 4 performance and first in putting from five feet. After two good performances in December, it appears Jason Day is back to full strength and could be a huge contender here.
Patrick Reed 22/1
Patrick Reed had a good start to the season with a respectable T26 at The CIMB Classic back in November. He then followed that with a T22 at The WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Most recently, Reed played well at The Hero World Challenge in Florida finishing T3, where he shot a 63 in round two and had another good performance the following week at The Franklin Templeton Shootout finishing T10 with partner Brandt Snedeker.
Reed played this event last year and carding rounds of 70, 72,67,73 on his way to a respectable T16, which is not bad for his first visit. He hasn’t missed a cut since The Open Championship last July and is becoming a very solid performer in big events. At 22/1 he seems to be good value for a player that has shown good recent form over the Christmas period.
First Round Leader Bets-
Matt Kuchar 14/1
Kuchar has a good record at this event with four top 10’s in his last five appearances. He finished T6 last year, T9 in 2013, T6 in 2011 and solo 3rd in 2010. He started well in three of his last four appearances shooting an opening round 68 last year, 69 in 2011 and a 67 in 2010. Kuch also started well recently at The Hero World Challenge shooting an opening round 69 and has been as steady as they come in terms of consistency.
Ryan Moore 22/1
Moore is another player that has a good record around Kapalua finishing solo 10th last year and T6 in 2010. He has started strongly in two of his last three appearances shooting an opening round 67 last year and a 69 in 2010. Moore in another steady player and had a great start to his season winning the CIMB Classic for the second time, where he shot 68,69,67,67 finishing seventeen under par total for the tournament. After a few weeks off, he should be feeling fresh coming to a course he has played so well on in the past.
Final Selections –
Billy Horchel 1 pt EW 22/1
Jason Day 1 pt EW 15/2
Patrick Reed 1 pt EW 22/1
First Round Leader –
Matt Kuchar 1 pt EW 14/1
Ryan Moore 1 pt EW 22/1
Total staked = 10 pts
Good Luck and enjoy the golf,
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