Plantation Course, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Par 73, 7,452 yards
Happy New Year everyone it’s great to be back. We kick off 2016 with The Hyundai Tournament of Champions which starts on Thursday night. This tournament is only for previous winners and has a limited field of only 32.
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 tricky 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 big with some of the approaches having uphill and downhill slopes into the greens which have some undulations. Hitting the right part of the green will be key to making birdies so proximity to the hole could be worth a look.
Good putters have done well here with the likes of Patrick Reed (2015), Zach Johnson (2014), Dustin Johnson (2013) and Steve Stricker (2012, 2nd 2013) being past winners. Stats such as strokes gained putting and strokes gained tee to green will be worth a look. With 11 par 4’s on this course, it is also worth considering par 4 scoring and GIR. The weather looks to be mild with very little wind so scoring should be low with the winner averaging around the 20 under mark judging from previous years.
Patrick Reed 10/1
The American played great golf in Asia before Christmas with four top 10’s in five starts. He had a great week at The Hong Kong Open shooting rounds of 68,69,65,67 to finish T3 on 11 under for the tournament. He followed that with a T10 at The CIMB in Malaysia which included another four rounds in the 60’s to finish -17 for the week and a solo second finish at The BMW Masters where he lost a playoff to Kristoffer Broberg on the first playoff hole.
Reed had a great week at The Hero World Challenge at the start of December finishing solo second and was also part of the winning American Presidents Cup team in Korea. He had a good end to the season with a T15 at The WGC Bridgestone, T30 at The PGA and a T4 at The Deutsche Bank.
He has a good record here at Kapalua with a win last year and a T16 in 2014. Statswise he is hitting just under 70% of fairways off the tee and ranks fourth in GIR. If he brings that good form into this week in Hawaii he will be a huge contender and looks like he’s right on the cusp of a win any day now.
Bubba Watson 10/1
Bubba has been playing solid golf over the last few weeks finishing T15 at The Thailand Golf Championships and a win at The Hero World Challenge in his last two starts. He had a great season in 2015 and finished strongly with three top 10’s in his last four FedExCup Playoff events. He had a great week at The Barclays shooting four rounds in the 60’s to finish 11 under for the week. He followed that with a T10 at The BMW and a T5 at The Tour Championship. Watson was also part of the winning US Presidents Cup Team in Korea.
He has played well here on this course in the past finishing T10 last year, T4 in 2013 and T18 in 2012. Last season he ranked second in driving distance, first in strokes gained tee to green and 19th in GIR. Watson is another player coming into this week showing fantastic current form and should go well on a course that should suit his length.
Kevin Kisner 18/1
Kisner has had a great season so far and started with a respectable T25 at The Shriners Open in Vegas. He followed that with a T37 at The CIMB Classic in Malaysia which included a second round 65. Kisner then had a superb week in elite company at The WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai where he finished solo second. The American started 64,66 and followed that with two 70’s to finish 18 under par for the tournament. At The RSM Classic he played superbly well all week shooting 65,67,64,64 to finish 22 under par for the week and record his first PGA Tour victory.
Statswise he ticks a lot of boxes for this course ranking 29th in driving accuracy, ninth in strokes gained tee to green, 14th in SGP and 11th in par 4 scoring. He has proven to be a good wind player and has played well on seaside setups in the past. He came close to his first PGA Tour victory at Hilton Head where he lost the second playoff hole to Jim Furyk at The RBC Heritage. With superb current form, Kisner could go well on a course that could suit his game.
Graeme McDowell 25/1
Over the last few weeks we have seen Gmac coming back and showing some great form. He came back with a bang at The OHL Classic in Mexico beating Jason Bohn in a playoff. He played a magnificent five iron into four feet on the first playoff hole and drained the putt for a tournament winning birdie. He then followed that with a solo third at The RSM Classic showing some superb consistency shooting 67,68,65,67 to finish 15 under for the week. He was then paired up with Gary Woodland in The Franklin Templeton Shootout and finished T6.
So far this season he ranks eighth in driving accuracy, sixth in strokes gained tee to green and first in proximity to the hole. McDowell has played only once here before finishing third in 2011. He tends to relish seaside courses and could be in his element if the wind blows.
Final Selections –
Patrick Reed 10/1 2pts EW
Bubba Watson 10/1 2pts EW
Kevin Kisner 18/1 1.5 pts EW
Graeme McDowell 25/1 1.5 pts EW
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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