Sentry Tournament of Champions Thursday 2-Ball Picks and Predictions

Sentry Tournament of Champions Round 1 Matchup, 2-Ball picks, and analysis from Andy Lack in his debut article with OddscheckerUS. Find out who to target in the matchup markets this Thursday.
Andy Lack |
Wed, January 5, 1:50 PM EST | 8 min read
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Patrick Cantlay swing

Sentry Tournament of Champions Thursday 2-Ball Picks and Predictions

The 2022 PGA Tour year commences on the beautiful island of Maui for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. 38 of the world's best players will be making the trek to Hawaii for the yearly invitational-style opener. The field is comprised of all last season's PGA Tour winners, and Xander Schauffele, who was granted a special exemption for his Gold Medal victory at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The venue for this week is the Plantation Course at Kapalua, a resort-style course designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 1991, who also completed a recent renovation of the track in 2019. The Coore and Crenshaw design plays as a Par 73 and measures 7,596 yards. It is the only Par 73 course on the entire PGA Tour schedule. Kapalua is known for its massive fairways, measuring 59 yards wide on average, as well as its expansive Bermuda-grass greens.

With such generous fairways and greens, players should be able to take advantage of this seaside test. The course's greatest defense is the wind, and while 2020 saw blustery conditions and Justin Thomas needed only 14-under-par to win, Jordan Spieth shot 30-under-par in 2016 under more a tranquil setting. With mild wind in the forecast for this week, we can expect another low-scoring affair to kick of 2022.

Let's start off the season with a bang and dig into my round one matchup selections.

Click here for the latest Sentry Tournament of Champions odds

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Round 1 Matchup: Patrick Cantlay (-135) vs. Harris English (+115)

Selection: Patrick Cantlay (-135)

While I typically avoid laying this much juice in single-round matchups, I still see value in Patrick Cantlay. The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year sets up beautifully for Kapalua. Cantlay excels on slow, Bermuda-grass greens, is plenty long off the tee, takes advantage of par-fives, and already boasts a third-place finish here on his resume.

While a strong performance from defending champion Harris English would certainly not come as a shock, I'm concerned that his game is trending in the wrong direction. We are simply not getting the same player that won this tournament last year, as English missed the cut in both of his starts this fall swing. While it's certainly possible that he could have regained form during the short offseason, I'll gladly take my chances with the much more well-rounded player in Cantlay, who also ranked seventh last year in Round 1 scoring.

Round 1 Matchup: Hideki Matsuyama (-190) vs. Phil Mickelson (+160)

Selection: Phil Mickelson (+160)

Why not? There's so much variance involved in 18 holes of golf, and while I'll concede that Matsuyama is a far superior player to Mickelson at this stage of their respective careers, the six-time major champion is the only way that I can look in this matchup.

For one isolated round, the 2021 Masters Champion is a good option to fade due to the volatility of his putter. Over his last 50 measured rounds, Matsuyama has lost strokes putting in 34 of them. If we catch Matsuyama on one of his good putting rounds, so be it, yet there is also a 68% chance he runs cold. Mickelson, on the other hand, is no stranger to catching lightning in a bottle. While I'm dubious he has enough in the tank to overcome Matsuyama through four rounds, +160 is more than a fair price for a singl- round matchup in which my opponent features such a volatile flat-stick.

Round 1 Matchup: Seamus Power (-130) vs. Erik Van Rooyen (+110)

Selection: Seamus Power (-130)

Seamus Power has become a popular name in the fantasy community for his ability to find his way to the top of most statistical models. That is once again the case with Power this week at Kapalua. While this will be the Irishman's first appearance in Maui, the seaside course figures to be a tremendous fit for his game. Power is a prolific birdie-maker, a solid Bermuda putter, an exceptional par-five scorer, who also features impressive long-term wind splits. The 2021 Barbasol Champion's biggest weakness is typically his driver, yet Kapalua's massive fairways ought to mitigate such a disadvantage. Power also ranked 10th last season in Round 1 scoring average, so he is certainly capable of getting off to a hot start.

Van Rooyen, on the other hand, has been a very difficult player to trust of late. While he's shown flashes of greatness with back-to-back top-10s at the Northern Trust and BMW Championship, and a win at the Barracuda Championship, those were his only Top-10s of the entire season. The South African ranks below field in average in nearly all the major metrics I am weighing this week, and he simply isn't on the same level as Power right now. This is an easy one.

Click Here for Sentry Tournament of Champions Odds

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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