Sentry Tournament of Champions In-Tournament Picks: Sungjae Im, Kevin Na Poised to Make a Move

Sentry Tournament of Champions predictions and picks. Andy Lack gives us his in-tournament outright picks and analysis for the TOC. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
Andy Lack |
Sat, January 8, 8:39 AM EST | 10 min read
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Sungjae Im

Sentry Tournament of Champions In-Tournament Picks: Sungjae Im, Kevin Na Poised to Make a Move

Sentry Tournament of Champions Live Picks

Current Leader: Cameron Smith (-17)

Round 3 Start Time: 2:50 pm ET

Course: Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course)

Purse: $8,200,000

Click here for the latest Sentry Tournament of Champions odds

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Sentry Tournament of Champions

We're midway through the first PGA Tour tournament of the 2021 season, and there's been no shortage of fireworks. The Plantation Course at Kapalua features massive fairways, receptive greens, and with little wind this week, the top players in the world are having their way with the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design. Through 36 holes, all 38 players in the field are at least three-under par, and a nine-under par total hasn't been able to crack the top-10.

World No. 21 Cameron Smith sits atop the leaderboard after posting 17-under par. Smith has essentially played two flawless days of golf. He's gaining strokes in all four major statistical categories, and leading the field in strokes gained putting. Smith can currently be found as high as +300 on BetMGM via the OddsChecker golf grid.

The Australian holds a three-shot lead over Jon Rahm and Daniel Berger, who both sit at 14-under par through two days. Despite Smith's three-stroke advantage, Rahm is still either the betting favorite or co-favorite at many sportsbooks to take home the trophy at Kapalua.

While the World No. 1 certainly possesses as good a chance as any, adding Rahm at +300 or lower is difficult proposition with so many other worthy players in the mix. Berger presents slightly more intrigue at +800 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but I'll take my chances slightly farther down the board with Sungjae Im.

The two-time PGA TOUR winner sits five strokes back of Cameron Smith after posting a two-day total of 12-under par, yet a deeper dive into the numbers leads me to believe that Im will continue to climb up the leaderboard. Through two rounds, the World No. 26 ranks sixth in strokes gained approach and fifth in strokes gained off the tee. A faulty short-game (23rd) and putter (22nd) are the only reason he hasn't already closed the gap on his former Presidents Cup teammate.

Yet live betting is not as simple as just selecting the players who hit the ball well and putted poorly. A player's long-term baseline and pre-tournament handicap needs to also be considered. Im was a popular selection this week for his robust history on Bermuda-grass greens, a previous fifth-place finish at this tournament, and an impressive fall-swing that saw him win the Shriner's Hospitals for Children Open. His pre-tournament price was in the 25/1 neighborhood, and halfway through the tournament, he can still be found at 20/1 at BetMGM. Im has a history of catching fire over the weekend, as both of his wins saw him shoot 66 and 62 respectively on Sunday, and he already ranks sixth this season in Round 4 Scoring Average. 20/1 is more than a fair price on the recent two-time PGA TOUR winner.

Since we aren't grabbing one of the favorites, I definitely see room to sprinkle on a longer shot farther down the board, which brings me to Kevin Na. This one is more of a number play for me. Via the OddsChecker US golf grid, the five-time PGA TOUR winner is in the 30/1 range at most sportsbooks, yet can be found as high as 60/1 on both Points Bet and bet365.

The World No. 29 sits at 11-under par, only six strokes back of Cameron Smith, yet he is double the price as many of the players around him on the leaderboard. Kevin Na has never been a prolific ball-striker, but he is currently seventh in strokes gained approach and a modest 18th in strokes gained off the tee through two rounds. The strength of Na's game is his short game and putting, yet he currently ranks outside the top-20 in both of those categories.

Na is punching well below his weight at what he typically does best, and we are not far removed from a five-start stretch towards the end of last year where he recorded three top-fives, with two of them being on Bermuda-grass greens. Na may not hold the name value as the other player surrounding him on the leaderboard, but he has shown on numerous occasions that he can ride a hot putter to victory. I'll gladly take my chances at 60/1 and hope to catch some putt luck over the weekend in Maui.

Sentry Tournament of Champions Live Picks

  • PICK: Sungjae Im @ +2000 via BetMGM
  • PICK: Kevin Na +6000 via Points Bet

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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