15 DFS Golf Picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions
DFS Golf Picks
Lock in the data, predictions and insights from this article to help with your fantasy golf picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and check out our PGA Lineup Optimizer to make more informed player selections for your DFS lineups. All the best this week!
The Sentry Tournament of Champions
Recap from the Hero World Challenge: It may feel like a long time ago, but it has been just under a month since we saw professional golf, and even though it wasn't an official PGA Tour event, the Hero World Challenge was still as enjoyed by the fans as one. Viktor Hovland took the cake in the Bahamas finishing one stroke better than Scottie Scheffler, and the talented young man has now won an incredible three times in his last 12 starts including back-to-back wins - congrats to him and his breakout success!
Preview for the Sentry Tournament of Champions: This tournament has been played since 1953 when it was simply known as the Tournament of Champions and Al Besselink won by a single stroke over Chandler Harper at -8. Since 1999, this event has been played in Hawaii at the same course in Kapalua and Sentry has been the title sponsor since 2018. Scores here are incredibly low almost every year, but none have been better than Ernie Els' -31 which came in 2003 when he beat the field by 8 strokes to capture his only Tournament of Champions victory. We have a very small field in action this week as it's just the winners from last year in 2021 plus the top 30 who made it through to the final leg of the playoffs at the Tour Championship due to fewer tournaments being played due to the pandemic. Winners of the Tournament of Champions over the past five years include Harris English in 2021, Justin Thomas in 2020, Xander Schauffele in 2019, Dustin Johnson in 2018, and Justin Thomas also won in 2017.
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Tournament purse: The prize money for this week's event is set at $8M, the winner collects $1.44M and also earns himself 500 FedEx Cup points.
Course and key stats: The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort is 7,596 yards in length, it's a rare par 73, and the greens are Bermudagrass and average a huge 8,722 square feet. The winning score range here over the past decade is -14 to -30, so the course can be totally torn up if the winds and weather are good. Some core key stats to focus on this week include strokes gained: putting, strokes gained: approach, strokes gained: tee to green, driving distance, and strokes gained: off the tee.
The field: It's an exclusive field of just 39 players this week, but that number is more than a typical season since the PGA Tour decided to also include the 30 qualifiers from the Tour Championship. There is of course no cut line to sweat this week, and there is a ton of talent in the field including Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa, and on and on - all in all, it's an amazing week for golf! On a scale ranging from A to D, I rank the field strength to be an A.
Three questions I have about the Sentry Tournament of Champions this week:
1. Who will start this season off with a bang? It's hard to know how serious these players in the field are about their golf games right now, and which ones are ready to start 2022 off with a win. Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson have both won this tournament twice, so they have proven that they are ready to go once the holidays wrap up - too bad DJ won't be participating this year.
2. Can Viktor win again? Hovland has been pure fire since winning the World Wide Technology Championship in Mexico in November to repeat as the champ there, and he won the Hero World Challenge a month or so ago. Unfortunately, we don't have all of the strokes gained data from those two events, but he gained 7.90 total at the Hero and 15.08 in Mexico, and you can expect that his incredible ball-striking was likely a big part in both of those victories. He can absolutely win again this week for his third straight win, and should contend for a major win in 2022.
3. Will JT and Schauffele continue their hot play here? Between Thomas and Schauffele, they have combined to win three times here over the last five years - two of them came from JT. Both of these players have played extremely well in Hawaii at this tournament with Thomas finishing top 3 four times in the last five years, and Schauffele finishing in the top 5 in three straight years. Thomas has been quite hot since August, so I can see him being in the mix to win this week, and Schauffele hasn't played his best golf much lately but this is a soft landing place for him and he could make some noise also.
Lineup construction strategy this week: There is a lot of flexibility this week to build lineups as you wish since pricing is soft and there is no cut line to factor in. I'll be investing heavily in stars and scrub lineups this week, and will also mix in some hybrid configurations as well to have some deep six-player lineups. In these types of events, you really need to look at projected ownership and pivot where you can, especially if you partake in the large GPPs where there are tens of thousands of lineups. Leave at least $500 to $1,000+ on the table for each lineup if you can, to be as unique as possible to potentially win a GPP outright and take the top prize.
All the best in your journey to win or at least be in the money in some contests this week - here are my 15 DFS golf picks which feature my top 3 players from each tier on DraftKings (DK) in no particular order, plus I include player salaries for DK, as well. I consistently provide recent and seasonal finishes for each of my picks, their performances at the event over the last 5 years, and add in some tasty pieces of information, also.
The $10K+ Range
Justin Thomas (Salary: DraftKings - $10.6K) - Thomas will look to win this tournament for the third time in his career, and he has momentum behind him with four top 5's in his last six starts including a solo 3rd at the World Wide Technology Championship just two starts ago. He's solid in almost every category, and when his putter is talking then he's walking to hoist his trophies and earn top 5 finishes. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - 3rd, 2020 - Won, 2019 - 3rd, 2018 - T22, and 2017 - Won.
Collin Morikawa (Salary: DraftKings - $10.8K) - I believe that Morikawa will become the world's top-ranked golfer this year, and it could happen this week if he wins. He had two wins on the PGA Tour last year including at The Open Championship in July, and he won more recently in November at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Add to it that he hasn't finished outside the top 7 in four straight events and that he has two top 7's here since 2020, and there are some strong signals that Collin will be in contention this week. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T7 and 2020 - T7.
Viktor Hovland (Salary: DraftKings - $10.0K) - Hovland is perhaps the hottest golfer in the world right now with back-to-back wins at the Hero World Challenge and the World Wide Technology Championship in December and November, respectively. He's sublime off the tee and on approach, and when his flat stick is hot, then he's usually at or near the top of the leaderboard. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T31.
The $9K Range
Sam Burns (Salary: DraftKings - $9.1K) - He really made a name for himself in 2021 with wins at the Valspar Championship and the Sanderson Farms Championship. Mind you, neither feature world-class fields by any means, but he's just so strong throughout his bag, and he's got the potential to win major tournaments starting this year. His finishes have been outstanding since winning his first PGA Tour tournament in May with eight top 8's including that win, and he has five of them in his last seven starts. I could easily argue that he's undervalued at $9.1K but it could be because he has no course history here - he's still a core play for me this week, regardless. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: None.
Patrick Cantlay (Salary: DraftKings - $9.7K) - Speaking of players who have back-to-back wins, Cantlay hasn't played since last season when he won the Tour Championship and the BMW Championship in consecutive weeks. He also won the Memorial Tournament in June and the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP earlier last season in the Fall. He's got a full bag of tricks, and they will be on full display this week in Hawaii. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T13, 2020 - T4, and 2018 - T15.
Xander Schauffele (Salary: DraftKings - $9.5K) - There are only three players in the $9K range this week, so I'm forced to go with Schauffele as my third man. He won the Olympics event in August, but hasn't been as good since with just one top 10 and it came in a small field at the Tour Championship. He does have fantastic results at this tournament so he could have his fourth consecutive top 5 finish here, but I won't be overweight on Xander this week since I'm more of a recent form DFS player. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T5, 2020 - T2, 2019 - Won, and 2018 - T22.
The $8K Range
Abraham Ancer (Salary: DraftKings - $8.1K) - With his first PGA Tour win coming at the WGC - FedEx St.Jude Invitational in August, Ancer officially broke through and that should set him up well going forward in his career. He has six top 9's in his last twelve starts and has a fairly strong game aside from an average to below-average short game. I think he improves on his T17 finish from a year ago, and provides decent value based on his moderate salary number. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T17.
Sungjae Im (Salary: DraftKings - $8.2K) - Im is a player who competes often and regularly has good finishes including his win three starts ago at the Shriners Children's Open, he had a T9 at THE CJ CUP two starts ago, and came in T19 at the Houston Open in November - these finishes are typical for Sungjae. He had a top 5 finish last year in his debut and could have a repeat performance this week also - I'm bullish on him, but I think that's obvious. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T5.
Hideki Matsuyama (Salary: DraftKings - $8.7K) - I really like that Matsuyama won in his most recent start at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, and he has two top 4's here since 2017 in three starts. The only thing that concerns me about him is his weak putting, but even when he loses strokes to the field, he can still finish top 10 since his approach play is so solid and he's a decent chipper, as well. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - 41st, 2018 - T4, and 2017 - 2nd.
The $7K Range
Talor Gooch (Salary: DraftKings - $7.6K) - Gooch is coming off his first PGA Tour win at The RSM Classic where he gained 17.17 strokes total. He was quite strong before that win came too with two top 5's in five starts leading up to the victory, and he gets it done with a sound approach game and short game - he gained 5.03 strokes putting in his win, so if his hot stick remains hot then he could certainly win again in 2022. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: None.
Jason Kokrak (Salary: DraftKings - $7.7K) - Here's yet another golfer who won in his most recent start and it came at the Houston Open in November where he gained 8.60 strokes ball-striking and 8.68 putting. Kokrak won three times in total last season to really bust out as a pro, and he could add to the winning parade this year if his play continues to spike from time to time. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T35.
Patrick Reed (Salary: DraftKings - $7.9K) - Reed has started to look more like himself lately with two top 3's in his last five starts including a T3 at the Hero World Challenge in a top-heavy field. He won here in 2015, had a runner-up finish two years ago, and has other elite finishes here too. He can factor in well for your balanced and hybrid lineups this week. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: 2021 - T21, 2020 - T2, 2019 - T25, and 2017 - T6.
The $6K Range
Seamus Power (Salary: DraftKings - $6.6K) - The Irishman really got on a nice extended run of quality golf last season starting in the Spring with ten top 19's in sixteen starts including winning the Barbasol Championship to earn his first PGA Tour victory. He plays a complete game and he's one of the best values on the board this week - going overweight on him for your core lineups is a good idea in my opinion. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: None.
K.H. Lee (Salary: DraftKings - $6.0K) - For a player who comes in at min pricing this week at just $6K flat, there's a lot to like about Lee who has four top 25's in his last six starts, and he won the Byron Nelson last May where he gained 8.27 strokes ball-striking and 4.51 with his putter. You gain lots of flexibility when you use Lee in your lineups, and it allows you to easily accommodate two $10K players plus decent value picks also. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: None.
Joel Dahmen (Salary: DraftKings - $6.1K) - Dahmen's stats won't amaze you by any means, but he has a good balance of play and can pop at times including winning the Corales in March, he had a 7th at the Barracuda Championship in August, and a T5 at the Houston Open in November. He should finish around the top half this week, making him a decent pick-up for stars and scrub builds. Tournament of Champions finishes over the last five years: None.
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Jeremy has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 successful years, and actively plays golf, hockey, baseball, and table tennis. He has over three years of fantasy sports writing experience - including writing a daily fantasy sports strategies and tools eBook in 2016. He is an active member of DraftKings - specializing in NHL and PGA contests over the past 5 years. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to hot places in the frigid Canadian Winters, binge-watching on Netflix, and starting and managing digital businesses.