2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions DraftKings Preview

by Keith Flemming
2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions

The first PGA Tour event on the 2023 calendar tees off this week in Maui. And with that comes the 2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions DraftKings Preview.

The Sentry Tournament of Champions field includes all winners from the previous PGA Tour season and any of the players who qualified for the Fed Ex Cup Finale at Eastlake last August.

Rory McIlroy is the only top 40 player in the world not in the field. For the first time, this event is marked as a designated event, meaning double the prize pool from last season and 550 points in FedEx Points for the winner.

For the weekly PGA DraftKings previews, I will begin with a brief discussion of the course and list some closely correlated courses. I will also mention some of the key stats in my model, followed by a potential lineup.

With the background out of the way, let's tee off on the 2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions DraftKings Preview.

You can find me on Twitter @KeithFlemming to keep the conversation going!

2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions DraftKings Preview

The Venue (Plantation Course at Kapalua)

The Plantation Course is the seldom-seen Par 73 on tour, featuring four Par 5"s, three Par 3"s, and eleven Par 4's. Last year this event shattered scoring records on tour, with three players breaking the tour scoring record for an event. Jon Rahm broke the birdie record for an event with 32 and finished runner-up to Cam Smith.

This course features fairways so wide your average weekend warrior could hit most of them and very little rough to deal with if a player does miss them. The best feature of this course is the elevation and undulation, which will provide lies you won't see anywhere else on tour, with maybe the exception of Augusta. It is a rare course where players will hit a lot of wedges and long irons into greens this week, but few mid-irons.

This course is a true bomber's paradise and as I mentioned above, birdies and eagles will come in bunches. The greens are at a similar speed to most Open venues, due to the strong winds in Kapalua. In my opinion, slow greens take away some advantages from the best putters in the field. This event is an easy, fun event for the players, a literal resort course that allows the players to get back in rhythm after the holiday.

This is the case with the exception that if the course plays firm with significant winds. Last year the course played soft with moderate winds, leading to record-breaking performances from the field. The forecast for this week is calling for moderate winds (10-15mph) and dry conditions. This should lead to good scoring conditions again, but not what we saw last year. Look for the winning score to be back in the low to mid-twenties under par this week.

Correlated Courses

  • Augusta National
  • Torrey Pines
  • Riviera CC
  • TPC Scottsdale

These are all courses where players hit a lot of drivers off the tee and will not be punished if they miss fairways.

Key Stats

  • Par 5 scoring
  • Par 4 scoring
  • 3 Putt Avoidance
  • Long Irons (Proximity 200 yards plus)
  • Strokes Gained Putting Bermuda

My 2023 PGA DFS: Sentry Tournament of Champions DraftKings Lineup

Xander Schauffele ($9,500)

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I feel like Xander at this price is a bargain, which I understand sounds crazy considering he is the fourth most expensive player in the field. Xander won here in 2019, lost in a playoff in 2020, tied for 5th in 2021, and finished 12th last year at 22 under par.

He was 1st on the tour in par 4 scoring last season, 16th in par 5 scoring, 8th in 3 putt avoidance, and 6th or better in proximity from 200-225 yards, 75-100 yards, and 100-125 yards on tour.

Schauffele is coming off a career year in 2022 where he won the Travelers and the Scottish Open. He had two top-10 finishes in both of his starts during the Fall Season, finishing 9th at the ZOZO Championship and 4th at the Hero World Challenge in December. Xander has finished 21 under or better in 3 of his last 4 starts here, right around the range I expect the winner to be this year.

Sam Burns ($8,400)

Sam has rightly earned the name Sam Bermuda Burns for his ability to roll the rock on Bermuda greens. He is first on tour in strokes gained putting over the last 50 rounds on Bermuda greens. Burns finished last season in the top ten in strokes gained putting, total putting, and putting average. He was 8th in birdie average at over 4-per-round and top 20 in both par 4 and par 5-scoring.

Burns finished 17th in this event last year, which doesn't seem significant, but due to the elevation/undulation players typically struggle their first time in this event. This is a course that should mask Burns's biggest weakness, finding fairways. If Burns can get hot with the putter, I expect him to contend this week. The worst case is he should make enough birdies to be a good play in this price range.

Sungjae Im ($8,300)

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Sungjae is a go-to pick for me in any event that has no cut and this week I feel he is underpriced.

He was top 3 in eagles made and eagles per hole last season. Im was top 10 in par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, strokes gained off the tee, and strokes gained tee to green last season. He is one of the best ball strikers on tour and extremely consistent.

The South Korean teed it up 26 times last season on tour and finished top 10 nine times and top 25 seventeen times.  He finished 8th or better at events held here, at Augusta, and at Torrey Pines last season.

Sungjae has finished top 10 in both of his appearances in this event. He led the field in strokes gained tee to green at this event in 2021 and would have won if not for an uncharacteristic cold putter this week. He is someone I will have in my lineup and on my betting sheet to win this week.

Jordan Spieth ($8,200)

From 2016 thru 2018 Spieth had 3 top 10's at this event including a win in 2016. He did not qualify for the event again until last season when he finished 21st. Spieth has adapted his game over the last few years after a free fall in the world rankings, once known as a great putter and average ball striker.

He has gained distance, improved his iron play, and it shows in his numbers on Par 4's and 5's. Spieth was top 15 on tour last year in scoring average and birdie or better percentage on both par 4's and par 5's. He is still one of the best players in the world with a wedge in his hands, whether he's hitting it from the fairway or scrambling around the greens.

I like what I saw from Spieth in the match with Justin Thomas vs Tiger and Rory. I expect Spieth to continue his resurgence on tour this year and expect him to make a statement at a course he had great success at earlier in his career.

Brian Harman ($8,000)

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Harman comes to Maui in great form having finished runner-up in his last two starts on tour. He's finished top 25 in 6 of his last 7 events. Harman has only qualified for this event twice, finishing 17th in 2015 and 3rd in his last appearance in 2018.

He was 17th on tour in par 4 scoring (there are 11 par 4s on this course), top 30 in proximity to the hole from 100 and 200 yards and is 5th in total strokes gained over his last 12 rounds.  Harman is averaging 103.9 pts on DraftKings for his four events in the 2023 season, having scored 95 or more in three of four.

Seamus Power ($7,200)

Seamus only has one start at this event where he finished T-15 (This is not an easy event to qualify for). He played well on his first trip to Maui, where he gained strokes in every category except for putting last year. Power is on a tear since late October when he won the Bermuda Championship. He has since added two top-5 finishes at the Mayakoba and RSM Classic.

Last season he was 10th in Par-4 scoring and 17th in Par-5 scoring on tour. In his last 12 rounds on tour, he has shot 67 or better in eight of 12 of them. He plays well in strong fields. Three of his five top 10s on tour came in strong field events, including two top-12's at majors. Being from Ireland, Power is more than comfortable on a windy course and you can argue no player in the field is in better form from their recent play.


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