FanDuel PGA: Tournament of Champions
FanDuel PGA: Tournament of Champions

This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.

Sentry Tournament of Champions

Plantation Course at Kapalua (7,518 yards, par-73)
$6.5M purse
$1,300,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner

Tournament Preview

The PGA Tour's winter break ceases in Hawaii for an exclusive champions-only event to kick off the 2019 calendar year in style, with 34 of the Tour's most recent winners traveling to the tropical island of Maui. The first-class field includes eight of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, though the household names of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose have chosen not to participate this week. The par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua plays host to the elite tourney once again, though officials have bumped its yardage over the 7,500-yard mark after lengthening a pair of par-4s on the front nine. The weather in Lahaina looks beautiful per usual, but wind should play a major factor for at least the first two days of play before tapering off later in the weekend.

Recent Past Champions

2018 - Dustin Johnson
2017 - Justin Thomas
2016 - Jordan Spieth
2015 - Patrick Reed
2014 - Zach Johnson
2013 - Dustin Johnson
2012 - Steve Stricker
2011 - Jonathan Byrd

Key Stats to Victory

Strokes Gained: Putting
Scrambling
Strokes Gained: Approach

Champion's Profile

In typical resort-style fashion, the Plantation Course at Kapalua is known for its prodigious fairways and gargantuan greens. Neither distance nor accuracy off the tee should be an issue for anyone in the field, so proximity to the hole from fairway approaches becomes the first major challenge this week. The field's best iron players will look to go pin seeking in order to avoid landing in three-putt range on the dance floor. Given the massive size and slow speed of the greens, a solid short-game performance becomes paramount in order to find the winner's circle. Each of the past four champions has reached at least 21-under-par and leaned on a hot putter en route to their victories.

FanDuel Value Picks

The Chalk

Dustin Johnson, $12,000 - DJ has been a huge fan of the Plantation Course with a pair of victories to accompany six consecutive top-10 showings at the event, including an eight-stroke win at Kapalua in 2018. He'll likely join the highlight reel again this year with a couple more of his signature 400-plus yard drives in Hawaii, though his sneaky skill with the flat stick should not be overlooked either.

Brooks Koepka, $11,600 - Koepka's last-place finish at the TOC last year was the final straw before ultimately electing to take some time off to address his nagging wrist injury. Well, he arrives not only with a clean bill of health this time around, but two more major championships under his belt as well. He'll begin his 2019 campaign with a grasp on the No. 1 spot in the OWGR after also earning Player of the Year honors.

Justin Thomas, $11,200 - The fourth-ranked player in the world was an all-around stud this past season as he led the Tour in holes per eagle and finished top-4 in both birdie and scoring average. Thomas' win at the 2017 Tournament of Champions is sandwiched between two mediocre results outside of the top-20.

Jon Rahm, $10,500 - Rahm won for the first time since April at the 18-man Hero World Challenge in early December, racking up 25 birdies in 72 holes en route to his demanding four-shot victory. The Spaniard's 2018 TOC debut was promising as well, having placed second despite falling eight strokes shy of DJ. Rahm certainly isn't one of the better putters on Tour, but that didn't keep him from ranking third in birdie average throughout his 2017-18 effort.

Longer Shots Worth a Risk

Marc Leishman, $9,300 - Leishman finished three strokes short of runner-up honors at the TOC in 2018 as he generally excels in windy conditions given his upbringing with Australian golf. The 35-year-old demonstrated quality form throughout the fall series when he won the CIMB Classic before placing T18-2 at the CJ Cup and Australian PGA Championship to end the year. Additionally, Leishman ranked top-25 in both birdie average and SG: Around-the-Green last season.

Kevin Na, $8,500 - We could see fairly deflated ownership for Na due to questionable recent form as he went three straight starts without even a top-50 finish to end the 2018 calendar year on a negative note. On the bright side, he's too solid of a short-game player to ignore at a venue like Kapalua, having ranked 12th or better on Tour in SG: Around-the-Green, SG: Putting and scrambling last season. Na's iron play was elite as well, leading his peers in proximity from 150-175 yards.

Keegan Bradley, $8,300 - Bradley's five-year drought without a victory came to an end in 2018 when he won the BMW Championship during the FedExCup Playoffs. Since then, he's finished top-20 in four straight starts dating back to the CIMB Classic after finishing second on Tour in SG: Approach during his 2017-18 campaign.

Aaron Wise, $8,200 - The 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year picked up right where he left off with back-to-back top-15s to begin the new season at the Mayakoba Classic and Shriners Open. Wise will be a first-timer at Kapalua thanks to his maiden win at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but he also ranked 12th in birdie average and 34th in putting from 4-8 feet last season.

Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)

Barring any unforeseen withdrawals, all six of the golfers in your lineup will be promised 72 holes throughout the tournament as the 34-entrant event features a no-cut structure. This will entice gamers to take on additional risk in the lower price ranges while grabbing a few of the studs at the top of the board. When attempting to locate the best value plays among the cheaper options, don't feel uncomfortable sacrificing power for finesse and feel free to select the better scramblers and putters of the group as Kapalua should cater to their strengths.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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