PGA Best Bets: Back Akshay Bhatia at The Sentry
PGA BEST BETS: BACK AKSHAY BHATIA AT THE SENTRY – The PGA TOUR is back for the 2024 season this week in Hawaii. The Sentry is a winners’ only event to kick off the season for nearly all of the big names on Tour. The notable face missing from this week’s field will be defending champion, Jon Rahm, as he is now playing on the LIV Tour and is thus ineligible and rich.
As far as format goes, this tournament will, like its rival Tour, be a limited-field, no-cut event. 59 winners from last season will be comprising the field. This includes many of the Tour’s stars like Scottie, Hovland, and Xander.
As far as the course goes, most golf viewers are pretty familiar by now with the Plantation Course at Kapalua since it’s been the host since 1999. For the new viewers and uninitiated: it’s weird. Playing to a par-73 and tipping out in the neighborhood of 7,600 yards, it looks like a brute on paper. It is, however, not a brute.
Many of the tee shots play downhill which negates much of the length and 400 yard tee shots are fairly commonplace. Factor in fairways that are wider than most Walmart parking lots and you have guys absolutely uncorking off the tee.
The greens are Bermuda, so be sure and check out stats for guys who roll it well on that surface.
It’s also worth noting that the average green is about as big as a five bedroom, single-story house, so these guys won’t be scrambling a ton.
The real key here is being able to hit your approach shot close and putt well. Everyone will hit fairways and greens.
Unless it is blowing an absolute gale, the winning score should be -20 or better, as eight of the last nine here have yielded such scores.
The Sentry Outright Bet
Akshay Bhatia +13000
This number is just disrespectful to my guy. Akshay almost exclusively does his best work on resort-style courses, and in a 59-players field, I fail to understand why his odds are this high. He’s had the majority of his success playing courses with slower greens, wide fairways, and excellent opportunities for scoring.
Granted, his game doesn’t seem like an ideal fit. He’s elite off the tee, solid with his irons, and a horrible putter. Ballstriking-wise, he can definitely hang at this course.
He won in Truckee to punch his ticket to Kapalua on a lengthy course featuring quite a bit of elevation change. This isn’t the worst comp in the world comparing that course with Kapalua.
I’m treading pretty light on picks this week and can’t see a ton I like with such a top-heavy leaderboard. If you aren’t willing to ride a wild longshot, maybe take a look at Tom Kim +2200. He has great course history here, and is a much better price than other elite players.
Happy betting, everyone. Golf season is officially back.