The PGA picks are back up this week with a new year and the tourney that really gets me this year — a year ago I was able to play the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui. It was indeed exciting to walk through the clubhouse where the winners of the tournament’s names are listed and play the holes where a few weeks earlier Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson tred.
Royal Plantation, which logs in at 7,542 yards, contains just four Par Fives, but conversely, just three Threes. And, even with the bulk Par Fours, the ups-and-downs, multiple-tiered greens, and notion that it all rolls down to the sea makes the course more than challenging.
That means accuracy is everything (well, and focus, as those distracting whales like to migrate within the channel between Maui and Lanaii, right below the course) along with a strong putter.
Justin Thomas ($11,100): The defending champ is kind of an easy place to go , but the guy is three-for-three making the cut thus far this season, averaging 99 points per week with a win.
Brian Harman ($10,700): Like Thomas, Harman has also made three cuts over three attempts, averaging 84.3 points per week with three top 10 finishes. Add in that he is #5 hitting greens in regulation (87.5%) at 175 yards out thus far in 2018.
Kevin Kisner ($8600): Kisner has only two tourneys under his belt thus far this season, playing all four days both times and averaging 83.8 with one top 10. Kisner is tied at #5 with Harman hitting with an 87.5% accuracy at GIR.
Pat Perez ($8000): Sometimes you go instinct, and Perez, who is four-for-four making the cut, with a pair of top 10’s and a 95.5 points average is a guy who just does well for me. What can I say?
Hudson Swofford ($6900): Swofford has made four cuts in four tries as well, but no high finishes. However, when scrambling from 30 yards out — something that plagued me at Kapalua — Swofford ranks with a 75% rate.
Si Woo Kim ($6700): Kim has been the busiest with five plays this season and four cuts made, averaging 58.4 with one top 10. And he ranks #87 at that 30-yard scramble with a 66.67% success rate. I need a low-end guy, so Kim is the man.
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