Plantation Course Key Fantasy Stats

Sentry Tournament of Champions

January 3rd – 6th, 2019

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Kapalua, Maui, HI

Par: 73 / Yardage: 7,452

Purse: $6.5 Million

with $1,300,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Dustin Johnson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

This is based on the most important stats for Plantation Course at Kapalua, based on data from last years Sentry Tournament of Champions, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from a combination of 2018 & ’19.
One thing that is important to know, the scoring average of the field last year was 71.22, so with par being 73, that means the average score was one and three quarters under per round, making Kapalua the easiest of 13th easiest courses to score on in 2018.
Now there are many reasons for this; first, the Plantation Course is a resort course and not geared to be super tough. Another reason for the course being easy is the fairways, there is no way that you can’t hit the fairways at Kapalua, a 747 can land on them. Last year the course ranked 37th (of 50 courses) in driving accuracy with a 65.69 total. On top of that, since the fairways are firm and many of them are downhill, it’s not surprising that for all the drives the average is 274.5 yards. So with that said many would say gosh this is a course for bombers, but it isn’t. Yes, long hitters have a big advantage, last year’s winner Dustin Johnson finished 6th on the PGA Tour in driving distance. But in other years, short hitters have won. Look at some of the champions the last few years, Jordan Spieth was the 51st longest hitter on tour in 2016. Even better yet Zach Johnson won in 2014, Steve Stricker in 2012, Jonathan Byrd in 2011 were three of the shortest hitters in PGA Tour history. Even guys like Geoff Ogilvy (who won twice) and Daniel Chopra were very average on tour in driving distance, so the myth that this course is for bombers is not right, except for one small fact. Being on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Pailolo Channel the Plantation course tends to get hit by some high winds, and when that happens, especially if the winds are out of the north, it helps short hitters The same when it’s dry, it helps the short hitters. For this week winds are going to come out of the East-northeast, and they are predicted to be for the first two days over 20 mph, with some gusts up to 30 mph. On the weekend they get calmer, Sunday they are down to around 10 mph from the northeast.
So this favors the shorter hitter. But the one undisputed fact that many don’t understand about the winners, in most cases the best putter is the victor. Here is a stat that will blow your mind, of the 20 Kapalua winners since 1999 the highest any of them have ranked in putts per round is 4th. Of the 20 champions, nine have led that stat while five were second and three were third. Last year’s winner Johnson ranked 2nd in putts per round. So it makes sense since the course is wide open and the greens the largest on the PGA Tour hitting fairways and greens are easy. But just because you hit a green doesn’t mean it’s going to help you to win. You got to get it close to the hole but more importantly be a great putter, avoid those nasty three putts and make lot’s of putts from six feet and in. Last year’s winner Dustin Johnson made 61 of 63 putts from six feet in. The winner before, 2017 champion Justin Thomas and 2016 champion Jordan Spieth both made 59 of 60 putts from six feet and in. In 2014 when Zach Johnson won he made 63 of 65 putts from seven feet and in 2012, Steve Stricker made 58 of 61 putts from seven feet and in. Another key is lack of three putts, last year Johnson didn’t have a single three-putt while Thomas had just 2 three putts. Also, all of the winners are good in scrambling, last year Johnson was 6th while 2017 champion Thomas was 12th in scrambling but the year before Jordan Spieth was 3rd. The 2015 winner Patrick Reed was 2nd the same for 2014 winner Zach Johnson.

So here is our four choices for the most important stats from players to do well at Kapalua:

*Proximity to Hole: In greens in regulation 73.69% were hit last year, making it the 4th easiest course to hit greens on the PGA Tour. In proximity to the hole, players tended to have a tough time getting it close to the hole, last year they averaged 43 feet, 8 inches as only one course saw approach shots go further away from the hole. So you have to not only get on the green but Proximity to hole is important

*Strokes Gained-Putting: The greens average 7,120 square feet at Kapalua, making them above average on the PGA Tour. So with shots ending up far from the hole, it puts a premium on putting, so players that gain strokes putting have an advantage. Overall putting stats place it the 8th hardest to putt, as one putts are at a premium. Three putts aren’t that bad as the course ranks 8th in 3-putt avoidance. But we can’t stop saying the importance of putting well at Kapalua and this is the kiss of death for a lot of players, balky putting.

*Par Breakers: The Plantation Course has always been a pushover for the best players in the world. The field killed the course in 2018 averaging 4.40 birdies per round and a total of 599 birdies were made from the field of 34 players, so it’s important to be the best in this Par Breakers which is based on who makes the most birdies and eagles.

*Scrambling: With big greens it’s near impossible to miss them, still if you do you have to get it up and down. Last year the course ranked 28th on tour in scrambling, but that was a bit misleading because for those that win, you better get it up and down. Last year Johnson missed 16 greens and got it up and down 11 of the time (68.75%) to rank T-6th so it’s important to look and find those that do scramble well.

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.