Plantation Course Key Fantasy Stats

Sentry Tournament of Champions

January 2nd – 5th, 2020

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Kapalua, Maui, HI

Par: 73 / Yardage: 7,596

Purse: $6.7 Million

with $1,340,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Xander Schauffele

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 year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from a combination of 2019 & ’20.
One thing that is important to know, the scoring average of the field last year was 70.92, so with par being 73, that means the average score was just a notch over 2 under per round, making Kapalua the easiest of 6th easiest courses to score on in 2019.
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 48th (of 49 courses so 2nd easiest) in driving accuracy with a 76.62 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 276.7 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, 2018 winner Dustin Johnson finished 6th on the PGA Tour in driving distance. But last year’s winner Xander Schauffele finished 24th for the year in driving distance 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 where 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 Thursday at 14 mph and then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 25 mph, with some gusts up to 30 mph. Now there isn’t going to be any rain, but there is going to be another major thing that will help short hitters this year.
The Plantation Course closed after the final putt after last year’s Sentry and an intensive, $12.5 million renovation project took place to reshaped and re-grass the course to make it play firmer and faster. They also redid the greens taking out some of the slope and undulations out so with this the short hitter will have an advantage this year.
The one undisputed fact that many still don’t understand about the winners at Kapalua that will probably continue, in most cases the best putter is has been 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 Schauffele ranked T-4th 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 lots of putts from six feet and in. Last year’s winner Xander Schauffele made 57 of 59 putts from six feet in. 2018 champion 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 Schauffele had 1 in the first round, in 2018 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 Schauffele was 8th, in 2018 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. Now one thing to remember about Schauffele’s victory from last year was the fact that he shot 62, which is the lowest round shot by a champion at Kapalua so this does alter a lot of traditional champion stats, still, Schauffele has stayed pretty close to the norm of the other Kapalua winners.

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

*Proximity to Hole: In greens in regulation 75.38% were hit last year, making it the 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 38 feet, 11 inches as six courses 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 ranked 8th in 3-putt avoidance last year. 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 2019 averaging 4.40 birdies per round and a total of 581 birdies were made from the field of 33 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 T-31st on tour in scrambling, but that was a bit misleading because, for those that win, you better get it up and down. Last year Schauffele missed 13 greens and got it up and down 9 of the time (69.23%) to rank T-8th so it’s important to look and find those that do scramble well.

34 of the 34 players from this year’s field with stats from 2019/20 year:

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.