Planet Golf — 02 January 2020 by GW staff and news services
Schauffele set to defend Sentry title

KAPALUA — With the holiday season in the rearview, the 2019-20 PGA Tour season resumes with Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Thirty-four golfers will tee it up at the winners’ only event at the re-imagined Kapalua Resort, led by last year’s winner Xander Schauffele.

FIELD NOTES: There are 15 first-time winners making their debut at the Sentry Tournament of Champions including: Corey Conners, Tyler Duncan, Dylan Frittelli, Lanto Griffin, Max Homa, Sung Kang, Nate Lashley, Adam Long, Keith Mitchell, Collin Morikawa, Sebastian Munoz, Joaquin Niemann, J.T. Poston, Martin Trainer, and Matthew Wolff … Justin Thomas (2017), Patrick Reed (2015) and Dustin Johnson (2013, 2018) join Schauffele as past champions in the field … Chez Reavie returns to the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time in 11 years. He won the RBC Canadian Open in 2008 but didn’t win again on the PGA TOUR until the 2019 Travelers Championship.F

COURSE: Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, 7,518 yards, par 73. The course was one of the first Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore designs (opened in 1991) and the pair as since gone on to become one of the most iconic duos in golf course architecture. Coore and Crenshaw undertook an “expansive” renovation of the course in 2019.

STORYLINES: Seven members of the victorious US team at the Presidents Cup will start their 2020’s in Hawaii including Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, and Gary Woodland …  Woodland is 2019’s lone major champion in the field … A quick start to the calendar year is paramount to a long run through the FedExCup Playoffs – the last three winners at the Sentry Tournament of Champions went on to finish in the top five of the FedExCup standings the year they won the event (Schauffele finished second in 2019, Johnson finished fourth in 2018 and Thomas won the 2017 FedExCup) … Schauffele has a chance to become the first golfer since Geoff Ogilvy (2009-10) to win the Sentry in back-to-back years … Jon Rahm plays his first event as a married man and looks to build off his success in Hawaii – he finished runner-up in his debut two seasons ago, and T8 in 2019 … Johnson and Fowler are playing their first PGA TOUR events since the 2019 TOUR Championship in August … Johnson underwent knee surgery this fall but went 2-2 at the Presidents Cup.

72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Ernie Els (2003)

18-HOLE RECORD: 62, K.J. Choi (3rd round, 2003), Graeme McDowell (4th round, 2011), Jason Day (4th round, 2015), Chris Kirk (4th round, 2015), Xander Schauffele (4th round, 2019).

LAST TIME: Xander Schauffele teed off Sunday a year ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions feeling like he had nothing to lose – and he played that way all day. Schauffele tied the course record at Kapalua with a Sunday 11-under 62 to top Gary Woodland by one shot. Past champions Justin Thomas (third) and Dustin Johnson (T4) were nipping at his heels all day, but Schauffele – who started the round with a bogey – was too much on Sunday. He went out in 31 and fired a matching 31 on the inward nine holes, including birding four of his final five holes to win.

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