Windy Hawaii is the first stop as the wrap-around 2013 PGA tour season gets underway with the Hyundai Tournament Of Champions. We'll be here for the next two weeks on this side of the pond and have a look at the opening (key) word in this preview; the first thing to note is the severe trade winds that will be in play. This, added to the lack of competitive form for the majority of the field makes these two weeks quite unpredictable and as such, siding with the larger odds and looking at fringe markets can often be the best plan of attack.
It's a 30 man field at the curtain raising Hyundai Tournament of champions, consisting of winners throughout the 2012 PGA Tour circuit. The Plantation course at Kapalua is the venue - a course playing over 7,400 yards to a par of 73 with expansive fairways and large greens. Power off the tee will be an advantage while accuracy from approaches in windy conditions will be the premium. Experience in the wind will add to the chances of picking up a win, going low is usually the brief and it's always worth looking at form from events on the lesser tours pre-Christmas
Hyundai Tournament of Champions Picks 2013
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Pick #1: 1.5 units Marc Leishman top four @ 14/1(SJ), 0.5pts EW 1st round leader @ 50/1(Sportingbet) The last time I tipped Leishman on the blog was in windy Texas at 90/1 where he finished 3rd. He then went on to win two weeks later, shooting a low round 62 on final day Sunday. The Aussie can be streaky and his form in Australia pre Xmas reads a progressive 42, 8 - the former recorded in gale force winds. He is one of few with current competitive form and has more experience in the wind than most, making his price v the field look appealing for this year's Hyundai Tournament Of Champions
Pick #2: 1.5units Tommy Gainey top four at 16/1(Ladbrokes), ew first round leader at 40/1(general) holds the bragging rights for the 2012 season low round having shot 60 on the Sunday to win the McGladrey Classic. Horses for courses and Gainey, ranked 31st in driving distance last year and 21st in total birdies should find the Plantation course sets up well for his game. Extremely streaky with the putter, ranking 6th in putts made from 15-25', Gainey can go super low and often starts fast, having posted a handful of opening rounds in the mid sixties in 2012
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks for more tips and interaction
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