PGA picks: Johnson opens 2018 with a bang at Kapalua

Photo of PGA picks: Johnson opens 2018 with a bang at Kapalua

While the wraparound schedule means the PGA Tour season officially began a couple of months ago, the Hawaii swing is what most people circle as the start to the year.

The first of two events on the gorgeous group of islands is the Tournament of Champions, a limited-field spectacle reserved for those who won an official PGA Tour event last year.

Here are five guys to target in the field of 34.

Favorite to watch (odds less than 20-1)

Dustin Johnson

The top-ranked golfer in the world has played well at the Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course in recent years, posting four top-10 finishes in his last four trips. The 33-year's brilliant driving will help him negotiate the lengthy setup in Hawaii, and his scoring average of 69 in his last 15 rounds at this layout should have him right in the thick of things.

Odds to win: 15-2
Top-5 odds: 3-2

2nd tier (odds greater than 20-1)

Patrick Cantlay

The mega-talented Cantlay notched his first win at the Shriners Open, and looks to build off that in Hawaii this week. He's one of the more consistent players on Tour, having made all 15 cuts last season. With a top-15 finish and a win in his last two outings, he's as hot as any player in the field.

Odds to win: 22-1
Top-5 odds: 7-2

Long shot (odds greater than 50-1)

Brendan Steele

Steele's making his third career start in the event, and his sixth-place showing last year ranks as his best finish. His proximity to the hole was among the best in the field at the challenging course in 2017, and his solid iron play should serve him well yet again in Hawaii.

Odds to win: 50-1
Top-5 odds: 8-1

Super long shot (odds greater than 80-1)

Adam Hadwin

The Canadian makes his first career start in the event thanks to his breakthrough victory last year at the Valspar Championship. Hadwin ranked 18th on Tour last season in strokes-gained putting, and should have no problem handling the greens around Kapalua. At 100-1, he's the best bet for a long shot competing on the weekend.

Odds to win: 100-1
Top-5 odds: 16-1

Hit this bet, buy a car (odds greater than 100-1)

Ryan Armour

Armour demonstrated his strong iron play in windy conditions when he won the Sanderson Farms Championship in October, and it should help him again in the wind of Hawaii. While it's unlikely he wins in his first start at Kapalua, he's worth a small wager at 200-1.

Odds to win: 200-1
Top-5 odds: 22-1

Last year's record (32 events)

Wins: 7
Top 5: 31

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
(Odds courtesy: Bodog)

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