Fed Ex Cup Tour Championship: Expert Preview

Eastlake GC, Atlanta, Georgia, September 20-23th

Course Details

We have arrived! The Fed Ex Cup concludes here at Eastlake GC with the Tour Championship. Eastlake is designed on two narrow strips of land characterized by sandy soil, wetlands and flat sections mixed with undulations. Moderate at 5812 meters, Eastlake hides some of its distance in elevation changes and some of the dog legs will make players think about taking driver or not. The course is always presented in pristine condition, and it sure will make for an exciting week as Xander Schauffele tries to defend his title.

Weather Report

Thursday – 31 degrees, mostly sunny, precipitation 0%, humidity 55%, Wind 13km/h

Friday – 31 degrees, mostly sunny, precipitation 10%, humidity 60%, 11km/h

Last 10 Winners and Runners Up

Year Player Score To par To Par Margin Runner(s)-up
2017 Xander Schauffele 268 −12 1 stroke Justin Thomas
2016 Rory McIlroy 268 −12 Playoff Kevin Chappell, Ryan Moore
2015 Jordan Spieth 271 −9 4 strokes Danny Lee, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson
2014 Billy Horschel 269 −11 3 strokes Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy
2013 Henrik Stenson 267 −13 3 strokes Jordan Spieth, Steve Stricker
2012 Brandt Snedeker 270 −10 3 strokes Justin Rose
2011 Bill Haas 272 −8 Playoff Hunter Mahan
2010 Jim Furyk 272 −8 1 stroke Luke Donald
2009 Phil Mickelson 271 −9 3 strokes Tiger Woods
2008 Camilo Villegas 273 −7 Playoff Sergio García
2007 Tiger Woods 257 −23 8 strokes Mark Calcavecchia, Zach Johnson

Current Form Review

Please note Last 5 event on the PGA Tour.

Player Event 1 Event 2 Event 3 Event 4 Event 5 Scoring Average to 72
1.        Justin Rose 2ND 2ND MC T19 T2 69.62
2.        Dustin Johnson T24 T7 T11 T27 T3 69.6
3.        Rory McIlroy 5TH T12 T50 T6 T2 69.8
4.        Justin Thomas T12 T24 T8 T6 1ST 69.1
5.        Brooks Koepka T19 T12 T8 1ST 5TH 69.1
6.        Tiger Woods T6 T24 T40 2ND T31 69.9
7.        Rickie Fowler T8 T12 T17 T28 T6 70.15
8.        Bryson DeChambeau T19 1ST 1ST MC 30TH 69.44
9.        Tony Finau T8 T4 2ND T42 T10 69.4
10.     Hideki Matsuyama T15 T4 T15 T11 T35 69.35
11.     Jason Day T24 MC T20 T19 T10 70.56
12.     Francesco Molinari T8 MC T6 T39 1ST 70.28
13.     Tommy Fleetwood T8 T24 T20 T35 T14 69.95
14.     Jon Rahm T24 T43 MC T4 T17 70.61
15.     Billy Horschel T3 W/D T3 T11 T35 68.87
16.     Webb Simpson T6 T49 T28 2ND T19 69.45
17.     Xander Schauffele T3 T49 MC T35 68TH 71.28
18.     Patrick Cantlay T55 T24 T8 T27 T6 70.25
19.     Bubba Watson T16 T7 T34 MC T31 70.83
20.     Patrick Reed T19 T35 T25 MC T28 70.73
21.     Paul Casey W/D T21 T60 MC T31 71.93
22.     Keegan Bradley 1ST T49 T34 T42 4TH 69.5
23.     Gary Woodland T12 T24 T48 T6 T17 70
24.     Phil Mickelson T58 T12 T15 MC T24 70.89
25.     Cameron Smith T65 3RD T3 T56 23RD 70.55
26.     Marc Leishman T41 T21 T34 T71 T14 70.85
27.     Aaron Wise T16 T69 T5 MC T6 70.44
28.     Kyle Stanley T45 T12 T28 MC 2ND 70.28
29.     Kevin Na T12 MC T15 T19 T31 70.44
30. Patton Kizzire T61 T71 T60 MC T31 72.05

Poor Form*- Players Averaging over par –    Patton Kizzire comes into the Tour Championship in poor form, closely followed by Paul Casey and defending champion Xander Schauffele.

Good Form** – Believe it or not, and despite his withdrawal at the Dell Technologies Championship recently, Billy Horschel has the lowest stroke average in the past 5 events played. Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka are the next best and playing very well at present. Then there is then a group of players, which include Justin Rose, who has had three 2nd’s in his past 5 starts.

History at the event the past 3 years

Player 2017 2016 2015 Scoring Average
1. Justin Rose T10 DNP T2 -1.37
2. Dustin Johnson T17 T6 T5 -0.91
3. Rory McIlroy DNP 1ST T16 -1.38
4. Justin Thomas 2ND T6 DNP -2
5. Brooks Koepka 6TH DNP T18 -0.5
6. Tiger Woods DNP DNP DNP
7. Rickie Fowler T26 DNP T12 0.75
8. Bryson DeChambeau DNP DNP DNP
9. Tony Finau T7 DNP DNP -1.75
10. Hideki Matsuyama T26 5TH T12 0
11. Jason Day T17 W/D T10 -0.5
12. Francesco Molinari DNP DNP DNP
13. Tommy Fleetwood DNP DNP DNP
14. Jon Rahm T7 DNP DNP -1.75
15. Billy Horschel DNP DNP DNP
16. Webb Simpson T13 DNP DNP -1.25
17. Xander Schauffele 1ST DNP DNP -3
18. Patrick Cantlay T20 DNP DNP 0
19. Bubba Watson DNP T10 T5 -0.75
20. Patrick Reed T13 T24 27TH 1
21. Paul Casey 5TH 4TH T5 -1.83
22. Keegan Bradley DNP DNP DNP
23. Gary Woodland 19TH T10 DNP -0.38
24. Phil Mickelson DNP 22ND DNP 0.25
25. Cameron Smith DNP DNP DNP
26. Marc Leishman T24 DNP DNP 0.75
27. Aaron Wise DNP DNP DNP
28. Kyle Stanley T20 DNP DNP 0
29. Kevin Na DNP 29TH T16 1.75
30. Patton Kizzire DNP DNP DNP

Note – Because of the small field size & strict exemption criteria, many players do not have a lot of form at the event, so it’s difficult to assess.

Good History at Event – Hard to go past Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Paul Casey who haven’t missed a top 10 between them in recent years at Eastlake. I do think Paul Casey may struggle this year based on his recent form lately. Tony Finau has only played once in the past 3 years and finished 7th.

Poor History at Event – Patrick Reed and Kevin Na have struggled at the Tour Championship in the small man field, and the usually consistent Rickie Fowler is yet to fire at Eastlake the past few years.

My Rankings for the 2018 Tour Championship

You can compare my rankings against the Betfair Market to find under the odds and over’s

Player My Rankings My Price Betfair
1.       Billy Horschel 69.74 10.5 30
2.       Tony Finau 69.76 11 30
3.       Justin Thomas 69.76 12 15
4.       Dustin Johnson 69.78 13.5 12
5.       Justin Rose 69.87 15.5 11
6.       Brooks Koepka 70.03 16 16
7.       Webb Simpson 70.07 18 29
8.       Bryson DeChambeau 70.11 20 22
9.       Hideki Matsuyama 70.19 22 26
10.    Keegan Bradley 70.2 24 70
11.    Tommy Fleetwood 70.3 26 30
12.    Rory McIlroy 70.32 28 10.5
13.    Tiger Woods 70.41 30 13.5
14.    Rickie Fowler 70.54 32 25
15.    Patrick Cantlay 70.61 34 46
16.    Gary Woodland 70.61 34 65
17.    Jon Rahm 70.63 38 34
18.    Francesco Molinari 70.65 42 28
19.    Jason Day 70.67 46 34
20.    Kyle Stanley 70.73 50 90
21.    Aaron Wise 70.8 55 70
22.    Bubba Watson 70.85 60 42
23.    Kevin Na 70.87 65 90
24.    Cameron Smith 70.94 70 90
25.    Phil Mickelson 71.02 75 80
26.    Marc Leishman 71.07 80 70
27.    Xander Schauffele 71.16 85 34
28.    Patrick Reed 71.18 90 50
29.    Paul Casey 71.31 95 60
30.    Patton Kizzire 71.71 100 370

“The Overs” – This week has thrown up a few surprises! My form has Billy Horschel playing very well, having the lowest stroke average to par the previous 5 events. He is also 148 under par from 84 rounds this year, which is very strong. Tony Finau ranks 2nd in my rankings, clearly one of the hottest players in the world at present. These two players along with Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, and Kyle Stanley are big “overs” this week.

 “The Under’s” – I have Rory McIIroy and Tiger Woods as “unders”, they are both playing well enough to contend, however I can not be on them at their current price. Even though their recent form is reasonably strong, neither of them have cracked 100 under par for the year. Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey have all been out of form. Ill be looking at some tournament match bet opportunities on these players.

Not only can you compare my prices to the Betfair market, to find outright betting “overs” and “unders”, but you can also apply these odds to top 5, top 10, top 20, tournament match bets etc.

In Play Trading Opportunities

Assess the scores after Day 1 and if the tournament is low scoring then apply my trading strategies mentioned in previous articles. “Laying” morning player with a good scoring and “Re-Backing” before commencing round 2.

I will be playing the Par 5’s this week as I usually always do. If I see the leading players in a good position on the fairway, I will be inclined to place a “back” bet and then place a “lay” bet once the hole is completed, particularly if they have an iron into the green and the green is not heavily surrounded by trouble.

Note – 75% of leaders that lead by a shot entering the final round don’t win, and they average worse than the PGA Tour average. Therefore it can be great for 2 ball match betting and laying the leader in play, but only if they are below $3.

Difficult driving holes and players with poor driving accuracy percentages. If they find them selves in contention, lay tee-shots and re-back after the ball comes to rest.

Pre Tournament Bets

I really like the tournament head to head match bets, and I have listed a couple of options below, possibly wait until Thursday evening when there is more liquidity in the pool.

Below are some bet options to choose from, although keep in mind that some of the match bets are difficult this week.

 BACK – Tony Finau to beat Hideki Matsuyama for 2 units

 BACK – Bryson DeChambeau to beat Rickie Fowler for 1 units

 BACK – Justin Rose to beat Rory McIlroy for 1 unit

 BACK – Billy Horschel Top 10 at $3.30 for 1 unit

 BACK –  Tony Finau to finish Top 10 at $3.30 for 1 unit

 BACK – Gary Woodland to finish Top 10 at $5 for 1 unit

 BACK – Kyle Stanley to finish Top 10 at $5 for 1 unit

 LAY- Paul Casey to finish Top 10 at $3.40 for 1 unit

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