Everything that’s happened over the last year comes down to this weekend. 30 players competing for $15 million. Could you imagine? Walking off a green on Sunday afternoon knowing that $15 mil is waiting for you. I wish.
Patrick Cantlay, after his crowning defeat of Bryson DeChambeau in Maryland, is your FedEx Cup leader. He will start the week at -10, and with a 2 shot lead over Tony Finau. He was beyond locked in on the greens at Caves Valley, and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to do that 2 weeks in a row. We’ll see.
Jon Rahm didn’t have his best stuff over the last few days of the BMW Championship, but still stands 4th on the FEC Standings. He finished solo 4th at the TOUR Championship last year.
Full FedEx Cup Standings, with starting positions…
East Lake Golf Club
Let’s start on the greens. They’re gonna be fast, they’re gonna roll true, and they’re Bermuda. Some players love Bermuda, some hate it. The grain of these greens will make a putt break more/less than expected, so targeting players who putt well on these surfaces will be important.
However, Atlanta is getting hammered with rain early this week – meaning the greens will be pretty receptive. Because of this, the boys will be going right at sticks all week long, especially in the first 2 rounds. Players who are gaining strokes with their approach play and ball-striking will be at a premium this week.
The rough can be tricky around East Lake, so you want to play from the fairway. Driving accuracy is another thing to consider.
Data Golf Information
Course Fit: 1. TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), 2. TPC Twin Cities (3M Open), 3. TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic)
Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Jon Rahm (Last 3 starts: T3, 3, T9), 2. Patrick Cantlay (T23, T11, 1), 3. Cameron Smith (T5, 2, T34)
% Chance to Win (baseline, course history & fit): 1. Patrick Cantlay (24.4%), 2. Jon Rahm (22.6%), 3. Bryson DeChambeau (10.8%)
Players to Watch
Before we jump in, the smart way to bet this tournament would probably be to sprinkle the top of the board, because odds are, the winner will come from there. But, what’s the fun in that? Let’s take some shots down the field.
Last week’ results…
3 wins, 2 loses: +.93 units (+92.87)
First up, a man that adores this golf course. It’s the home of his first win on Tour, which took place back in 2017 when he was just a rookie. Mr. Xander Schauffele.
Results over the years at East Lake:
2020: T2 (without the starting strokes he won by 3)
He’s been struggling since taking home gold in Tokyo. Last 3 starts: T46, T16 (thanks to a Friday 62, didn’t shoot in the 60s the rest of the week), T49 (70 man field).
His strokes gained numbers over his last 24 rounds aren’t impressive, but he’s inside the Top 30 over that same period in SG: APP and SG: Ball-Striking. Hopefully his putter can warm up in Hot-lanta.
Another guy that LOVES this place, my guy, Rory McIlroy.
Results at East Lake:
2016: 1st (before the stroke advantage format)
2018: T7 (was in the final group with Tiger, shot 74 on Sunday)
2019: 1st (started the week 5 back)
He’c coming his 2nd best finish of the year with a solo 4th at Caves Valley. Only one player in the field gained more strokes than Rors off the tee, Bryson DeChambeau. He also rolled it nicely, ranking 10th in SG: Putting for the week.
His iron play wasn’t in full flight, but his history at this golf course is too good to over-look.
Bets for the Tour Championship
Rory McIlroy – Top 5 (+280, Fanduel)
Xander Schauffele – Top 10 (+115, Fanduel)
Scottie Scheffler – Top 10, without starting strokes (+120, DraftKings)
Cover via GolfChannel (Getty)