Daniel Berger celebrating his win at the Fedex St. Jude Classic
Coming to the end of the season, it’s time for the Fedex Cup Playoffs. It’s time to play for a $10m prize bump…because the top golfers in the world are clearly struggling for cash!
With Tom having written a great course preview in his article, I won’t put too much detail in here. As a long par 71 with testing greens, however, I will be targeting specific metrics:
  • Driving distance
  • Approach the green
  • Proximity to the hole
Additionally, Pat Mayo has identified strong links to Quail Hollow and Torrey Pines. With the course not played on the annual roster, any form at these courses is a bonus.

The Strategy:

With such a high class field, there seems to be a lot of value at the bottom which gives us an opportunity to pick up a few of our favourite top end plays in a studs and scrubs strategy this week. I’ll definitely be going this way in GPP, and possibly similar in cash with a couple of confident plays near the bottom.

High-end plays:

Dustin Johnson ($11,900) – Having missed the cut at the PGA last time out, people might be off him. This may be a mistake on a course that suits – he was 3rd here in 2012. Before the PGA, his form was impeccable with six consecutive top 10s including two wins. Ranked 1st in distance and proximity, and 19th approach the green. His game is a great fit for the course. I expect him to bounce back here.
Brooks Koepka ($10,100) – Some people might look at this price as high, but Brooks seems to churn out top results. Excluding the Bridgestone where he WD, his last five tournaments have all yielded top 13 finishes. This includes a top 5 at the PGA at another Tillinghast design. A huge hitter, there’s no reason why this course shouldn’t suit. Will be feeling buoyed by the confirmation of his Ryder Cup place.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,900) – After a bit of a slump, Hideki looks to be back with consecutive top five finishes. His metronomic long game should be a good fit for the course; he ranks 2nd in approach the green and 17th in proximity. I expect this to be another good week for Hideki.
Phil Mickelson ($9,700) – While Phil hasn’t wont this year, it’s been a year of showing people he’s not going away just yet. Four top three finishes, including his 2nd to Stenson at The Open, have him 8th in the FedEx Cup standings. His stats are great ranking 10th in approach the green and 3rd in putting – a potent combination. He has great form at Tillinghast courses including 2nd here in the 2009 US Open. I expect him to be full of confidence this week.

The mid-range:

Jimmy Walker ($8,200) – The PGA Champion followed that up with a MC last week; however, I’m hoping that has got it out of his system. Having won his major on another Tillinghast course, there’s a chance he’ll be quite happy to be here. As a long hitter and a great putter, he should be able to score on the course. Made the cut here in 2012 when an inferior player, and opened up with a 66 showing he can play the course. Despite his major win, I expect him to be low owned.
Justin Thomas ($8,000) – With a MC last time out, there is a chance that many will jump off the JT bandwagon; however, I will not be one of them. With a chance to make the Ryder Cup team he’ll be looking to impress. Still sits 10th in the FedEx Cup standings so knows he has a chance to win the jackpot with a good few weeks. Top 25 in both distance and approach the green so should give himself plenty of chances. Was top 5 just two tournaments ago at The Travelers so has some great recent form. I expect him to take to the course and challenge.
Patrick Rodgers ($7,400) – In this field the price may look high, but that should make him low owned. His form has picked up just at the right time with three consecutive cuts including a top three at The Travelers. A huge hitter, he may be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots into the greens. Also ranks 10th in apex height which means his iron shots should be able to hold on these tricky greens. An added bonus that his best ever finish on tour came at Quail Hollow – a correlation course. Hopefully that gives us a clue that Rodgers can challenge.

Bargain basement:

Daniel Berger ($6,900) – An incredible price for a player with a win in June and a top five last time out. Has significant upside with the class to win in this type of field. Hits the ball a long way and is 23rd in approach the green. Will be a core play for me.
JB Holmes ($6,400) – While JB might not be in the greatest form at the moment, he has the game for the course. A huge hitter, he also has great form at correlation courses with top six in the last two years at Torrey Pines and is a course winner at Quail Hollow. His last three top 10s have come in top class fields including The Open and The Masters. Finished top 20 here for good measure. A better player now, if he were to do that again, he’d comfortably hit value.
Hudson Swafford ($6,200) – The Swaff is in great form. Ten cuts in a row have pushed him up to 90th in the FedEx standings. He looks to be a great fit for the course sitting in the top 30 in both distance and proximity to the hole. He even has a top 15 this year at Torrey Pines for good measure. A cash and GPP play for me this week.
Robert Garrigus ($5,700) – An absolute steal at the price. With eight top 30s in his last 10 tournaments he’s in great form. He’s also in a scoring mood with at least 87 DK points in his last three tournaments. Looks to have the game for this course sitting in the top 30 for the three metrics I’m looking for. Made the cut at both correlation courses this year.

The World Ranking Play:

Kevin Chappell ($5,900) – Ranked 36th in the world, Chappell should not be sitting in the $5k bracket. A great ball striker he ranks 6th in approach the green this season. With three runner ups this year, he has significant upside at this price.

The Fade:

Jim Furyk ($8,600) – With consecutive top 10s – including the 58 – people will likely be on him at this price. The course, however, looks like it may be a big long for Jim, as proven when he missed the cut here in 2012. Additionally, when someone shoots a 58 yet still doesn’t win a tournament, the round may be an anomaly in his current form!

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