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This week we head to TPC Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship; a 7,242 yard par 71, and the second installment of the FedEx Cup. The course was designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 2002 but was tweaked by Gil Hanse in 2007. The greens this week are bentgrass which brings certain players but into play after a week on poa annua, and winning scores are usually between -15 and -20.
Key stats to identify this week are:
Strokes gained: approach the green
Par 4 birdie or better
While the pricing is not quite as soft as last week, there are still bargains to be had. For me, I’ll again be looking at a stars and scrubs approach likely taking two top guys, a middle tier play and three value plays. Likely that the differentiation will have to come from the value plays, or through leaving cash on the table.
Jason Day ($12,500) – Undoubtedly the best player in the world. His current form is strong with a top five last week after his USPGA runner up. He drove atrociously last week but his game around the greens was outstanding allowing him to top the field in birdies. Ranks 12th in par 4 birdies and top 40 in both approach the green and scrambling. Expect him to be in with a chance on Sunday again.
Adam Scott ($10,400) – Never quite sure how highly Scott will be owned, but he has great potential last week. Struck the ball beautifully last week (1st tee to green) but couldn’t buy a putt. Despite this he still managed to finish 4th. The move to different greens may favour him this week. Has a good record here with three top 10s in his last five visits. With two wins this year, he’s shown that if his putter behaves he can win. Hasn’t missed a cut this year so looks a solid high end cash play.
Patrick Reed ($10,200) – His win last week was a mix of brilliant play approaching the green (6th) and around the green (8th), exactly the mix we want this week. Ranks 5th in scrambling for the year, and has the skills set needed for this course. Finished 4th here last year to show his liking for TPC Boston. History has shown that consecutive wins in the FedEx Cup are far from impossible – Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel have all done it in the last nine years. Expect him to be buzzing after his win and Ryder Cup confirmation last week.
Sergio Garcia ($9,500) – Disappointing missed cut at the USPGA but bounced back with a top 10 in the Olympics. This was his sixth top 10 in his last eight starts. Has strong form here with five made cuts including a 4th last time in 2014. One of the best at gaining strokes approaching the green (15th) and par 4 scoring (36th) he should be comfortable back at this course.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,000) – Surely the chalk this week who you’ll either need…or will burn. Exceptional form with five top 15s in last six with a runner up last week. Solid in most stat categories, and if he can scramble a bit better, I expect him to be up there yet again.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,600) – Missed the cut last week so a good discount in price. Having made consecutive top 5s prior to this I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt. Has the game for this course sitting 2nd in SG:ATG and 6th in par 4 birdie or better. Course form doesn’t jump out but made both cuts here and hit a round of 65 last year. Has definite winning upside at this price.
Sean O’Hair ($7,800) – It’s not often someone’s current and course form both jump off the page. Finished runner up last week (5th tee to green) showing his game’s in a good place. Last year finished 4th here with a despite a poor final round of 74.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,700) – This price just looks wrong. Made his last six cuts including two top 5s. Hasn’t played that well here in the last few years but made three top 6s between 2010 and 2012. He can definitely play the course. Personally I’d have priced Brandt in the mid $8ks so I’m happy to take him at a discount. A winner already this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him challenge again.
Gary Woodland ($7,700) – The big hitter will be buoyed by the potential Ryder Cup pick as mentioned by Davis Love III. Coming to a course where he’s made all four cuts, including a T12 last year. Finished 4th last week (4th in approach the green) for his third top 5 in last nine starts. Definitely expect him to outplay his price with a top 20 finish.
Justin Thomas ($7,600) – After backing him last time out off a MC, it would be remiss to ignore his top 10. He still has a late chance for the Ryder Cup team and with his form hotting up he’ll be looking to impress. Struck the ball well last week (8th tee to green) so will hopefully bring that through to this week. Made the cut on his debut here last year but with the RC incentive and a year’s more experience he should go better this year.
Charley Hoffman ($7,300) – Love this price for Charley. A true course specialist with a win in 2010, and a 3rd last year (when he should’ve won!). Has been rounding into form nicely with consecutive top 25s. His performance last week was built on an all-around solid game, and ended with a bogey-free 67. Has already won at a favourite course this year so shows he can repeat form at certain courses.
Steve Stricker ($7,000) – Another course horse with four top 10s (including a win) since 2007. Since his top 5 in The Open seems to have fallen off some radars; however, has made every cut since. Despite his light schedule, seems to have upside with three top 10s in last nine tournaments. Missed just one of last 10 cuts so looks a solid cash play.
William McGirt ($6,800) – Josh Culp at futureoffantasy.com noted Memorial and Bridgestone as potential correlation courses. If he’s right than McGirt has got to be on your radar this week. The winner at Memorial, he also bagged a top 10 at the Bridgestone. Made the cut and rounded up with a 67 to finish the week on a high. Finished well here last year at T12 so will have good memories of the course. Fits the course as an elite scrambler and strong par 4 scorer.
Webb Simpson ($6,100) – No other player’s price jumps around quite as much as Webb Simpson. As a course winner (2011) who has made his last six cuts, there is potential for a surprise here. Also has a top 10 in 2014 to show his win wasn’t a one-off. Great ball striker ranked 6th in approach the green and 13th in par 4 birdie or better. Clearly has the skills set and the good memories, at this price he could be both a cash and GPP play.
Danny Lee ($5,900) – Lee’s form isn’t great, but he just looks too cheap. He has made both cuts here in his two visits, and his skills set should suit the course. On his visits, he has made 19 and 21 birdies showing he can score here. Good upside at a low price.
Jason Kokrak ($5,700) – Looks a great price considering his top 10 last week, where he topped the field in GIR. Has played well at the course before with a top 20 in 2014. If his ball striking remains, I expect him to well outplay his very low price.
Brian Harman ($5,600) – Coming off a top 25 last week, with a T12 last year, Harman looks a good price. An elite putter (14th), he ranks in the top 50 for both scrambling and par 4 birdies.
Hudson Swafford ($5,500) – If he keeps making the cut, I’ll keep playing him. Finished T33 last year despite a final round 76. Has made 11 consecutive cuts, but only has one top 20 so probably just a cash play.
The World Ranking Play:
Bubba Watson ($8,900) – Ranked 7th in the world, Bubba has dipped below $9k at 14th most expensive. Made all cuts this year including three consecutive top 25s. Finished last week off with a strong round of 66 to show he’s rounding into form nicely. Looks to be a nice pivot off Grillo for those looking to differentiate.
Henrik Stenson ($10,700) – Looks like a great play with great course form and current form; however, he WD last week with an injury so it’s unclear how he’ll be feeling this week. Should be noted that last time he WD from a tournament, he won the following week. Definitely not a cash play.
Kevin Na ($7,600) – Baby swag alert! Wife gave birth last week which could inspire him. Double bogeyed to miss the cut last week but before that his form was superb.
Billy Horschel ($8,500) – A dangerous game as he’s playing well, but I think he’ll be too high owned. While he did finish 2nd here in 2014, his other two showings have been made cuts by DFL. Despite the good showings in the last two weeks, still only has four top 10s this year. Potentially over-hyped and over-played this week.