This week we are in Norton, Massachusetts for the second FedEx Cup play-off event. The Deutsche Bank Championship is this week’s event and 99 payers will tee it up. Masters Champion, Danny Willett has once again opted against playing this week.
Patrick Reed took down the first of these four events, at The Barclays last week.
What to expect from the course this week?
TPC Boston is a 7,297 yard, Par 71 which is here to be scored on. Since this Arnold Palmer design was redesigned by Gill Hanse and Faxon in 2007 the worst winning score was -15. That has also in fact been the winning score on 3 of the last 5 occasions. Both Rickie Fowler (2015) and Chris Kirk (2014) won with -15, so that will be the benchmark score this week.
Due the low-scoring nature of this course players will have to hit plenty of greens and make a boat-full of putts. Making pars just won’t do here, so plenty of fairways and greens need to be found.
Gill Hanse’s original designs used competitively include Castle Stuart Golf Links and of course, the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. In terms of re-designs, Hanse’s work at the Trump Doral Resort (Blue Monster) was the most recent to be played on the PGA Tour. He completed this in February 2014, so form from the 2014 and 2015 WGC-Cadillac Championship may be of interest. There is no reason to put too much focus on that redesign though. Blue Monster is nearly 7,500 yards long and a par 72 so doesn’t have much in common with TPC Boston.
With this all considered, here are my betting selections for this week.
Louis Oosthuizen 50/1 (BetVictor)
Louis Oosthuizen is in good, steady form of late and looks set for a big week. The South African ranks 30th in Greens in Regulation and 24th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, so his ball-striking is in good shape.
After a generally up-and-down season, Oosthuizen looks to have found some consistency finishing in the top-25 in 5 of his last 6 events. After missing the cut at the Open back in July, his finishes read T22-T17-T18, so I am hoping he can put himself in contention this week.
The South African has some course form to call on to. On the two occasions he has played here, Oosthuizen has finished 12th (2015) and 2nd (2012).
It was a fairly uncharacteristic performance from Oosthuzien last week at The Barclays. He ranked 66th in Driving Accuracy, 53rd in Greens in Regulation but 9th in Putting Average. To put thing into perspective, he ranks 131st in SG: Putting this season.
Now that he is back on a course he clearly enjoys, he should improve on his below-par ball-striking last week. As long as he putts like he did last week, he should go well.
It is a lot of if’s and but’s however Oosthuizen is straight out the top drawer in terms of quality and given he has won already this season (Perth International in Feb) he is worth chancing at what looks a huge price. He only wins events at double-digits under par, so scoring will suit. Only 1 of his 15 professional wins were as a result of a score worse than -11.
My one major concern is that he has never won a PGA Tour event (excluding Open Championship) but he has contended at the Masters,in WGC’s and here, so he is clearly capable of doing so.
Sean O’Hair 110/1 (Bet365)
Last week Sean O’Hair finished 2nd at The Barclays, which was only his second top-10 of the season. This doesn’t tell the whole story though and 2016 has been another decent chapter in a fight back in his career. He has four top-20’s this year and is edging closer (77th) to the top-50 in the World Rankings.
O’Hair, who has not won since 2011, made only 7 cuts in his 2013 PGA Tour season and lost his card. For two consecutive seasons he had to rely on the Web.com Tour Finals to retain his card. 2015 however was a different story.
The four-time PGA Tour winner had to rely on a Sponsor’s Exemption to get into the Valspar Championship but nearly took full advantage. O’Hair was denied a 5th PGA Tour title, by Jordan Spieth. Spieth got the better of both O’Hair and Reed. Later in the season he went on to finish 4th here, at the Deutsche Bank Championship. This was his third top-10 at TPC Boston since 2007 and he can go well again.
After four round’s in the 60’s at the Wyndham Championship (T22nd) two weeks ago and his runner-up finish last week, his game looks in great shape. He ranked 5th in SG: tee-to-green last week, so if he can repeat that performance he should go well.
Now ranked #15 in the FedEx Cup standings, O’Hair will be hoping to make it to both the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. To make it to the final tournament at East Lake he will need another two good performances, starting here.
Given his recent form and his 4th here last year he simply looks too big at 110/1. This is a value play more than anything, but I hold high hopes for the once proven Tour winner.