Setting the scene
The Tour Championship, which takes place this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, concludes the 2020-21 PGA Tour season. The top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings for the entire season will now compete for the $15 million first-place prize. (Yes, you should’ve taken golf lessons as a child.)
Following Patrick Cantlay’s success in the BMW Championship last week, the Tour Championship begins with starting strokes determined by the FedEx Cup rankings. Cantlay leads the standings heading into the week, with Tony Finau, the winner of the Northern Trust the week before, in second.
Cantlay will start Thursday’s round at 10-under par, two strokes ahead of Finau. The starting points for places three through five will be 7 under, 6 under, and 5 under, respectively. Sixth through tenth places start at 4 under par, 11-15 at 3 under par, 16-20 at 2 under par, 21-25 at 1 under par, and 26-30 at even par.
The Ross courses are all about playing position golf off the tee and hitting great approaches onto these Bermuda greens from the correct angles. Speaking of which, they should play lightning-fast, with stimpmeter readings of 12 to 12.5 in recent years. While iron play is critical on a Ross course, the winners have found that Strokes Gained: Putting is almost twice as important as Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green in the preceding five years. With five par 4s ranging from 450 to 500 yards and one at 520 yards, par 4 efficiencies from 450 to 500 yards and long iron (175-200-plus yards) proximity will be crucial this week.
The following are the starting positions for 2021:
-10 Patrick Cantlay
-8 Tony Finau
-7 Bryson DeChambeau
-6 Jon Rahm
-5 Cameron Smith
-4 Justin Thomas, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns
-3 Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson
-2 Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Brooks Koepka
-1 Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama, Stewart Cink, Joaquin Niemann, Scottie Scheffler
Evs Daniel Berger, Erik van Rooyen, Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed
The top four are all in fantastic shape by definition of their positions, but what about their East Lake form? They don’t have a top-five between them, which is interesting. In other words, there is room for someone to break out from the pack.
Horses for courses
The East Lake Golf Club, which is 7,300 yards long and has a par of 70, is the host course. Donald Ross created the course, which was later rebuilt by Rees Jones in 1994. East Lake Golf Club is the oldest golf course in Atlanta and is the home course of great golfer Bobby Jones. The course provides a decent test of golf, yet with only 30 players in the field, it’s challenging to establish a formula that predicts a victor. Because no single number stands out, the obvious applies: a player must hit fairways, greens and sink many putts.
East Lake’s main challenge is on the greens, especially in terms of pars. On the undulating Bermuda greens, those who putt well will thrive. However, for specific players, current form is crucial, and weariness may be a concern.
Where’s the money?
Let’s now look at the betting for the week ahead:
Jon Rahm +350
Patrick Cantlay +400
Bryson DeChambeau +550
Tony Finau +700
Justin Thomas +1400
Jordan Spieth +1800
Dustin Johnson +2000
Rory McIlroy +2500
Xander Schauffele +2500
Cameron Smith +2800
Harris English +2800
Abraham Ancer +2800
Louis Oosthuizen +3500
Collin Morikawa +3500
Sam Burns +4000
Viktor Hovland +4000
Sungjae Im +4500
Brooks Koepka +5000
Scottie Scheffler +6500
Daniel Berger +10000
Jason Kokrak +10000
Hideki Matsuyama +11000
Corey Conners +13000
Kevin Na +13000
Joaquin Niemann +18000
Sergio Garcia +20000
Billy Horschel +20000
Stewart Cink +40000
Erik Van Rooyen +40000
My name is Dean, AKA The Stat Man. I am a Sports Betting Analyst who uses math, algorithms, probability and logic to create my posts. I specialize in many sports, with Golf being the primary focus. You can find a lot of my work on various websites but the best content is found here on Beer Life.
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