What a terrific finish at the BMW Championship.  Congrats to Viktor Hovland on the victory after firing a sensational 61 in the final round. He passed Rory McIlory, Scottie Scheffler and Matthew Fitzpatrick on his way to the win at Olympia Fields. The scores ended up being much higher than I expected but still challenged these players. It is now down to the final 30 for the Tour Championship.  

The FedEx Cup Playoffs comes to a conclusion this week at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, Georgia.  This tournament will be unlike anything we’ve seen this season.  Fans were not happy in 2018 when Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship but did not accumulate enough points to win the FedEx Cup which went to Justin Rose.  The PGA Tour changed the format to where the winner of the Tour Championship also wins the FedEx Cup and the $18 million dollar bonus.  In an attempt to appease the fans, the PGA Tour switched to “Gundersen Method”.  The higher you are in the FedEx Cup standings, the better your starting position for the Tour Championship.  This weekend’s tournament will start with this leaderboard (Bold are my favorite plays): 

Scottie Scheffler -10: I know most everyone is going to take Rory McIlory because of his history at East Lake but it is so hard to bet against Scottie with a two stroke advantage on the field. He has finished 31st and 2nd in his two trips to East Lake in this format. He’s the best ball striker in the game, it’s all on whether he can manage the greens respectably. 

Viktor Hovland -8

Rory McIlory -7

Jon Rahm -6

Lucas Glover -5

Max Homa -4: I took a risk with Homa last week and he paid us off with a 5th place finish at the BMW Championship. He started in 16th last year at East Lake and behind a second round 62, he finished 5th by the end of the weekend. He starts at 4 under this year.  

Patrick Cantlay -4

Brian Harman -4

Wyndham Clark -4

Matthew Fitzpatrick -4: I love that he’s starting to turn it around at just the right time. After breaking through last year with his first major championship, this year has to be considered a down year.  He had to finish 2nd last week at the BMW Championship to get into this week’s field. Fitz finished 15th last year at East Lake. 

Tommy Fleetwood -3

Russell Henley -3

Keegan Bradley -3 

Rickie Fowler -3

Xander Schauffele -3

Tom Kim -2

Sungjae Im -2: Sungjae is about as consistent as they come, especially when it comes to the FedEx Cup Playoffs.  He is 5 for 5 making the Tour Championship.  Sungjae finished 2nd last year at East Lake and will start at 2 under this year.  Over the last 4 years since starting this new format, 5 golfers have finished inside the Top 5 despite starting from so far behind.  

Tony Finau -2

Corey Conners -2 

Si Woo Kim -2

Taylor Moore -1

Nick Taylor -1

Adam Schenk -1

Collin Morikawa -1

Jason Day -1

Sam Burns E

Emiliano Grillo E

Sahith Theegala E

Tyrrell Hatton E

Jordan Spieth E

Sepp Straka E: This talented Austrian has had a rough stretch through the FedEx Cup playoffs but has all the talent to make a charge at the Tour Championship. He finished in a tie for 7th last year with Patrick Cantlay at East Lake. I believe he’ll be overlooked at this price range because of players like Burns, Grillo and Spieth being at the same starting point. You maybe get some nice ownership. 

In 2022, Scottie Scheffler had the 10 under advantage but it was Rory McIlory who won starting at 4 under. In 2019, Justin Thomas held the top spot but it was Rory McIlory who won the Tour Championship starting at 5 under.  Rory is a three time winner at East Lake and this year he’ll be even closer to the leader than in year’s past. I typically love to target players in the 3-5 under range because they’ve got a shot to catch up but have to do some work to get there.    

East Lake is a Par 70 that measures out at 7,346 yards.  This course was designed by Donald Ross who also created two similar courses: Sedgefield (Wyndham) and Detroit Country Club (Rocket Mortgage).  While a lot of the players in this field haven’t played those events, we do have some history to draw from this week.  For example, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele have never finished outside the Top 10 at East Lake.  When you look at the stats which have correlated to success at East Lake, the ones I’ll focus on this week are Fairways Hit, Strokes Gained: Approach, Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Sand Saves, and Par 4 Efficiency 450-500.  Golfers will need to keep out of trouble as we’ve got six water hazards and over 70 bunkers.  Fairways and greens as much as possible.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m going to play very little this weekend.  I’ll save my bankroll and use for the next full field event in the middle of September at the Fortinet Championship. I’ve put together example lineups focusing more on the players who are starting from behind and have to catch Scottie Scheffler.  I feel like that’s the strategy to take down a big score this weekend but you can’t completely fade him.

Pos Player Team Opponent Salary Proj. Draft%
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