The FedEx playoff series kicks off with the rescheduled Northern Trust, a tournament replacing the old Barclays. Much like its predecessor it is based near New York, but at the ne’er before used layout at Glen Oaks in Long Island. With nothing but rumour to go on, we expect a track a little like the nearby giant Bethpage Black, constructed by the same design team. Early rumours suggest some room off the tee, but Augusta-like green severity making accuracy of approach and putting prowess a key.
For the world-ranking big-hitters, this may not be ideal for the likes of Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka or even Dustin Johnson. It sounds more suitable to the inform pair of Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas, and absolutely ideal for US big guns, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
Tempted as we are to follow up our PGA success with Thomas, the Augusta record of Spieth speaks for itself. He may have been under a lot of pressure chasing the career Grand Slam at the PGA last time, but generosity off the tee helps his sometimes wayward wood-work, but approach play, scrambling and clutch-putting is essentially his resume and he is a strong fancy, and 2pt pick, for this title.
The last few weeks we have pinned hopes to the duo of Kevin Chappell and Brian Harman. We remain convinced further success awaits this pair having already recorded wins this season. With a hefty investment in Speith, we are prepared just to dabble in a couple of long shots alongside him on the ticket.
With the approach to the green key, Chappell’s 30th ranking in this department is enough to stay on the ticket, but Harman’s 150th suggests this track may not suit despite his stellar putting ranking.
We have also been keen on Bud Cauley and Chez Reavie, who rank 12th and 36th respectively on the same stat. (Spieth is No2, with Francesco Molinari at No1). Tempting as it is to back Cauley, whose approach play last week was spectacular, the procession of missed putts from inside 15ft tell the season long story that has him down at a lowly 158th in putting.
Instead we will stick with Reavie, whose stats are on the rise at just the right time of the season and combines useful approach and putting stats at a monster price.
Jordan Spieth, 2pts win, 12/1 generally available
Kevin Chappell, 0.5pts each way, 66/1 Skybet (1/4 odds top 6)
Chez Reavie, 0.5pts each way, 150/1 Skybet (1/4 odds top 6)
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