The TOUR Championship Preview

Author
by Mark Knight
August 20th 2019, 7:23am

The culmination of the FedEx Cup is upon us, with the 30 remaining contenders in the race to be crowned champion teeing it up at East Lake Golf Club this week. This 7,346 yard, Donald Ross-designed course being all that stands in the way of one man and a $15m payday.

With only 30 in the field, we are very much left with the big guns of golf being in contention – and with the new approach to crowning the champion in place for the first time this year, we are faced with 2 different betting events.

Firstly, we have the race to be crowned FedEx cup champion – and then we have the more traditional 72 hole competition. 

FedEx Cup overall Champion

Justin Thomas is very much in pole position. He comes into the week with a 2 hot ‘head start’ over the next in the field – Patrick Cantlay. Thomas will begin the week on -10 par, and it is hard to see past him being crowned the overall champion come Sunday night.

He will not need to take risks – he can play sensible golf and defend the lead he has been handed by the event organizers. He is the favorite, and rightly so – closely followed in the betting by Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, and Rory McIlroy. It is highly unlikely that the overall champion will come from outwith those 4 named golfers – and Thomas is likely to be the safest investment.

Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay, the 27-year-old UCLA graduate has shown that he can win PGA events – but has only won 2 of them since turning pro in 2012. He possesses the game to go close – but can be overlooked here with the prospect of a $15m prize to the winner – he just has not had to face such a mentally tough challenge before.

Cantlay’s course form of 21-20 is also poor. Koepka, the world’s number 1 ranked golfer comes into this event after a tremendous 2 years. 7 victories including multiple major championships show us that he knows how to win when it really matters – but course form at East Lake of 26-6-18 does not fill us with confidence.

Given that this is a 30 man field – those form figures really do stand out as being poor. McIlroy has strong course form, with finishes of 7,1,6,2,10 he will be there or thereabouts come Sunday evening – but with a 2 shot advantage, and rock-solid course form of 7,2,6 over the last 3 years the FedEx champion will likely be Justin Thomas.

The TOUR 72 hole market

Hideki Matsuyama comes to East Lake in fantastic form, and has to be respected this week. 2 rounds of 63 saw him go close last week at the BMW, but a Saturday 73 meant that he did not quite get the job done.

Hideki Matsuyama

Putting has always been Matsuyama’s weak point – but he showed some real signs of consistency with the flat stick last week, and has ranked in the top 10 of all major statistical categories last week he is likely to challenge for top honors once again this week in Atlanta.

Couple his recent hot form with respectable course form figures of 4,26,5,12,22 and he could well prove to be the value bet in the 72 hole tournament market.

The course is set up perfectly for him, with many of the holes lending themselves to strong approach play – one of Matsuyama’s main attributes. He led the field in putting when finishing 5th at East Lake in 2016 – so if he can find a hot putter this week he certainly has the game to win the 72 hole competition. 

Suggested bets

  • 2019 FedEx Cup champion
    Justin Thomas +250
  • 2019 The Tour Championship
    Hideki Matsuyama (EW) 18/1

Bet on the Tour Championship