The TOUR Championship tees off Thursday morning from East Lake GC in Atlanta, Georgia, as the best golfers in the world vie for the win and a FedEx Cup Championship. The field has been whittled down to just 30 golfers, so there are plenty of reasons to like everyone on the list.
Jordan Spieth ($11,600) – No. 1 in the FedEx Cup rankings without a playoff win so far, he will look to improve on his 2-2-T7 run with a win to cap off the championship. Last weekend he only made four bogeys for the entire tournament, as his third-place ranking in Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR %) showed how proficiently he was striking his irons. He didn’t finish higher on the leaderboard because, uncharacteristically, he was missing more than his usual share of putts. A former winner at East Lake, he will be building on his final round of 65 as he heads into the final weekend of the season.
Dustin Johnson ($11,400) – No worse than sixth in his last three trips to East Lake, he will be looking for his second win of the playoffs this weekend after his dominating performance a few weeks ago at the Northern Trust. First in Strokes Gained: Total on the season, he has been as efficient as anyone can be off the tee and from the fairway all season long, and he will need to regain that form this week after his T33 at the BMW Championship last weekend if he hopes to take down the FedEx Cup championship.
Justin Thomas ($9,900) – He is still second in overall points after a tough weekend at Conway Farms, at least by his recent standards (T47). He has put himself in a position where if he wins again this weekend, the overall FedEx Cup title is his. After finishing sixth here last year in his first trip to the TOUR Championship, he is poised to improve on that standing to close out what has been an impressive breakout campaign, highlighted by 11 top-10s and five wins, including his first major.
Justin Rose ($8,900) – He is hard to ignore right now, having quite obviously turned some kind of corner with his game over the past few weeks. He is coming into the TOUR Championship having recorded T10, T10 and T2 finishes in the first three legs of the playoffs. While he will obviously be trying to win that $10 million first-place purse, you don’t need him to in order for him to work as a useful fantasy option at this price. He has finished second here at East Lake in two of his last four trips and never worse than T6, so choosing Rose means you’re choosing a player who will be on a course he seems to like, at the top of his game, vying for one of the year’s biggest prizes. There is a lot to like.
Marc Leishman ($8,400) – It’s true, it never seems like a great idea to decide a golfer is about to go out and win for the second week in a row, but much like Rose, at this price, you don’t need a win for this pick to pay off. He put on a clinic last weekend, taking home the title on the back of 29 birdies and just six bogeys. That’s a great way to follow up a third-place finish two weeks before at the Northern Trust, and that kind of run over the past two weeks should give you plenty of confidence heading into the weekend at East Lake.
Patrick Cantlay ($7,800) – The lowest-seeded player at the beginning of the playoffs to ever make the final tournament, he has jumped up from 78th in points by virtue of finishing T10-T13-T9 over the last three weeks. He is second for the playoffs in GIR %, hitting quality shots from all over the course. He has only played in 12 events this season but hasn’t missed a single cut, and now – including these last two in the playoffs – he has four top-10 performances under his belt in limited opportunities.
Webb Simpson ($7,500) – With two top-10s in the playoffs, you are getting a player in Simpson right now who looks really good at a very manageable price. Interestingly, he did most of his damage last weekend on the greens, where ball-striking is usually his strong suit. If he can bring those two skills together at East Lake, a place where he has had some success in the past, he could give himself a shot at vaulting up near the top of the leaderboard, which would make him a great buy at this price.
Xander Schauffele ($6,800) – Just being here this weekend makes him a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, and any kind of impressive showing would cement it for the 23-year-old. Always great off the tee (top-25 in Strokes Gained), he has been converting that into results over the past few weeks, with an average of 17 birdies a weekend over his two top-10 showings so far in the playoffs. When he needed results last weekend, he got them, earning his spot in the final with rounds of 65-67 to close out the BMW Championship and advanced enough in the standings to play another week.
Jason Dufner ($6,500) – He has finished inside the top-10 here at East Lake in each of his last two visits, which is really all you need for a pick at this price to pay off in a big way. In most cases, you’re picking him specifically because you’re hoping for great things from someone else, and you need to make room. Anything you get here is just a nice bonus, and he’s shown the ability to do it, in the past on this course and more recently with his T20 finish at the Northern Trust, showing his ability to at least compete with the rest of the players left standing in this stellar field.
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