Justin Thomas has a five-shot lead over Rory McIlroy. Bryson DeChambeau’s 10 shots back and we haven’t even played a stroke yet. It all makes picking the Tour Championship winner a bit of a challenge. It’s almost as if we were getting stuck in at the halfway stage. Never let it be said, though, that we aren’t creatures of adventure here at NCG Towers. So here are my Tour Championship betting tips…
Venue: East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia
Date: August 22-25, 2019
Course stats: Par 70, 7,350 yards
Course summary: Renowned for being the playground of Bobby Jones, and a former Ryder Cup host, East Lake has generally rewarded defensive play – and you can chuck all that out of the window this week. Tree-lined, with second shots being of prime importance, water comes into play on six holes. Great iron players should flourish.
Last year’s champion: Tiger Woods (-11)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf, 6pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf, 6pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 6pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 8.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 5pm; Sky Sports Main Event, 7.30pm
Tour Championship betting tips: Steve’s players to follow
The handicap is clearly going to play a massive role here. It’s hard to see any challenge coming from the likes of Tommy Fleetwood or Kevin Kisner, for example, when they are already nine and eight shots back respectively.
In fact, he’s only carded three rounds in the 70s in his three appearances in this season climax.
Patrick Cantlay, meanwhile, who is closest to Thomas at -8 and two shots back, has yet to prove he has mastered this technical course – finishing 20th and 21st in his two Tour Championship appearances.
But if we can find the players further down the order, who have a bit to do on the handicap but have good East Lake form, we might be able to cash in on the increased odds the pre-tournament deficits are going to give us.
I really want that person to be Rory McIlroy (9/1). He’s five shots adrift but has good memories of this course, having won in such spectacular fashion in 2016. (Remember that eagle at 16?)
Seventh last year, he had to bear witness to all the Tiger pandemonium, but he’s also finished runner up in 2014 – the year he ruled the majors.
I would have liked him to show more on the weekend at Medinah as he faded away to tied 19th in what was a soft birdie fest.
Maybe, though, the prospect of chasing down JT will set the nostrils flaring and propel him to his third victory of the year.
You’d hope the prospect of Thomas getting his hands on the FedEx Cup would get right on the wick of Brooks Koepka (11/2).
Winning a major and a WGC sees the dual US Open and PGA champion three shots back and this is just the sort of injustice you’d imagine he’d be itching to correct.
Koepka looked to be having one of those meandering weeks at Medinah but tuned up nicely with a final-round 67 as he climbed 19 leaderboard places on Sunday.
It would be a concern that 6th, in 2017, would be his best performance at East Lake and he could only finish 26th 12 months ago.
But we all know how Brooks gets fired up when he feels the world is against him and there are 15 million reasons why he might be annoyed he is trailing going into Thursday.
When was the last time anyone tipped up Justin Rose (40/1) each-way? Such are the vagaries of the handicap, which sees last year’s FedEx Cup champion begin with an eight-shot deficit.
He’s never won at East Lake but few of the field have a better record around this course. His finishes from 2012 read 2nd, 6th, 4th, 2nd, 10th and 4th.
Surely he’s worth a bit of the big price on offer, despite looking very off key at Medinah and not having recorded a top five for 10 weeks?
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