TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts, United States
After a pulsating climax to The Barclays last week, 25 players have been cut and now we are left with the 100 top points leaders for the Deutsche Bank Open.
Adam Scott was sublime last Sunday and his confidence will be sky high as he joins the esteemed group of players who have won twice on the PGA Tour this season. (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker)
As for this week, it is a completely different test to the gorgeous Liberty National as it ranks amongst the easiest on Tour – 31st for difficulty in 2012. It is a 7, 216 yard par 72, designed by the great Arnold Palmer and does not seem to invite a particular player to do well. It can suit every type of golfer – but you have to play well, score low and keep finding birdies.
We will obviously be looking at scoring stats – birdie average has been vital for the last 4 tournaments (the past 4 winners have ranked 7th or higher in birdie average) whilst the higher rankings for par 5 birdie or better has yielded winners in recent years – why? We don’t know!
Before we reveal our picks, we do not understand the betting market this week. We have had a crazy Bank Holiday in the UK so we were busy anyway, but the odds did bewilder us and made things even more confusing.
5 players below 20s is criminal and we were gutted to see Rory McIlroy as low as 14s because he looked very useful for this course.
We must also reiterate that every tournament where Tiger Woods has this sort of outrageous course form, he has won…
Keegan Bradley (40/1 StanJames)
Here we are again. Last week we plumped for Keegan Bradley, firmly believing he would be in and around the final reckoning. The 74 he shot on Saturday completely ruined any chances of victory, but the fact he hit (at the time) a joint course record 63 the day before, shows how impressive he can be. We all know how low he can shoot and this was a reminder that coming into this week he should be feeling confident but whether he can sustain it or not is another matter.
Our only worry is if he can put four low rounds together. He has to get into his weird and awkward groove that makes him a genius. He is currently 24th in birdie average, 1st in par birdie or better, 2nd in going for the green (the attacking players flood this category), 10th for rounds in the 60s, 21st in bogey avoidance and 11th in scoring average. We could actually go on, but we feel that should be more than enough information on the fact this guy enjoys hitting low scores and on a track that warrants these rounds, Keegan could be the man.
Last year he finished T13 but did shoot 63 on the Saturday, which was the joint lowest round of the weekend. He wasn’t able to get off to a good start but if he can, then anything could happen.
Come on you loveable weirdo.
Jim Furyk (35/1 BetVictor)
We deliberated over Jimbo for a long time about whether he would be useful this week. We eventually decided that we will put our trust in him for one more week because his current and course form are too exceptional to ignore. He has never missed the cut here and has 3 top 10s in recent years, whilst he did finish T13 in 2012 when he shot a 72 on Saturday to scupper any chances of victory.
We did feel he hardly shows the urgency to find birdie after birdie, because he is stereotypically a plodder. However, his putting has been sublime recently and because his irons are so consistent, he could find birdies if he decides to turn up.
He has recorded 4 top 10s in a row and should have won the PGA but he made silly mistakes, whilst Dufner was just too good.
He lies in 1st for proximity to the hole and 27th in GIR. Some may find it surprising, but his scoring stats are better than you would initially think – 35th for rounds in the 60s, 13th for bogey avoidance and 18th in scoring average.
One more chance Jimbo.
Brandt Snedeker (45/1 StanJames)
For someone as classy as Snedeker, 45/1 seemed slightly outrageous and we just felt it was too big to avoid. He is a double winner this year and clearly one of the best in the world and this is a course that he has performed well at before.
He has recorded 4 top 10s in a row but in all of them had one average round which cost him any chance of a victory. We all know how low he can shoot when his game is on, mainly because he is so consistent tee to green and one of the best putters around – 6th in one-putt percentage and 4th in strokes gained putting. His form has not been impressive in the last 2 weeks admittedly; missing 2 cuts in a row is not something you want for a player you are backing in such a high-class field, but he seemed to be tired and not hugely bothered last Friday. He was getting into this tournament whatever the weather, so it just seemed like he was turning up because he had to. He is aware that this is a completely different situation and coming to a course he likes, it could be a blessing in disguise that he has had a few extra days off.
Obviously, when his game is on he can shoot as low as anyone – 12th in par 5 birdie or better, 8th in birdie average, 28th bogey avoidance and 10th scoring average. That is highly impressive
The bookies obviously love a bandwagon and they have completely forgotten about Sneds, but we haven’t and we trust him like we always do.
Ryan Moore (80/1 various)
Ryan Moore is a name that is thrown around the DownThe18th office many times, because there is a real liking for his abilities. He is just one of those players who can turn up on any type of course and perform outrageously, it is just a matter of getting on him when he does.
So why this week?
Because he finished T10 last year and should have been higher, were it not for a relatively poor weekend. And in 2011 he ended in the same position, again suffering on the Saturday and Sunday.
When you look at his recent form, he could be an interesting outsider because he hasn’t missed a cut in 7 tournaments and has shot a low score most weeks but hasn’t been able to produce it for 4 days. This is a frustrating aspect that could annoy us all, but he knows the course and performed well before, Moore could be the man if you want someone away from the main pack.
Matt Every (110/1 StanJames)
With all the big names turning up this week, it is unlikely outsiders will be in the mix, but, just like Moore, we found a little gem in Matt Every.
He has had 2 very good weeks in a row, T9 at the Barclays and T5 at the Wyndham Championship. A 72 on Friday ruined his chances at Liberty National, whilst he put 4 rounds in the 60s at Wyndham to finish impressively.
He may have only played here once (T35 finish) but his attacking nature could prove fruitful on a course that needs forward thinkers – 17th in going for the green, 44th proximity to the hole and 37th in one-putt percentage. Whilst he lies in 21st for rounds in the 60s and 13th for birdie average.
At the end of the day, we don’t mind backing outsiders like Every because not a lot of money needs to be staked and a lot of money can be won. He has ‘every’ chance of mixing it with the big boys as he has shown before and what a prospect he could be.
Quick Mention must go to Rory Sabbatini (80/1 various) who just missed out on our final 5 selections, but is an exciting prospect for this week because he has the game and scoring abilities to do wonders on this course – 2nd in birdie average, 50th scoring average, 3rd rounds in the 60s, 12th going for the green and 9th in GIR. He also came T6 here in 2006 plus his form has been very impressive in the last few weeks.