Following Patrick Cantlay’s victory at the BMW Championship, the stage is now set for the top-30 players in the FedEx Cup standings to compete at East Lake Golf Club (par 70, 7,346 yards, Bermuda greens) in Atlanta, Georgia this week for the TOUR Championship, which pays out a whopping $18 Million to first place. East Lake was designed by the great Donald Ross and has been the only course to host the TOUR Championship since 2004.
East Lake is a classic Ross design with narrow fairways and lightning-fast greens. As we saw last season, with two totally opposite golfers in terms of driving distance in Jon Rahm and Kevin Na lead the field in overall scoring by three-shots regardless of starting position, any length of golfer can contend at East Lake. However, both these players showed the importance of targeting world-class ball strikers and mistake free players at this venue. For the event, both Na and Rahm finish inside the top-five in SGT2G and they also ranked first and second in bogey avoidance, respectively. Furthermore, as expected with a par 70, Na and Rahm dominated as par four scorers, finishing in a tie for the most strokes gained on the par fours at East Lake.
For the fourth consecutive season, the TOUR Championship will begin with each golfer starting with a score based on their position in the FedEx Cup standings. Below, I have provided each player and their starting score:
-10: Scottie Scheffler
-8: Patrick Cantlay
-7: Will Zalatoris
-6: Xander Schauffele
-5: Sam Burns
-4: Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Sungjae Im, Sepp Straka
-3: Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Scott Stallings, Cameron Young, Matthew Fitzpatrick
-2: Max Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, Viktor Hovland
-1: Collin Morikawa, Corey Conners, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Tom Hoge
Even: Adam Scott, J.T. Poston, Aaron Wise, K.H. Lee, Sahtih Theegala
For two years running, we have seen the player with the best opening position go on to win the TOUR Championship. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean we need to prioritize Scheffler, but attacking the players with the best starting position obviously has a ton of merit and to afford these studs, we must seek out some cheap players that are going to outperform their soft salaries. So, without further ado, I present to you four of my favorite DraftKings value plays for the TOUR Championship, that all cost under $7.5K.
Scott Stalings ($7,400) – Stallings will begin this week with a three-shot advantage and while this will be the veteran’s first attempt at East Lake, his game suits this par 70 very well. Just this past week at the BMW Championship, Stallings was extremely close to his first PGA TOUR win, finishing runner-up to Patrick Cantlay by only one stroke. Stallings’ tremendous ball striking was on full display at Wilmington CC, ranking third in SGT2G for the event, only trailing Cantlay and Rory McIlroy. Additionally, Stallings ranked seventh in bogey avoidance and fourth in par-4 efficiency at the BMW Championship. The 37-year-old has now posted a T13 or better in five of his last six starts, while gaining at least six strokes from T2G during all of these high finishes. Notably, two of these excellent showings came at Ross designed venues. At this low of a salary, you can’t go wrong with Stallings this week.
Sepp Straka ($7,200) – After losing in a playoff to Will Zalatoris at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Straka posted a solid T28 at the BMW Championship, including consecutive 3-under-par 68s to close out the tournament. The 29-year-old produced positive strokes from T2G in both of these last two starts and will now make his debut at East Lake this week with a four-stroke advantage to open the event. Of all the players starting this week at -4 or better, Straka is the cheapest by a significant $1.9K. Combine this factor with his encouraging form, and Straka is a great value play for this season finale, that should come with depressed ownership, given his lack of name value in this star studded field.
Adam Scott ($6,600) – Despite beginning this week at even par, Scott is one of the best values available for this playoff finale. The Aussie has been outstanding, carding back-to-back T5 finishes to start the playoffs, while gaining strokes from T2G and with his flat stick at both these events. Scott will now look to carry this momentum over to East Lake, where he owns an incredible resume. Scott won the 2006 TOUR Championship at this par 70, which is just one of his six top-10 finishes in 11 appearances at East Lake. Scott is a man on a mission right now and anything less than a top 15 would be a disappointment for the savvy veteran in this type of form.
Aaron Wise ($5,400) - Wise has all the tools to succeed at East Lake. This season, the 26-year-old ranks inside the top 25 in SGT2G, par-4 performance and bogey avoidance. Wise travels to Atlanta this week with eight finishes of T31 or better in his last 11 starts, most recently with a T15 last week at the BMW Championship. Not only did Wise gain strokes in every major category outside of around the greens at Wilmington CC, he finished in a tie for the least bogeys recorded at the playoff stop. Wise ranks 11th in total strokes gained when we compare this stacked field’s last 50 rounds at no-cut tournaments and is an elite punt play priced only $400 off the minimum this week.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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