Deutsche Bank Championship
Defending Champ: Chris Kirk
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NOTE: With football starting, this will be my final full-length golf preview for 2015. You can find the standard Fantasy Golf picks in the DraftKings preview column for the BMW and TOUR Championship.
Prepared to hear that annoying Dropkick Murphy’s song on repeat throughout the long weekend? Well you better be, because leg two of the FedExCup is teeing off in Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The remaining top 100 players in the FedExCup standings are eligible to be in the field at TPC Boston and, for the moment, all be will lacing up the spikes, constantly living in fear of their balls being tampered with. Except Sergio Garcia. For the second straight playoff event, Sergio is taking a pass. Sitting 43rd in the FedExCup standings, Garcia doesn’t technically need to play at the DBC, but it’s hindering his chances of getting into the TOUR Championship. He’ll need a lofty showing at the BMW Championship to gain enough points to crack the Top 30 for East Lake.
Who will you see in Boston? Well, there wasn’t a seismic standings shift in the post-Barclays world; Jason Dufner, Camilo Villegas, Spencer Levin, Hudson Swafford, Luke Donald, Carlos Ortiz, Mark Wilson, Johnson Wagner and Zac Blair weaseled their way inside the Top 100 with strong showings at Plainfield. Rory McIlroy and Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen will both be back on the links after skipping last week opening playoff event as well. Why did they boycott the first playoff event? My guess: It was in New Jersey. Enough said.
Outside of that, all you really need to know is that the regular T70 and ties make the cut. Meaning, at least 71% of the field will play the weekend. So, for DFS purposes, having six of six make it through the cutline won’t be as important as having a bunch of players T15 or better. And, unless the winner is some scrub, not having the champion will take you out of running for top spot in most GPPs.
Oh, with Labor Day upcoming, the Deutsche Bank Championship starts Friday and ends Monday, so adjust your schedule accordingly.
Deutsche Bank Championship: Key Stats
While the Barclays and BMW Championship use a rotation of courses, the Deutsche Bank Championship has been played at TPC Boston since 2003. And, after we all put too much stock into a small sample (Three Rounds) from Plainfield and looked incredibly stupid, it’s nice to have over a decade worth of data to draw from. The six toughest Par 4s fall between 450-500 yards. Now, it’s not imperative that players dominate from this distance, however it is essential not being a disaster from this range. With the winning score likely falling between -15 and -20, and the Par 5s and two short Par 4s ripe for scoring, treading water on the longer Par 4s is fine. Just don’t gag it away.
Still, these key stats are secondary to what matters; they’re additional numbers to help build a case for your picks. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green will reveal the
Sunday Monday leaderboard. Expect to a see a mishmash of long drivers, accuracy players and long iron stalwarts in contention, but target the ones near the top of SG: T2G totals.
There are 57 bunkers and four water hazards spread throughout TPC Boston, and the drainage conditions have been described as “excellent.” Legit! Also, Canada Geese are some of the many wildlife players and patrons will encounter on the layout. But don’t tell Scott Walker. He’ll make sure that wall goes up as quickly as possible.
Deutsche Bank Championship: Picks
Jason Dufner & Rory McIlroy – Not having 2013 champ Henrik Stenson is probably a pretty stupid idea, but, sometimes, I also like to live dangerously. So, I’ll roll with Jason Dufner over the Swede, pray his recent hot form persists, and create a massive points separation in the standings. Dufner has a string of disastrous final rounds recently (75, 73, 77, 74, 70, 75), yet that kind of works in our favor, because it’s clouding how consistent his play has been outside of his final day jitters. Duff man hasn’t missed a cut since May and returns to a course where he’s been sneaky good over the years. In five starts at TPC Boston since 2009, Dufner owns a pair of T10s and only one finish worse than T18 (T31 in 2011). If his sizzling iron proximity can last through all four days, and his putter doesn’t complete abandon him, Dufner will make a run from the back of the pack. How good is Rory McIlroy? He took the week off and almost regained his number one world ranking. Impressive. A lot of Fantasy gamers will be concerned with his ankle injury and play wait-and-see. I’m not going to worry about Rory’s ankle, though. No, I’ll concern myself with getting the 2012 champion (T5 last year) and actual best player in the world – rankings be damned – into my lineup.
A-List Alternates: Henrik Stenson & Brooks Koepka
Jason Day & Jordan Speith – Tied at four wins a piece in 2015, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth can clinch the player of the year award with another victory over the final three events. You’ll want to have them when they’re trying.
Phil Mickelson & Hideki Matsuyama – Despite his name cache, Phil Mickelson is no longer an elite golfer. However Lefty has sustained consistency at high scoring courses where he’s experienced success in the past. TPC Boston is one of those courses. Since winning on this site in 2007, Phil has never failed to play the weekend and his three lifetime T10s are tied for most in event history with Day, Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk. And yes, Mickelson’s no longer the complete player he once was, but he’s still 10th in birdie average for the year, eighth in Par 5 birdies or better and 28th in Par 4 birdies or better. Hideki Matsuyama is currently in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He missed his first cut of the year at the Wyndham and hasn’t notched a T10 since the Memorial in early June. All that means is he’ll be off the collective’s radar. Don’t make that mistake. Although Matsuyama only finished T13 at the Barclays, he fired all four rounds in the 60s and finished second in the field in birdies (21). At a significantly easier course this week, expect the world’s 17th ranked player to go very, very low.
B-List Alternates: Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk, Brandt Snedeker & Dustin Johnson
Tony Finau & Jason Bohn – There’s no player I’m higher on this week than Tony Finau. Which means he’s likely HEXED now. My apologies, Tony. But, everything points to a breakthrough week for the rookie. Finau’s made 12 of his last 13 cuts, which is nice, but it’s his consistency that sticks out. Of the 12 events where he played the weekend, Finau has only finished outside the top 25 once. That’s nuts. And now, while a first timer, heads to a course that is perfectly tailored to his skill set. Finau’s among the elite in SG: T2G (29th) and birdie average (7th), but it’s his work in the peripheral key stats that separates him from the pack: Par 5 Birdies or Better (17th) and Par 4 efficiency 450-500 (5th). Plus, his eighth ranked driving distance should help him squeeze out some extra scoring on the two short Par 4s. Jason Bohn may have the exact opposite style Finau, but his results are eerily similar. Bohn has four T15s in his last five starts (including a T9 last week at The Barclays), and rates highly in the key Par 4 range (17th) despite a lack of distance off the tee. His elevated birdie rate (11th) and GIR% (22nd) is fueled by one of the best combinations of SG: T2G (34th), SG: Putting (27th) and ungodly proximity on approaches (2nd). Just because Bohn isn’t a recognizable name, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat him as one of the premiere plays of the week.
C-List Alternates: Justin Thomas & Louis Oosthuizen