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Dell Technologies Preview

 

So it's down to 100 starters for this week's battle of attrition at the Dell Technologies Championship and after Labour Day Monday when this second of the four FedEx Cup playoffs traditionally ends, only 70 players will still be standing.

Francesco Molinari and Rickie Fowler are the only two qualifiers who won't be teeing off at TPC Boston on Friday.

Italy's 2018 standout of European golf is taking a well-earned rest and Fowler is nursing an oblique injury, but sitting as they are at a respective 13th and 22nd in the FedExCup standings, both are certain of being among the 70 who will advance to next week's third playoff, the BMW Championship, at Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

World No 3 Justin Thomas, last year's FedEx Cup champion, is also this week's defending champion and it has clearly had something to do with the fact that the British online sports bookmakers see him as being second only to World No 1 Dustin Johnson as he sets out to become the first man since the start of the FedEx Cup in 2007 to win the Dell Technologies title back-to-back.

Johnson sits atop their list at 17/2 followed by Thomas at 10/1. Brooks Koepke, the season's only double major winner, and current World No 2 is at 12/1, Jason Day at 14/1, Rory McIlroy at 16/1 and Tiger Woods at 201/1.

In a field that, with the exception of Molinari and Fowler, includes all the big brass of world golf, I don't agree with the bookies giving better odds to Day, McIlroy and Woods than to Rose, Spieth and Rahm, if only because the former three have tended to have more brittle moments this season than the latter three, but not everyone will agree with this view.

Indeed the list of potential winners in this week's field is so long, its possible that the winner won't even come from the top 20 World ranked players, never mind the top 10.

Nobody would be too surprised to see someone like Woods, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Rafael Cabrera Bello or Ian Poulter come through and win and yet all of them are currently outside the top 20.

And what about the super solid American upstart Tony Finau. He has only won once on the PGA Tour, this in Peurto Rico, but he's been getting closer and closer every week to bigger and better wins and on the strength of this, has managed to climb all the way up to No 18 in the rankings.

A win for him in any of the remaining three playoff events would certainly come as less of a surprise than Xander Schauffele's victory in last year's Tour Championship, the 4th and final event in the FedEx playoff series.

Schauffele is currently ranked at No 21, but the bookies only see him as a 90/1 shot as opposed to the 28/1 odds they have put on Finau.

Will TPC Boston, a par-71, 7,342-yard course that has been averaging +0.343 strokes to par, have any influence on who wins and who loses.

The answer is maybe. Statistics tell us that, as is the case at Augusta National, the experience of playing the course is key.

When Thomas won last year he was only 24, but he had already played it twice before and it may be significant that of all the winners since Adam Scott's triumph in the inaugural event at TPC Boston in 2003, Phil Mickelson is the only winner who was able to triumph in his first visit.

This could cut down on the possibility of a first-timer winning again, but in a field as strong as this one, finding a winner is never going to be easy.

I am certainly sticking out my neck in saying that Brooks Koepke, with the BMT that brought him his back-to-back victory in the US Open this year and then again in the final major of the year, the PGA Championship, along with the confidence he will bring to TPC Boston from last week's Northern Trust where he finished 8th after leading at the halfway stage and topped the field in driving distance, strokes gained off-the-tee and par-5 scoring, will strengthen his chances of getting 2018 Player of the Year Award by capturing another important championship.

LEADING ODDS
(Tuesday a.m. Aug 28, 2018)

Dustin Johnson 17/2
Justin Thomas 10/1
Brooks Koepka 12/1
Jason Day 14/1
Rory McIlroy 16/1
Tiger Woods 20/1
Jordan Spieth 22/1
Jon Rahm 22/1
Adam Scott 25/1
Justin Rose 25/1
Tony Finau 28/1
Patrick Cantlay 30/1
Tommy Fleetwood 33/1
Henrik Stenson 33/1
Bryson Dechambeau 35/1
Patrick Reed 35/1
Hideki Matsuyama 35/1
Webb Simpson 40/1
Billy Horschel 50/1
Phil Mickelson 50/1
Paul Casey 60/1.

NOTE: For all the latest odds go to oddschecker.com/golf/dell-technologies-championship/winner.

WORLD RANKINGS TOP 20
(See under headings: Latest Position, Last Week's Position, Name, Country, and points)

1 1 Dustin Johnson (USA) 10.0967
2 2 Brooks Koepka (USA) 10.0049
3 3 Justin Thomas (USA) 9.6025
4 4 Justin Rose (ENG) 8.4140
5 5 Jon Rahm (ESP) 7.5937
6 6 Francesco Molinari (ITA) 7.2786
7 7 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 6.8997
8 9 Rickie Fowler (USA) 6.6272
9 8 Jordan Spieth (USA) 6.5864
10 10 Jason Day (AUS) 6.3841
11 11 Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 6.0030
12 21 Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 5.5312
13 12 Patrick Reed (USA) 5.2770
14 14 Bubba Watson (USA) 5.1169
15 13 Alex Noren (SWE) 5.0589
16 15 Paul Casey (ENG) 4.7910
17 16 Webb Simpson (USA) 4.6248
18 30 Tony Finau (USA) 4.4690
19 20 Hideki Matsuyama (JAP)4.3902
20 17 Xander Schauffele (USA) 4.3516.

For betting odds visit BetWay

Neville Leck

Written by neville@golfweather.com.