Golf betting tips: Tour Championship final round
2pts win Jon Rahmn to win the Tour Championship at 7/5 (General)
2pts Sergio Garcia to beat Cameron Smith in two-ball (1755 BST) at 23/20 (BetFred)
As regular followers of the PGA Tour will know, in 2019 the Tour Championship implemented a handicapping system which sees the player who arrived at East Lake in the lead in the Fedex Cup start the final event on a 10-under total. All of the other 30 participants are then given a starting score between 10-under and level based on their top-30 status.
The player who found themselves in the box seat coming into this week on the 10-under number was, courtesy of his win at the BMW Championship, Patrick Cantlay, and similarly to last year when Dustin Johnson took home the spoils Cantlay has nursed his position through the first three days to maintain his lead heading into the final round.
With Johnson having strolled to a fairly serene victory last year one would have to think that if Cantlay does the same today it might start to dawn on the powers that be at PGA Tour HQ that giving in principal, the best, in-form player in the field, a head start in their final event, does not make for a great spectacle and we could well start to see some talk of further tinkering with the format.
So with Cantlay starting today on 20-under, two clear of his nearest challenger JON RAHM, who starts on 18-under and five clear of the only other realistic contender, Justin Thomas, on 15-under, what are the chances that we get the thrilling conclusion to the event that Jay Monahan and co will be secretly hoping for?
While Thomas will fancy his chances of making a charge, he will be reliant on help from the front two, which I just don’t see them both giving him, so I am seeing this as a two-horse race. However, fortunately for the tour my suspicion is that despite this there is some life in the event yet.
Firstly, unlike Johnson last year, Cantlay – class act as he is – is not the undisputed world number one, with that honour of course currently being held by the man who will keep him company for the second day running, Rahm, and with the Spaniard having outscored Cantlay in real terms this week, 12-under to 10-under, he is clearly playing the marginally better golf.
If we then look at Cantlay’s numbers for the week we will see that having played solidly from tee to green for the first two days he struggled with his approach play on Saturday and his putter, his big weapon last week in Baltimore, which had not been firing on Thursday or Friday here, came to his rescue on several occasions.
Cantlay has basically been at the top of the leaderboard for eight straight rounds now and you would have to think that mental fatigue will be starting to set in. Granted $15 million is a great motivation to put tiredness to one side but my hunch is that the pressure of the position he is in, one that is certainly new to him, will take its toll and if the putter doesn’t fire today as it did yesterday the American could well struggle.
Rahm, it should be said, has also struggled with his approach play for the past couple of days and has also had to rely on the flat stick on occasions, but he just looks that bit sharper to me, something reflected in their ‘real scores’ of course.
Rahm hasn’t quite had his best stuff so far in the play-offs. However, it may just be that he has timed his run to perfection and similarly to Johnson last year as the man at the top of the game it seems his destiny to win this. I am happy to side with him at the 6/4 available.
Looking at today’s two-balls and one advantage to us punters of the handicap system is that you have players playing together on Sunday who in normal circumstances you would in theory be expecting to be playing to a comparable standard based on their similar starting score, however in this situation they are of course not.
A perfect example of this is the pairing of SERGIO GARCIA and Cameron Smith who tee off together at 12.55pm local time and it is the Spaniard who has so far outscored his opponent today by five shots, that I will turn to for the second week running to do us a favour.
Smith started the week in fifth place on 5-under and with a legitimate shot at the trophy however after two solid but unspectacular rounds of 68 the wheels came off with a 73 on Saturday. The Aussie has struggled with his normally excellent putter over the last couple of days and he is ranked in the bottom half of all key stats in the field for the week bar one.
Having been playing some great stuff prior to his play off loss at the Northern Trust Smith produced a lacklustre effort at the BMW last week and to me he looks pretty much done for the season.
Garcia, on the other hand, has peaked at just the right time to firstly make the Tour Championship and, secondly, to surely ensure he will imminently be getting a call from Captain Harrington and after two unspectacular opening days he stepped on the gas on Saturday with a round of 66.
The Spaniard leads the field off the tee for the week so far and the putter, which really held him back on Thursday has improved over the past couple of days.
Garcia you would think will want to sign off on a really positive note before the expected trip to Whistling Straits and he looks the value to me as the outsider of the two.
Published at 1000 BST on 05/09/21