2020 Tour Championship final round preview

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We have finally made it to the final day of the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season. The 30 golfers who made their way to East Lake will hit the course for one last round and on the line, for this year’s Labor Day Monday will be the FedEx Cup and the $15 million bonus that comes with it. The event started with staggered scoring giving a scoring edge to gofers who came in at the top of the season-long standings but as we head into the final round there is no more adjusted scoring. No more gimmicks or tricks. Just a leaderboard and a handful of golfers looking for a solid round to win them the title. Below is the live leaderboard after three rounds.

1D. Johnson-19
T2X. Schauffele-14
T2J. Thomas-14
4J. Rahm-13
5C. Morikawa-12
T6S.J. Im-10
T6D. Berger-10
8S. Scheffler-9
T9T. Hatton-8
T9B. Todd-8
T9R. McIlroy-8
Leader board

We discussed in the outrights preview article this week that it was definitely a possible outcome for Dustin Johnson to lap the field and run away with the title. Well, he appeared to make an effort to do just that as he shot a round of 64 on Sunday to hold off a duo of golfers making a charge and take a five-shot lead into the final round. We will still dive into the live stats to see if we can find some value but this tournament is all but over with DJ dialed in and looking untouchable.

Live stats summary

When looking to place bets on single round matchups or live outrights we are typically looking at golfers who have been hitting the ball well but can’t get a putt to drop. Below are the leaders in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green compared to their current Strokes Gained: Putting numbers.

PlayerSG: T2GSG: P
Justin Thomas128
Scottie Scheffler223
Dustin Johnson311
Collin Morikawa416
Cameron Champ530
Daniel Berger619
Sungjae Im718
Viktor Hovland821
Patrick Reed924
Jon Rahm1013
Tony Finau1112
Bryson DeChambeau1229
Harris English1325
Abraham Ancer148
Xander Schauffele151
Hideki Matsuyama1617
Webb Simpson1726
Tyrrell Hatton185
Rory McIlroy1910
Brendon Todd207
Stats summary

Final round storylines

There are a handful of storylines in play for Monday’s final round. While it looks like Dustin Johnson has the FedEx Cup locked up, if he falters early it does bring a number of golfers back into play. Let’s take a look at some of the key players on the leaderboard and see what is at stake for them tomorrow. 

Dustin Johnson

We already mentioned how in control he has been so far this week. He started the tournament with a two-shot lead and has not looked back. There was a moment during the third round that Justin Thomas got within one shot but DJ quickly put that to rest and finished his last seven holes in 3-under par. He is 3rd in the field in strokes gained: tee to green and 2nd in total strokes gained. He has been 11th so far putting which leads to even more room for positive regression tomorrow. 

The world’s number one golfer has won the US Open, a number of WGCs, and has 21 total wins in his career. A FedEx Cup would be a great addition to an already hall of fame worthy career and I fully expect to see that happen tomorrow.

Justin Thomas

If anyone in the field has a legitimate shot at making a charge at DJ tomorrow it is most likely Justin Thomas. The 2017 FedEx Cup champion starts his final round five shots behind the leader. From a ball striking stand point, no one in his field has been better than JT. He is 1st in tee-to-green, 4th in approach, and 3rd in total strokes gained. Unfortunately he sits in 28th out of the 30 golfers in putting and ultimately that may keep him from claiming his 2nd FedEx Cup. 

He began the event three shots back with outright odds of +600. He now finds himself five shots back with live odds of +1000 to win. If you are looking for a little action tomorrow and want to take a stab at someone not named Dustin, Justin Thomas pans out as the best option. He will be paired with Jon Rahm and I will be taking Thomas in that head-to-head matchup as well.

Xander Schauffele

The former winner of the Tour Championship definitely feels comfortable playing at East Lake. Since 2017, Xander leads all golfers in the following stats at this course: Birdies or better, total rounds under par, score to par, and scoring average. He is also leading the field this week in total birdies made. Xander is known for bringing his A-game at premier events. He is typically near the top of the leaderboard at majors, he has won a WGC, and as mentioned, he won the 2017 Tour Championship. An impressive resume would be complete with a FedEx Cup title. 

He will certainly have some ground to make up tomorrow but if course history has anything to do with it, Xander may be able to give it a run. He will be in the final group with Johson when they tee off so if DJ does start slow, Xander will have the opportunity to put the pressure on and I expect him to come out swinging aggressively with it all on the line. He is currently +1300 to win the event and although he is tied with Thomas, his odds are slightly better so they may be seen as some value if looking for a golfer to climb the leaderboard and make a run at the title. 

I will also be taking Xander in what I hope to be a plus money matchup against DJ. Although I expect Johnson to win the event, I don’t expect him to win by five shots and Xander only needs to best him by one tomorrow to pay off the head-to-head bet.

Jon Rahm

Coming off of a victory at the BMW Championship by sinking a 66-foot putt on the first playoff hole, the World’s number 2 golfer finds himself back near the top of the leaderboard. He started the week in 2nd place, two shots off the lead but since then has seen Thomas and Schauffele both pass him and has fallen to 4th, six shots behind. Although this seems like too large of a gap to make up, we have seen crazier things happen. Just last week Rahm went into the weekend needing to make up the same six shot margain over a two-day stretch and pulled off that exact feat. So far this week, he has been playing good but not great golf. He finds himself around 10th in most strokes gained categories which is what has led him to fall to 4th on the leaderboard.

Jon Rahm is often accused of not being able to win in big events but a comeback tomorrow would certainly quiet those critics. A young career that has already seen him as the #1 golfer in the world would look a lot better with a FedEx Cup attached to it. His live odds are going off at +2000. A lot will have to happen early to get him back in the mix but it is not out of the realm of possibility and his odds are much longer than JT or Schauffele. I don’t see it happening but if you liked Rahm before the event, there could be value to find at the 20/1 number.

Matchups to consider

There are a number of golfers further down the leaderboard who are no longer in serious contention to win the cup but have still been showing signs of good form. We will do our best to identify a few of them that could be appealing for targeting in their given head-to-head matchups for the final round and may also make for great targets in a final round daily fantasy tournament.

Scottie Scheffler

Coming off a round of 59 a couple weeks ago, a slow start took him out of contention in Chicago but he is back playing well here at East Lake. Scheffler finds himself in 8th place heading into the final round and has gotten there off of elite ball striking. He ranks 1st in the field in approach and 2nd in tee-to-green. Scottie currently sits 23rd in putting and we know that is the exact type of golfer we are looking to target in matchups; solid ball striking but inconsistent putting. He’s actually gained strokes putting in two of his past three events and I expect that trend to continue into tomorrow’s round. 

Scottie Scheffler31519223
Strokes gained Scottie Scheffler

Cameron Champ

It’s no surprise that Champ currently leads the event in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. He is consistently one of the top drivers of the ball on tour averaging 322 yards for the season which is good enough for 2nd out of all PGA Tour golfers. His short game needs improvement if he ever wants to make the jump to being on the elite level but his ball striking has been good enough to carry him to East Lake as one of the last 30 golfers standing. With how this event has played to this point, driving has been crucial and I don’t see that changing tomorrow. The downside? He is dead last in putting and near the bottom in scrambling. If Champ can get even a few putts to drop he is certainly someone I am looking to target on Monday. Paired with Kevin Na tomorrow, I will be taking the Champ side of this matchup.

Cameron Champ211828530
Strokes gained Cameron Champ

Daniel Berger

One of the hottest golfers this summer has certainly caught the attention of the golf world with his play over the past few months. Seven of his last ten starts have come with finishes of 9th or better and that has led him all the way to East Lake for the tour’s final event. He was one of the golfers to keep a close eye on this week and currently sits in a tie for 6th. Surprisingly, this is the first event in 2020 that he has actually lost strokes off-the-tee. I don’t expect that to continue tomorrow and if he flips that trend and combines it with the 2.6 strokes he is currently gaining on approach, he could be in store for a nice final round. He has a tough matchup being paired with Collin Morikawa tomorrow but I actually prefer the Berger side at what will most likely be plus money. 

Daniel Berger62065619
Strokes gained Daniel Berger
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