And then there were 125.
The 2015 FedEx Playoffs tee off at Planfield Country Club, New Jersey tomorrow as the race for golf’s most lucrative prize enters its final four week phase at The Barclays.
The course welcomes back the event it hosted in 2011, when Dustin Johnson shot a final round 65 to hold off compatriot Matt Kuchar in the rain shortened event. There’s no danger of a 54 hole finish this year, however, with the course playing firm and dry.
My top 5 picks for the week will be followed by three outside chances.
The Top Five
1. Jordan Spieth – 11/2
An obvious pick, I know, but the 22 year old really has taken his putting to another level over the past few months. The greens here are quick and undulating and Spieth’s finesse won’t just enable him to pick up shots against the course, he’ll be gaining on the field. It’s not one of the longest tracks on tour which reduces the advantages of guys like Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. Having said that…
2. Dustin Johnson – 10/1
DJ has oozed class this season and was desperately unlucky not to win the U.S. PGA at Whistling Straits a couple of weeks ago. Two eagles on his Sunday back 9 weren’t enough after he quadruple bogeyed the 1st hole of his final round. You have to fancy the guy who’s top of the driving distance charts to be a strong contender at a course where he has good memories.
3. Brooks Koepka – 25/1
Spieth and Jason Day aside there’s no form book hotter than that of Brooks Koepka’s. The European Tour graduate hits it a mile and is a dab hand on the greens too. Hasn’t finished outside the top-20 in his last seven events, a run which dates back to early June and takes in three major championships and one WGC. Looked comfortable playing with Tiger and the crowds last week; one hopes he can carry that big time experience into New Jersey this time around.
4. Charl Schwartzel – 50/1
The South African has had a hit and miss season consisting predominantly of the latter on the greens. Putted a lot better last week after changing the flat stick and recorded a 3rd place finish. A bit risky but worth a punt in my eyes.
5. Brand Snedeker – 33/1
Sneds has been around for a while now and I fancy him to excel on what is a classic quick, hard, American golf track. When he’s got the putter hot there really aren’t many who can get close to him. Those days have been, admittedly, fewer and further between recently but he’s already won this season and the 34 year old with a bad taste in head wear finished 3rd here back in 2011. 33/1 looks a steal. Shot the course record at Wyndham last week so you know the game’s in there somewhere.
The Outsiders – the guys with odds of 100/1 or more.
1. Kevin Kisner – 125/1 – started the year hot but has tailed off a bit since. Hoping he can reproduce here on a course which should suit him.
2. Chris Kirk – 150/1 – been out for a while with injury so 150/1 is a complete punt by the bookies. Second in the final standings last year. Will be interesting to see how he goes this week.
3. Morgan Hoffman – 200/1 – still young, hits it almost DJ length off the tee and had a great run in The Playoffs last year: crept in at #124 but played some great stuff and made his way into the season ending TOUR Championship. Finished a very respectable #26.