Scott Shapiro's Northern Trust preview
The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings tee it up this week in the first round of the playoffs. Golfers that perform well enough to remain in the Top 70 after Sunday will move on to the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois next Thursday.
Not only is there a massive payday to the player that wins the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, but there is plenty of money on the line this week at The Northern Trust. The event rotates between New York/New Jersey and Boston area courses with TPC Boston being this year’s host. This is the first time this configuration has been used for The Northern Trust, but there is plenty of course history to dig up at the Dell Technologies Championship, which took place at TPC Boston from 2003 to 2018.
The course is a Par 71 at 7342 yards with bentgrass greens. Players will need to score on the easy Par 5’s, have both length and accuracy off the tee, be strong with their long iron play, and get hot with the flatstick if they want to be near the top of the leaderboard at the end of the four-day event. I will lean on players that rank high in strokes gained approach, strokes gained tee-to green, birdies or better gained, and putt well enough on bentgrass to make some big ones on Sunday afternoon.
The Northern Trust 2020 - Winner
Thu, August 20 2020, 11:20 AM
Justin Thomas (+1200)
It is not often that I endorse one of the favorites in a full field PGA event, but the No. 2 ranked player in the world rates out so well for the Northern Trust that he is impossible to overlook.
Thomas finished a disappointing 37th two weeks ago at the PGA Championship, but he struck the ball just fine. He just could not drop a putt. The 27-year-old brings great overall form into the start of the playoffs. He won the WGC-Mexico three weeks ago and lost in a playoff to Colin Morikawa at the Workday Charity Open in mid-July.
The Kentucky native ranks second in the field over his last 24 rounds in strokes gained approach, first in strokes gained tee-to-green, and 10th in birdies or better gained. His game fits this course perfectly evidenced by his win at in the Dell Technologies in 2017. Look for J.T to play great this week in Beantown en route to his second career FedEx Cup Championship.
Daniel Berger (+3500)
The Florida State alum put himself in position as my top choice at the PGA Championship earlier this month, but lacked the firepower over the weekend to notch his first career major. Like most of the world’s best, he took last week off to rest up for the playoffs and should be ready for a strong showing in Boston.
Berger lacks a Top 10 finish in his four tries at this configuration, but still fits this course extremely well. The three-time winner on the PGA Tour ranks third in the field over his last 24 rounds in strokes gained approach, strokes gained tee-to-green, and birdies or better gained. He offers solid value at his current price in the BetAmerica outright market.
Matthew Wolff (+5000)
Colin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland have received more attention in their first full year on the PGA tour, but Wolff has proven he deserves to be included as one of the game’s rising young stars. The 21-year-old won the 3M Open in 2019, but lacked consistency until recently where has rattled off four Top 25 finishes over his last six events.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy ranks in the Top 10 in the field in driving distance, strokes gained off the tee, and birdies or better gained over his last 24 rounds, and could have won the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park if he was just average with the putter. If he can replicate that effort where he gained over 14 strokes tee-to-green he is capable of earning his second lifetime win on the tour.