The 2018 Dell Tech Championship preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
Bryson!!!!!! So close and yet so on holiday. Your correspondent decided to leave the Northern Trust out of the equation while sunning his sorry butt in Sicily – and of course he only trotted up. Worse Keegan Bradley would also have been in the mix though he kindly, and bizarrely, imploded on the front nine on Sunday at the Northern Trust.
Event two of the Fed Ex series heads to Boston for the Dell Technologies Championships at TPC Boston that begs to be overpowered. Queue Rory, Brooks, Dustbin etc.
TPC Boston is a Par 71 running at a tad over 7,340 with 3 par 5’s all in reach. Unsurprisingly the course yields a ton of birdies and eagles and low scores are the norm. In the last eight running’s 15 under is the equal worst winning score with 22 under posted twice. The aspiring winner better not shoot over par in any round as this won’t get it done particularly this year given the area has had twice the average July / August rainfall – so soft conditions are certain.
A torrent of birdies and eagles looks assured so the winner will be one who not only does this but also based on past performances scrambles when they do miss the greens. The average scrambling rank of the winner over the last eight years is 10 – ranks such as 1st (twice), 2nd, 3rd and 4th being somewhat skewed by Charley Hoffman’s 22nd and Rory’s 41st. So scrambling is critical.
Putting plays its part no doubt and with Bentgrass greens the usual suspects come to the fore – as in those who’ve had success. Rose and Rory lead with Johnson (Zach) and Jordan leading the next pack of Jase, Dustbin, Simpson, Blubba and Tiger.
With 100 going in and only 70 emerging for round three of the series there will be many sub plots but do we really care when in pursuit of a winner – or a decent each way return?
The usual suspects head the market with their undoubted credentials and as usual any one of them could emerge victorious. Where we might normally have looked amongst our stable we might have to stay away from one this week. I refer of course to Bryson whose price reflects his win and he may back up but we can’t be on him at the price. Keegan is trending and forgive him his bizarre front nine on Sunday and he looks a serious prospect. I suspect he was chasing too hard trying to run down DeChambeau.
Dustbin heads the market and is close to losing his number one ranking to Koepka who is flying. How good he’s playing is measured by the fact he’s so close to Dustbin who’s form has dipped a little but still contains two wins and two 3rd’s in his last eight starts. Justin Thomas is playing his best most consistent golf for some time and won here last year. Jase loves it round here without ever winning but at the top of the market his recent form looks the weakest. Tiger you can’t write off and he’s desperate to make the team for the Ryder Cup but his putter went south last week and given he hasn’t played a full schedule for years I suspect he’s just going to the well too often. Jordan talks about being close and then falters, comes back hard, then falters. It’s called golf and while he has a decent record here his overall recent form doesn’t appeal. Rose seems also to have gone a little off the boil and has a very mixed record at TPC Boston but as we know he loves these Bentgrass greens. Scott has finally found his putting with what looks to me to be a dubious action given the rules – whatever – it’s starting to work – and he has a stack of top tens around this track.
Rory McIlrory 2 pts e/w at 16/1
Keegan Bradley 1pt e/w at 100/1
Tyrrell Hatton 1pt e/w at 66/1
Aaron Wise 1pt e/w at 70/1
Rorywill win for us one day. Are we foolish for keeping the faith? I don’t think so. Still having a good season on the greens despite the visual evidence Rory also happens to love TPC Boston with two wins and a 5th in seven starts. He’s no lay down at TPC Boston – no one ever is anywhere – but the course suits him and a soft version looks set up for him to destroy the place. Across the board positive core stats once again illustrate that so many parts of his game are in place that he must contend. One stat – his overall putting average at 1.5 dead ranks him 16th on tour. He doesn’t look the 16th best putter on tour granted but he does hit it miles and hit’s greens and scores. That scoring is built this season on the aforementioned scrambling category where he sits 2nd. He’s never just been a monster off the tee. A lowly 50th at the PGA he comes here refreshed after three weeks off and at 16/1 makes for a compelling headline wager.
Tyrell Hatton is another we will go back to for more sultanas. Previously: “He didn’t set the world on fire at the WGC with a T28 but he hardly disgraced himself either. Ranked the 25th best player on the planet he drove it badly at Firestone and was forever scrambling. So a leap of faith is required that he’ll have a good week off the tee and can then bring his competitiveness to the fore on the greens. T6 at the US Open and with a great record in quality fields the Englishman wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he contended here. Plus we know he can really putt.” As with Keegan this guy can score and a breakthrough wouldn’t surprise in the slightest. Like Keegan he’s thrown in some low scores recently – two 64’s with a worst last 4 events score of 73 and an average of 68.75 – same as Keegan. A bit bonkers but also capable of really low scores.
Keegan Bradley was given the Claude Rains treatment by TV last week when he went seven over the front nine on Sunday. Trying to chase down DeChambeau after his epic Saturday round didn’t pay off and he was actually under par deep into the back nine. He’s not been in contention for a while and who could blame him for his approach high on confidence, as he must have been post his 62 on Saturday? As mentioned previously….a 2nd, 4th and fifth this season represent this three time tour winners’ best season since 2014. While his overall strokes gained putting figure suggests a player who is really struggling he has managed to putt well on occasions including a solid 1.305 at the Canadian open – his last event. We’ll be trusting he has a week on the greens but one thing we can rely on is his long game. Long (ish), he’s accurate off the tee (68.11% for 17th), and hits greens (69.64% for 28th). Off the back of his closing 64 at Glen Abbey and his comments about his putting he goes to Bellrive with as much confidence he’s had for years.” That was for the PGA and we now know that he’s still scoring well and is not afraid to go low…which he’ll need around TPC Boston. Consider his recent form over the last 3 events: 8 rounds in the 60’s including a 64 and a 62 with a scoring average of 68.75 including that 78! I’m inclined to forgive him his mad nine on Sunday and take the 100/1 on offer.
Aaron Wise come on down to Oddy town. This kid looks about 14 but he can play. A swing to die for he is already a winner on the USPGA Tour lets not forget. Like Bradley I think he got excited to be in the mix last Sunday and pushed too hard. What’s not to like about that? To hell with 2nd. Wise is the 52nd best player on the planet and 15th in the Fed Ex. He missed the cut at the PGA after a poor opening round but he has 7 of his last 10 rounds in the 60’s averaging 68.8. Already winner this year he has a 2nd a 6th and last weeks 5th that only serve to illustrate what a talent he is – a talent delivering. Across the board positive stats, and not afraid at 22 to go for it, plus the ability to go low he looks destined to be a top 10 player and now is the time to ride that wave.