The PGA Tour heads into the rare unknown this weekend as they travel to a course they’ve never been to; Caves Valley Golf Club outside of Baltimore, MD. With no course history to speak of, metrics and course features will be big this week as we parse through the field in an attempt to find value.
Also unique to this week, given that it’s the second round of the FedEx Playoffs, the field is trimmed down to the remaining 70 players and won’t feature a cut line.
Let’s take a closer look at the event itself and see where we spot the edge.
Patrick Cantlay (+175 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Coming in at #4 in the FedEx Cup rankings, if the Tour Championship started today, Cantlay would start the event at -6, but I suspect he’s looking for even lower than that. With his T11 last week at the Northern Trust, Cantlay secured his sixth top 25 in seven events since the end of May, one of which included an outright win at the Memorial.
One of the best ball strikers in the world, Cantlay comes into the second to the final week of the season inside the top 15 on tour in a myriad of Strokes Gained (SG) categories. Those include Off-The-Tee (13th), Around-The-Green (8th), Total (4th), and Tee-To-Green (3rd). Another metric that will be important here at the unfamiliar Maryland course, scrambling from the rough, Cantlay ranks #1 in the world at 67.16%.
While the field is stacked and Cantlay won’t be taking any extreme changes late to go for the outright given his current placement, I do still like for him to go low and find himself near the top come Sunday.
Russell Henley (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) vs. Sam Burns
Sometimes a sporadic player round to round, this is as much of a fade of Burns as a play on Henley. Specifically struggling off the tee and from the rough, Burns ranks 132nd on Tour in Driving Accuracy (58.52%) and, when he misses, ranks 154th on Tour in total scrambling (56.88%).
As for Henley, he comes into this event, as he does most, flying under with T20 finishes in four of his last six events, including a T7 two weeks ago at the Wyndham.
A look at the advanced metrics shows a player 4th on Tour in SG: Approach and has been excellent scrambling, ranking 9th in total scrambling (64%) and 4th in scrambling from the rough (66.20%). Currently 50th in the FedEx Cup rankings, I also look for Henley to make a push early as he knows his year is likely over if he doesn’t.
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