Welcome to the third leg of the Bryson Slam……..sorry, I mean the FedExCup Playoffs. This week, the Tour heads to Aronimink Golf Club. The PGA Tour has not played an event here since 2011. Recently, Gil Hanse and crew have restored the golf course closer to its original form. They have added a large number of bunkers, increased the width of some fairways and increased the size of some of the putting surfaces. I expect the course to play fairly similarly to how a PGA Championship would be, with the winning score being around -14 and players having the ability to shoot very well if their game is firing on all cylinders. Aronimink will provide an advantage to players who have above average length off the tee and who are elite iron players. Players will need to control their approach shots as the greens are very undulating and treacherous should they be missed. I believe this should be a good test for players and will create a fun leaderboard come Sunday. Here are some players that we hope to see near the top come Sunday:
With a small field of only 69 players, we will have to distinguish ourselves in a few places in our roster if we want the best chance at capturing the top prize in a large tournament. Here are two plays to consider:
Gary Woodland $7,800 over Cameron Smith $7,800
Cameron Smith has caught everyone’s eye with back-to-back 3rd-place finishes to start the playoffs. I’m not quite sold on Smith being able to back that up with another top 10 this week as he has gained 10 strokes on the greens in those events! If he has an average putting week, he will not be near the top 10 this week. Smith has been wildly inconsistent all year, and I personally believe that he will destroy many lineups this week with a lackluster finish.
On the other hand, Gary Woodland has been hitting the ball really well lately but not capitalizing on his opportunities. He has gained strokes both off the tee and on approach in each of his last 7 events. He gained a massive 8 shots on approach last week at the Dell. If he can catch any semblance of a short game this week, he will have a chance to record a top 10.
Billy Horschel $8,000 over Rafa Cabrera Bello $8,300
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Bello this week, but I think he will be fairly high-owned and may be worthy of fading now that the grind of Ryder Cup qualifying is over. If you are looking to distinguish yourself, this may be the perfect spot.
Horschel will be one of the lowest-owned players of the week. Players typically see an extreme dip in ownership after a WD. I think we can get Horschel at under 5% ownership, which will provide massive leverage in large tournaments. Horschel has had success in the FedExCup before. Prior to his sinus infection-related WD last week, Horschel was in amazing form gaining 16 shots on approach in his previous 3 starts!!
We are coming down to the wire with only two events left. The best advice I can give you is to try to determine who the top teams in your league have left to pick and try to pivot to make up ground. Obviously, if you still have any of the top-tier studs, you will want to use them one of these 2 weeks. Here are a few other options you may still have available:
Fresh off a week of rest, Molinari will try to move up the standings to position himself with a better chance to capture the FedExCup at the Tour Championship. Molinari is a straight and sneaky long driver of the golf ball. He is also one of the most elite iron players in the world. He will be a very low-owned pivot option who has the upside to win.
Hatton comes into this event on the heels of 3 straight top 20s on the PGA Tour. He is a world-class player who is more than capable of winning this week. He is another great low-owned option if you are desperate to make a big move up the standings.