The Confidence Factor: Dell Technologies Championship

Here we go.

If you don’t see a guy, I wasn’t interested.

Plenty to digest here but you get an extra day to do it!

FedExCup Playoffs Event II: Dell Technologies Championship

TPC Boston

Norton, Mass.,

 

TPC Boston Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,342
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: Penncross A-4 Bentgrass; 5,800 square feet
Stimpmeter: 12′
Rough: Fescue, Bluegrass up to four inches
Bunkers/Water Hazards 65/4
Architects: Arnold Palmer Design (2002); Gil Hanse (2006-ongoing)
Purse: $9 million/$1.62 winner/2,000 FEC Points
Defending Champion (event): Justin Thomas
Fact of the Week: This is the last edition of the Dell Technologies Championship as the FedExCup Playoffs will be reduced to three events in 2019.
Fact of the Week II: Event runs FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY. THERE IS NO GOLF THURSDSAY YES THIS SUCKS.

 

Notes:

  • 100 players qualified. Top 70 and ties will play the weekend.
  • 98 players in the field as Rickie Fowler (oblique) and Francesco Molinari (rest) are not in the field and will not be replaced, as usual.
  • The top 70 players in the FedExCup standings after 72 holes advance to the BMW Championship at Aronimink outside Philadelphia next week.

 

2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)
RBC Canadian Open Dustin Johnson (3)
Barracuda Championship Andrew Putnam*
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas (3)
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Wyndham Championship Brandt Snedeker
THE NORTHERN TRUST FEC I Bryson DeChambeau (2)

 

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam.

You need course form? Read the above.

You need keys to victory? Read the above.

You need course preview? Read the above.

You need a history lesson? Read the above.

Every week.

Every column.

 

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record (last): 262; Henrik Stenson (2013), Charley Hoffman (2010), Vijay Singh (2008)
Course Record: 61; Mike Weir (2008), Vijay Singh (2006)
Recent Defending Champion(s): Never
Multiple Winners (event or course): Rory McIlroy 2012 and 2016 is the only player to do so since the FedExCup Playoffs began in 2007.
First TOUR Win (last): Nope
Low Round 2017: 63; Justin Thomas (Round 3)
Odd Fact: Singh is the only player to win the first two events of the FedExCup Playoffs.

 

Quick Thoughts

Unlike last week, course form will factor in as TPC Boston has hosted every year during the FedExCup Playoffs. As Gil Hanse nips and tucks away, the routing and green complexes haven’t changed much, if at all, on the majority of the holes. The old yardage books and maps of the greens will come in handy this week.

With six of the last seven winners in their 20’s (only Stenson was not), the youngsters reinforce that they aren’t scared or bothered by high-stakes golf. This is also a modern track that gives everyone room to swing driver and plenty of green to aim for regardless of the lie off the tee. Modern golf usually means low scores and this week shouldn’t be an exception to that rule. The last five winners have posted 22, 15, 15, 15 and 17-under to win. This isn’t a place where over-par rounds are going to keep you in contention. Last year, the top 11 players were double-digits under-par for the week.

Recent Event Winners

The first year of the Hanse redesign was 2007 so I’ll start there.

Year Player Winning Total MOV
2017 Justin Thomas -17, 267 3
2016 Rory McIlroy -15, 269 2
2015 Rickie Fowler -15, 269 1
2014 Chris Kirk -15, 269 2
2013 Henrik Stenson -22, 262 2
2012 Rory McIlroy -20, 264 1
2011 Webb Simpson -15, 269 PO
2010 Charley Hoffman -22, 262 5
2009 Steve Stricker -17, 267 1
2008 Vijay Singh -22, 262 5
2007 Phil Mickelson -16, 268 2
       

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament; LTO= LAST TIME OUT; LW= Last week; LY= Last year this event. I’m tired of typing all that out!

Justin Thomas (No. 3): He leapfrogs Dustin Johnson this week because of his performance last year. After opening with 71 he was 17-under the rest of the week and won by three. He’s won, T6 and T8 his last three on TOUR and that’s momentum moving in the proper direction.

Brooks Koepka (No. 5): He’s 36-under in his last three events with nothing worse than T8, just like Thomas.

Tony Finau (No. 4): Mr. Runner-up 2018 (three times) will look to hit the winner’s circle for just the second time in his career. We’ll see if he embraces all the Ryder Cup talk AGAIN this week as he looks to play himself into a captain’s pick.

Dustin Johnson (No. 2): It’s not all firing perfectly for Johnson but that accentuates his value. He doesn’t need his best stuff to contend or post a score as shown last week. He’s never had any real successes, for him anyways, at TPC Boston but I would think keeping his No. 1 OWGR would be plenty of motivation.

Adam Scott (No. 40): He led the field in SG:P last week as he picked up his second top-5 payday running. The inaugural winner here in 2003 has added five more top-10 paydays in his next 11 starts.

Rory McIlroy (No. 28): I’d expect a big response to his week off on a course where he’s won twice. Similarly to Woods, we’ve seen every part of his game fire just not all in the same round or on consecutive days. I’ll point out he was T6, T2, T6 before the PGA Championship (T50).

Patrick Reed (No. 12): With top-six finishes the last three years here I don’t see why he’ll take this week off in 2018. The Masters champ has been scuffing about with nothing better than T25 in his last five, but this track will have his full attention this week.

Tiger Woods (No. 25): Too many carrots to count as he returns to Boston for the first time since 2013. He’ll have more room to spray it this week so that might turn his attention back to the putter, which struggled last week at Ridgewood.

Jason Day (No. 8): He’s been outside the top 25 twice in 10 starts here and made the cut in all of them. Of his 40 rounds 34 are par-or-better so he’ll believe he has a big chance this week. His worst payday in five since MC at the U.S. Open was T20 at Ridgewood. He’s third in SG: Total.

Tommy Fleetwood (No. 23): This season has shown me everything I need to know. Every track was essentially new to him and he’s producing like crazy. He’ll have the best chance of the first-timers to cash a big check, just like he has all season long.

Bryson DeChambeau (No. 1): Only Vijay Singh has won the first two events but I’m not putting anything passed DeChambeau. He’s joined enough other lists of shit that never happens so I can’t write him off. He’s won against big fields twice this year but he’ll be a little behind the course horses this week. That wasn’t the case at Ridgewood and won’t be the case next week at Aronimink.

Patrick Cantlay (No. 11): Like Rahm had no problem adapting in his first attempt last year as he put all four rounds at par-or-better for T13. Every week folks, every week.

Jon Rahm (No. 17): He doesn’t MC much but he hasn’t backed up any of them with a big finish. The Spaniard led by two after 36 holes last year so he didn’t take long to get acquainted with the design. He made 21 birdies and an eagle last year and I’d expect more of the same.

Jordan Spieth (No. 33): I feel like I’m chasing shadows with him but when in doubt, I’ll lean on his class. He’s not playing to hit marks on the FedExCup standings like some may be. The next step is putting four rounds together but he’s under no pressure, except his own, this week.

Justin Rose (No. 6): Form is temporary, class is permanent but he’s looked out of sorts since his WD before the PGA Championship. I’m not jumping on board this week since I believe it will be a tune-up performance before Aronimink, where he won in 2010.

 

Others of Interest:

Just missed the list above because of a wart or two; order isn’t important.

Kevin Na (No. 19): Lost in the shuffle he will be this week but not here. The T15 from Ridgewood doesn’t look impressive until the 75 (+4) pops up in Round 2. The other three rounds were 67-66-67 and that’s not lost on me.

Billy Horschel (No. 14): When he gets hot, he can really go and we’ve seen it before this time of year. He should have won here in 2014 but he threw the sod over it from the fairway. The next week he won the BMW Championship and then backed that up with $10 million at East Lake.

Marc Leishman (No. 24): Put all four rounds at 70 or better last year for solo third. He led on 18-under at the turn before coming home in 40. He’s made 19 of 22 cuts this year so he should be in here somewhere. Last top 10 was Trinity Forest so beware!

Phil Mickelson (No. 10): What’s he gonna do for an encore THIS week? Start a podcast??? He’s playing just well enough to suck in the newbies and just dull enough to chase the pros away. Save him for East Lake if that’s your question.

Webb Simpson (No. 9): This will be his fifth event running and he looked to be leaking oil at Ridgewood as his iron game was struggling. He still managed to cash inside the top 30 for the fifth time in his last five.

Paul Casey (No. 20): Back in 2016 (T2) he threw away a three-shot lead after 54-holes that had gamers wondering if he would ever win again. He tacked on a T4 last year and is 25-under the last two seasons. The last time he was in this part of the country at the Travelers he threw away a four-shot 54-hole lead and finished T2. Since that appearance his best is T31 from four tries.

Gary Woodland (No. 37): He’s never missed in six tries and five of those are T29 or better. I’d expect another one this week.

Ian Poulter (No. 38): He’s posted 13 of his last 16 on TOUR at par-or-better. He’s cashed in six of seven appearances this decade in Boston.

Louis Oosthuizen (No. 69): Nice. He has unfinished business here as he was 19-under thru 54 holes in 2012 before finishing second. He’s 37-under in four events with his worst finish T30. His last six on TOUR are T28 or better.

Chez Reavie (No. 25): Finau has three seconds. Reavie has two. T12 at the PGA and T20 at Ridgewood suggest he’s found something. He’ll have fond memories of losing in a playoff to Simpson in 2011 and knows another big finish will put him one step closer to East Lake.

Brian Harman (No. 32): Putting matters this week but his form is has been quiet since the Travelers. He’s going to play five or six events fewer than last season but that hasn’t helped him late in the summer.

Jason Kokrak (No. 66): If you’re going to play him, do it on bent for my money. His last five Sundays on TOUR: 67-66-67-66-67. He’s picked up T8 and T16 here in five previous visits.

Stewart Cink (No. 65): Too many good ones recently to dismiss plus this will be his 10th time at TPC Boston. His best pay day (12th) was last year.

Chris Kirk (No. 64): He’s rattled off 10 consecutive paydays heading into this week and won this event in 2014.

Ryan Moore (No. 60): Hot and cold at TPC Boston but I like a veteran who is 15ht SG: TTG and 28th SG:T. Most importantly he’s 21st in scoring average.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (No. 59): Finally figured it out in his fourth round last year as he closed with 65. This week’s result does NOT count towards his Ryder Cup stuff but he must feel like he needs to send a message to captain Bjorn.

Henrik Stenson (No. 55): If he was healthy, he’d be in the top five. He didn’t need to return this week but is going to anyways. I know some of you fell for this at The Open Championship as well. I’ve listed him here only to address him as a fade.

Zach Johnson (No. 53): He’s MC once in 12 tries but his best paycheck was T13 in 2004. Let me know when you get that one figured out. He’ll make great support staff but only at the right price. I’m not overpaying for a cut made.

Adam Hadwin (No. 52): Great flier as he flashed signs of life last week at Ridgewood. The piggy-back on form is the angle but I’m not building around him.

Emiliano Grillo (No. 48): 10th SG:P, 7th fairways, 45th GIR and 27th scoring. If I put him in here EVERY WEEK, I’ll be right at least once.

Aaron Wise (No. 14): He’ll win or post 78-82 and won’t care one bit as his magic-carpet ride continues. First time here, just like every other course he’s played this year!

Cameron Smith (No. 15): Now, do it again. The good news he doesn’t have to or need to. I’m leaning he won’t.

Austin Cook (No. 36): Let’s see if the high of playing with Woods causes a downer or a refocus. Wise has thrown the gauntlet down for ROY so I’m interested to see how he responds in a big event as a first-timer.

Over-70 Club:

Jason Dufner (No. 100): He’s never missed in NOYNE tries and has a pair of top-10 checks to show for his trouble. The putter he used at THE PLAYERS would be a good find for this week as that’s his only top 10 of the season on his own ball.

Brian Stuard (No. 99): In his last six rounds here he’s 16-under with a 75 included. He MC at Wyndham with 66 on Friday and T25 last week pushed him into the field this week. Stirring.

Danny Lee (No. 98): His run of top-25 finishes was halted last week but T34 with a pair of 67’s got him into the field this week. His best finish in four tries (MC 2x) here is T33 so that might be a deal-breaker.

Anirban Lahiri (No. 97): His best two finishes this summer have come on Bent in Connecticut (T9) and Cleveland (T6) but it’s only his second time at TPC Boston. He didn’t break 70 in his debut last year.

Russell Henley (No. 96): He turns just as cold as he does when he gets hot and right now he’s the surface of Pluto. Since his T2 here in 2014 his best round is 69 once in eight tries. Magnificent pick for contrarians but that’s it.

Ollie Schniederjans (No. 95): Remember when he lost on 21-under last year to Stenson at Sedgefield? Two weeks later he followed that with 75-77 here to MC. Yeah, that’s kinda what you get if you go here. Good luck or goodbye.

Scott Stallings (No. 94): The last time he was here was 2014 so that should answer most of the questions. The last time he was here his final round was 64 and he’s never missed in four tries. The last time he was here he also wasn’t a cross-fit gladiator like he is now. Born in Massachusetts if you enjoy that angle.

Russell Knox (No. 93): His best paycheck since T12 at the U.S. Open in five events is T35. He cashed T26, T12 and T15 in his first three trips before nothing in the 60’s last year and T61. I don’t see him popping back into form with this field and this position in the standings.

Abraham Ancer (No. 92): His first visit to Boston comes on the heels of 66-65-67 close in Canada for fifth plus 64-69-64 start at Wyndham for T24. He should be able to freewheel this week as he enjoys his career-best season. I’d prefer experience this week.

Branden Grace (No. 91): The good news is he’s posted three bogey-free rounds in eight tries here. The bad news is he’s never finished better than T25 at this event or anywhere in the world since May.

Tom Hoge (No. 90): The sandwich joke never dies but I’m not going to Grind(er) over finding a new way to be a Hero by using it again. It’s his first trip as well and he’s rolling in after MC. Too deep of a field to cure my hunger.

James Hahn (No. 89): He’ll get a look in DFS for the simple fact he can turn it on out of nowhere and contend. He’ll get another look in DFS because his last top 25 was in February and nobody should be anywhere near him. He did cash T5 here in 2016.

Kevin Chappell (No. 88): 36-hole leader in 2016 before fading to T8 and has cashed in his last five here. Co-led the field in birdies in 2015. He likes something here.

Jhonattan Vegas (No. 87): Only three rounds of 12 here in the 60’s. Has momentum after jumping from No. 123 last week after T15. Too much value on putting this week for me. Out.

Kevin Tway (No. 86): Lovely flier as he’s cashed seven straight and 12 of 13 plus closed with 66 in his first appearance last year (T40).

Satoshi Kodaira (No. 85): One top 20 since his win at Harbour Town. This is a recording.

Troy Merritt (No. 84): After winning at Barbasol he’s followed with T50, MC and MC.

Peter Uihlein (No. 83): Local legend won everything on the junior circuit in these here parts so he’ll be flooded in every long-shot category this week. He’s a long shot because he’s MC in four of his last five with the other being T48. Oh, and it’s his first time in the event.

Kelly Kraft (No. 82): Took a 12 on a Par-5 here last year and then WD with a foot injury. Nice memories.

Brice Garnett (No. 81): Already played a major in his home state and won in the Dominican so a great year for him regardless.

J.B. Holmes (No. 80): Last time he was in this neck of the woods he was T2 at Travelers. He’s MC in four of five since with T61.

Jamie Lovemark (No. 79): He could have solved some serious issues last week if he would have held it together during the weekend. The 36-hole co-leader on 10-under fired 73-74 on the weekend and remains outside the top 70. This will be his third consecutive year and his previous results are 71st and T40.

Keith Mitchell (No. 78): There always seems to be a rookie who makes noise in the FedExCup Playoffs and this course should set up perfectly for him. He’ll swing as hard as he can and try to make 10000000 birdies and that’s exactly what it will take this week. Worth a punt in DFS.

Michael Kim (No. 77): Followed up his JDC win with Major, Major and a FedExCup event (MC X 3).

Joel Dahmen (No. 76): Another first-timer that I’m not forcing. I do like him for next year though, nice and solid.

Charley Hoffman (No. 75): I’m moving him up. Way up. T29 or better in five of seven since the U.S. Open and a track record that includes 62, 63, 64, a win and another podium.

Matt Kuchar (No. 74): Nope. I’ve seen enough this summer. Sure he’s made nine cuts in a row here but his last two checks are the worst of the bunch (T46, T56).

Bronson Burgoon (No. 73): If you’re going to take a chance on a first-timer this week I’d do it with someone who hits fairways and greens. He’s also 40th in SG: Approach plus he closed 67-66 last week at Ridgewood to qualify. Checks all the boxes.

C.T. Pan (No. 72): It wasn’t the bounce-back performance I expected last week but this week he at least is familiar with the layout after T47 in his maiden voyage in 2017.

Tyrrell Hatton (No. 71): Guy bought a putter off the shelf before the round last Sunday and posted 64. He posted 64 on Sunday at the PGA Championship as well with a different putter. He has the class to make an impact in his first event similar to what Rahm did but don’t be surprised if he loses his temper and doesn’t.

Kevin Streelman (No. 70): He couldn’t take advantage of his advantage at Ridgewood last week so he’s on the bubble in Boston. He’s cashed in eight of nine but nothing better than T26.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

 

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