2019 Tour Championship Analysis [and Predictions]

2019 Tour Championship Analysis [and Predictions]

August 19, 2019

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The FedEx Cup Playoffs finale takes place this week at its annual home at East Lake. However, gone is the algorithm that worked out the standings after every hole that both baffled us and kept us on the edge of our seats.

Instead, the points each player had after last week’s BMW Championship have been turned into staggered starting scores this week. Last week’s winner and the new FedEx Cup leader Justin Thomas will start the tournament at –10 whilst the last five players in the standings will start the week at level par. Check out the full Tour Championship starting scores below, as well as our analysis and free tips.

Tour Championship Starting Scores

Justin Thomas –10
Patrick Cantlay – 8
Brooks Koepka –7
Patrick Reed –6
Rory McIlroy –5
John Rahm –4
Matt Kuchar –4
Xander Schauffele –4
Webb Simpson –4
Abraham Ancer –4
Gary Woodland –3
Tony Finau –3
Adam Scott –3
Dustin Johnson –3
Hideki Matsuyama –3
Paul Casey –2
Justin Rose –2
Brandt Snedeker –2
Rickie Fowler –2
Kevin Kisner –2
Marc Leishman –1
Tommy Fleetwood –1
Corey Connors –1
Sung Jae Im –1
Chez Reavie –1
Bryson DeChambeau level
Louis Oosthuizen level
Charles Howell III level
Lucas Glover level
Jason Kokrak level

Last Five Year’s Tour Championship Top 5s

2014

Billy Horschel –11
Jim Furyk –8
Rory McIlroy –8
Jason Day –7
Chris Kirk –7

2015

Jordan Spieth –9
Danny Lee –5
Justin Rose –5
Henrik Stenson –5
Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey –4

2016

Rory McIlroy –12 beat K. Chappell and Ryan Moore in a playoff
Paul Casey –9
Hideki Matsuyama –6

2017

Xander Schauffele –12
Justin Thomas –11
Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner –10
Paul Casey –9

2018

Tiger Woods –11
Billy Horschel –9
Dustin Johnson –7
Hideki Matsuyama –6
Webb Simpson –6

Tour Championship 2019 Analysis

The new Tour Championship staggered starting scores presents a whole new challenge for punters this week. Justin Thomas won last week’s BMW Championship by 3-shots from Patrick Cantlay and starts this week with a two-shot advantage over him. If Thomas turns up in the same sort of form this week, he’ll be very hard to beat, which is why he’s a best-priced 5/2 to be crowned the 2019 FedEx Cup champion.

His record at East Lake is also excellent, as he’s finished 6th, 2nd, and 7th in his three previous visits. But only in 2017, when he lost the Tour Championship by just a single shot to Xander Schauffele, would his two-shot lead have been big enough for him to claim the crown. He finished fully seven shots behind Rory McIlroy in 2016 and six shots behind Tiger Woods last year, suggesting that players within six shots of Thomas have a chance if the current leader performs as he did in 2016 or 2018.

That brings into the equation the likes of Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy, John Rahm, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, and Abraham Ancer.

The ever-improving Cantlay is the obvious danger, as he’s put together several useful strings of performances this year and looked at the peak of his powers last week. However, he’s shot 72-hole totals of level par and +1 on his two previous visits to East Lake and that’s a big negative.

Brooks Koepka has three shots to make up on Thomas, but he finished behind him in both 2017 and 2018. His best finish here in three attempts is when sixth here in 2017 with a total of –8. That was three shots behind Thomas and four behind Schauffele and, though he’s greatly respected, it may be that money means little compared to majors for the world number one.

Patrick Reed is also hard to recommend. He may have come back to form with a win in the Northern Trust, but he’s never set the world alight at East Lake, finishing 19/27/24/13/28 on his five previous visits.

Rory McIlroy is interesting. He finished seven shots in front of Thomas when winning here in 2016 and he also posted another decent effort when second here in 2014. He also has another two top 10s to his name here and could he offer some each-way value at around 9/1 starting off five shots behind Thomas.

John Rahm has already proven that he’s the type of player that can win an event by a few shots and he’s taken quite well to East Lake with finishes of 11th and 7th so far. However, his course form needs to take another step forward to overtake all the quality players in front of him.

It’s harder to be enthusiastic about Matt Kuchar who has yet to finish better than tenth here and he probably lacks the ability to go as low as some of his peers on this demanding layout.

Xander Schauffele is capable of at least landing some each-way money this week. He won the Tour Championship in 2017 on his course debut (just one shot in front of Thomas) and put up a sterling defence when seventh last year. He’s shot seven rounds in the 60s out of eight rounds so far and he looks worth an investment at 28/1.

Schauffele’s win on debut will give Abraham Ancer some hope, but the in-form Webb Simpson makes more appeal after three top 5s in his last five visits. Simpson is a player that can run away with a tournament if the putter gets hot, as it did at the 2018 Players Championship.

Tour Championship 2019 Summary

Justin Thomas has no problem putting together a string of useful performances and it will be no surprise if the FedEx Cup leader maintains his position at the top. However, he may need to drive the ball better than last week to do so and Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele look the best each-way alternatives.

Free Tip for the 2019 Tour Championship
Webb Simpson (Each-Way) @ 26.00 Skybet, Boylesports (4 Places)
Free Tip for the 2019 Tour Championship
Xander Schauffele (Each-Way) @ 31.00 Skybet (4 Places)

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