The top 100 of the Fedex Cup rankings - minus a few casualties - march on to TPC Boston this week for the Deutsche Bank Championship which kicks off on Friday. It will be a test quite the opposite to Ridgewood CC, and the term "shootout" springs to mind on a track that serves up a delicious annual feast of birdies.
Only 70 players will advance to week three on the Playoff schedule but we've already seen the volatility of the format with in running projections during the Barclays. As it stands, after a poor season by his standards, Playoff specialist Hunter Mahan - 23.00 - has launched himself from 62nd to 1st position after his win last week, ousting Rory McIlroy - 5.00 - from top spot. Hunter has never missed or failed to qualify for a Playoff Event.
The Course - TPC Boston
Henrik Stenson - 17.00 - will defend after shooting a -22 total in 2013 and that sets the tone for the type of challenge that awaits this week. Birdies will be the brief on this circa 7,200 yard par 71 set up, and aggressive power players dominate the leaderboards through the years. With modest intermediate rough and generous fairways, players can let rip from most tees. Penal bunkering and fescues await those who get overly excited but controlled aggression is likely to pay off into undulating greens. Some come equipped with run off areas but firing at pins is the aim. Conditions are mooted to be a little faster and firmer than the norm this year and a theme I've noted around TPC Boston in the past is one of the better fast green putters emerging on the leaderboard. The birdie average stat takes precedence this week.
Jordan Spieth - 26.00 or 6.00 - has been a positive mover in the betting off the back of a solid Sunday 67 at Ridgewood which propelled him into a top 25 finish, and the youngster currently sits 9th in the Fedex. TPC Boston sets up perfectly for the American's game: He sits 7th in birdie average and 8th in the all round. Spieth demonstrated his suitability for the course on his TPC Boston debut last year by closing with a majestic 62 for a 4th place finish.
At 41.00 or 9.00 the place, Patrick Reed is another that jumps off the page this week. The brilliant Augusta State Alum has earned himself a rep as the ultimate birdie machine after a myriad of Monday Qualifiers back in 2012 and he's followed up with the likes of three successive 63s en route to victory at the Humana early in the season. Reed is back in form with a top five at Bridgestone and a top 10 finish at the Barclays - closing with a 65. Reed has hit just under 74% of GIR in his last two events combined and claimed that the putter had warmed up again at Ridgewood. The aggressive American currently sits 8th in the Fedex Rankings.
Course specialist and 2010 winner Charley Hoffman - 126.00 or 23.00 - has not finished worse than 33rd at TPC Boston in the last six renewals and owns a myriad of mid sixties rounds carded in the process. Charley has three top fives to his name this season and caught my attention when coming back from an opening 73 last week to shoot 69-69-69 for a top 30 finish. Again, Hoffman is a big hitting birdie maker who likes fast greens, ranking 5th in birdie average and 21st in total putting. He could be the dark horse this week.
Ryo Ishikawa is on the radar this week but Geoff Ogilvy - 176.00 or 31.00 - is a fast green specialist who loves a bit of room off the tee. In 2010 Geoff got the putter going early on here and was a brilliant seven under through only twelve holes on day one en route to a second place finish behind aforementioned birdie machine Charley Hoffman. The Aussie is another lover of TPC Boston, recording four top 7 finishes to his name and has re found current form, returning to the winners enclosure a few weeks back in Reno.
Bet on the Deutsche Bank Championship now