Course: TPC Boston, Norton, MA; designed Palmer Golf Design in 2001; redesigned by Hanse Golf Design starting in 2006 with continued renovations through 2017
-Par 71, 7342 yards
-Hosted tournament every year since 2003
-Previous winners and top 5 finishers:
2017: Justin Thomas (-17) over Spieth, Leishman, Casey, Rahm
2016: Rory McIlroy (-15) over Casey, Walker, Scott, Gomez, Hahn, Reed
2015: Rickie Fowler (-15) over Stenson, Hoffman, Furyk, O’Hair, Mahan, Jones, Reed
2014: Chris Kirk (-15) over Horschel, Ogilvy, Henley, Senden, McIlroy
2013: Henrik Stenson (-22) over Stricker, DeLaet, Stadler, Garcia, Kuchar, Spieth
-Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass/Fescue
-Greens: Bentgrass that runs around 12.5 on the stimp; some of fastest on tour
-Average green size around 5,500 sq. ft.; smaller than average
-Field: 100 players; Cut is Top 70 and ties with NO MDF
With the first leg of the FedEx Cup race concluded, we move to a smaller field, 100 players (98 playing as Rickie WD with an oblique injury and Molinari has decided to skip as well), who battle it out at one of the easier courses in the FedEx Cup rotation. The Dell Technologies, formally known as the Deutsche Bank Championship through 2015 I believe, is an interesting tournament that should feature a birdie fest with eagles available (especially on 18) but with trouble if you miss the fairways. The rough is pretty thick, but with an easy to hit fairway rate of around 65% compared to the TOUR average of about 60%, the rough shouldn’t be too worrisome for most. Greens are almost exactly on par (no pun intended) with the TOUR average of about 66% so while I will probably include scrambling in my model, it won’t be nearly as heavily weighted as last week. This course is unique in that it has been undergoing some minor and some major changes for about 10 years with the most notable the recent adjustments to holes 12 and 13 (done prior to 2017 tournament). Both have turned into accuracy holes with a longer approach and you’ll see on the scorecard below that #12 is the hardest hole on the course, per last year’s average strokes. I’m not entirely sure when Hole #14 was changed but it played as the 2nd hardest hole last year with penalizing mounds on the left (formerly bunkers) and also leaves a possible 200+ yard shot with the approach. The key to success it seems, as seems very common week to week, is scoring on the Par 5s and with three again this week, it will be more important than ever. Further, 2 of them are reachable in two by the entire field, including #18 which is the easiest hole on the course and provides incredible risk/reward to finish out the players’ rounds and/or tournament. There were 149 Birdies or Better on #18 last year, or about 12% of all Birdies or Better for the whole tournament. 31% of Birdies or Better were on Par 5s as well. If you add the 2nd easiest hole on the course, the short Par 4 4th, you arrive at 43% of Birdies or Better; therefore, scoring on these 4 holes, with a lot of emphasis on the Par 5s, will be necessary to get to the -15 or better most likely needed to win or place Top 5. Scorecard is below.
|Hole||Par||Length||Rank||Avg. Strokes||BoB (2017)||O/U Par|
So, what’s it going to take to compete? I already mentioned Par 5s are important and as such, I will be targeting SG: APP but with much more emphasis than normal on Proximity from 200+ yards (also 175-200 to take into account the bombers). Along with longer approaches into the Par 5s (unless your DJ, Rory, or Finau), three of the four Par 3s play 200 yards or longer and three or four, depending on the day, of the Par 4s play close to 500 yards. Given the Par 3 distances I think weight should also be put on Par 3 scoring as guys who can play the Par 3s around even or slightly better for the week will have a leg up as the Par 3 average score last year was about 3.1 strokes. Lastly, I don’t include putting in my stat model majority of weeks but like last week I think it’s very relevant, especially guys who excel on fast Bentgrass greens (USE FANTASYNATIONAL.COM). If we can find consistent birdie makers with solid recent form, particularly with their putter, I like them to finish Top 10 or better.
Stats I think I’ll be targeting include SG: Ball Striking (Player’s rank in both total driving AND GIR), SG: APP (with emphasis on 175+), Bogey Avoidance, GIRs Gained, SG: Par 5, SG: Par 3, BoB Gained, SG: P blend, SG: OTT/Total Driving, and Scrambling. Please note that there should always be some emphasis on SG: T2G but since that is used each and every week I don’t include it in stats that I’m “targeting.” I will go into more depth on my finalized stats, players who’s form I like, course history, and more in my DFS article in the next day or two.
That’s all for the course preview! Follow me on Twitter @sscherman and follow @AmateurHour_Pod too for picks, podcasts with FIRE guests, and weekly picks to win.