Steve Bamford Golf Tips

Steve Bamford's The Northern Trust Tips 2020

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With both Paul (Connor Syme at the Celtic Classic) and myself (Kevin Kisner at the Wyndham Championship) hitting 90/1 and 50/1 full each-way places respectively, we’re in decent enough nick –  especially after capturing Collin Morikawa at 35/1 at the PGA Championship.

On the PGA Tour we now move into the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The FedEx Cup has grown massively in popularity since its inception in 2007 – the spectacle of watching the world’s best golfers fight it out has become a real highlight of the golfing calendar. The Playoff finale takes place across 3 tournaments in consecutive weeks. The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to play this week’s Northern Trust at TPC Boston, in Massachusetts, with the top 70 then moving onto the BMW Championship hosted at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois. The top 30 then qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake. So this PGA Tour season will end on the 7th September, when we’ll also know who the 2020 FedEx Cup champion is.

In essence, this week is where the PGA Tour gets serious as the winner of The Northern Trust and BMW Championship will receive 1,500 points (regular season winners receive 500 points), plus each tournament has an increased prize fund of $9.5 million with $1.665 million going to the tournament winner – for reference Collin Morikawa won $1.9 million for the PGA Championship 2 weeks ago. The Tour Championship will also continue as per last year with the FedEx Cup Starting Strokes index., with the FedEx Cup standings leader starting the tournament at -10, FEC Number 2 at -8, FEC Number 3 at -7, cascading down to those ranked 26th to 30th starting at Even.

What’s also clear about the Playoffs is that prize money has increased, making this a very profitable exercise for players who have a strong 3 weeks of golf. The 2020 FedEx Cup champion will receive a $15 million overall prize with the runner-up pocketing $5 million. Even the player finishing the Tour Championship in last spot will receive $395,000. We have a full-field of 125 locked and loaded this week, which to all intents and purposes is effectively a mini-Major Championship.

Before we talk through my Northern Trust tips, the number of new visitors to Golf Betting System is increasing by the week as we head towards the season’s second Major Championship, the US Open. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published Tuesday) the Golf Betting Show on YouTube and our hugely popular private group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: We last saw TPC Boston on the PGA Tour in 2018. A once regular stop off each year, where it hosted the Deutsche Bank Championship which morphed into the Dell Technologies Championship.

A 7,308 yard, Par 71 – which is an original Arnold Palmer design – the course undoubtedly yields birdies, but only for those who are aggressive and seriously on their game. Winning totals of -18 (DeChambeau 2018), -17 (Thomas 2017), -15 (McIlroy 2016), -15 (Fowler 2015), -15 (Kirk 2014), -22 (Stenson 2013), -20 (McIlroy 2012), -15 (Simpson 2011), -22 (Hoffman), -19 (Stricker), -22 (Singh) and -16 (Mickelson) across the past 12 renewals show that the pure Bentgrass greens can produce low scores. Scoring tends to be dictated by the firmness of the greens though, so with a pretty dry build-up to the tournament in August, I’m expecting another mid-score -16/266 to -18/264 winning total.

TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts: Designer: Arnold Palmer 2001, with Hanse re-design 2006, 2016; Course Type: Up-State, Resort; Par: 71; Length: 7,308 yards; Holes with Water Hazards In-Play: 3; Fairways: Princeville Creeping Bentgrass; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass Fine Fescue 3.5″; Greens: 5,200 sq.ft average featuring A-4 Penn Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 11.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 70.65 (-0.35), Difficulty Rank 31 of 49 courses. 2013: 69.21 (-1.79), Difficulty Rank 39 of 43 courses. 2014: 70.47 (-0.53), Rank 34 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.96 (-0.04), Rank 19 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.24 (-0.76), Rank 30 of 50 courses. 2017: 70.78 (-0.22), Rank 28 of 50 courses. 2018: 70.15 (-0.85), Rank 37 of 51 courses.

Widths Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for TPC Boston and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • TPC Boston: 250 yards from the tee: 39 yards wide; 275:36; 300:34; 325:27; 350:32.
  • Sedgefield: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:26 325:23; 350:22.
  • TPC Harding Park: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:28 325:27; 350:26.
  • TPC Southwind: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:29; 325:31; 350:26.
  • TPC Twin Cities: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:38; 300:31; 325:30; 350:36.
  • Muirfield Village: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:24; 350:29.
  • Detroit Golf Club: 250 yards from tee: 34 yards wide; 275:34; 300:35 325:34; 350:33.
  • TPC River Highlands: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:36; 300:29; 325:29; 350:28.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes other Arnold Palmer and Gil Hanse re-designs include:

Arnold Palmer

  • PGA West – Palmer Private – Host Course 2008 through 2015 Career Builder Challenge
  • Bay Hill Country Club – Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • TPC Twin Cities – 3M Open
  • Isleworth Golf & Country Club – 2014 Hero World Challenge
  • Albany – 2015 – 2019 Hero World Challenge

Gil Hanse

  • Trump National Doral – 2014 through 2016 WGC Cadillac Championship
  • Ridgewood CC – The Barclays / Northern Trust 2010, 2014 & 2018.
  • Plainfield CC – The Barclays – 2011 & 2015

Course Overview: TPC Boston is an Arnold Palmer original with recent Gil Hanse modernisation that’s set up for eagle and birdie-making on key holes. 2 of the 3 par-5s on the scorecard play under 550 yards so are reachable for all bar the shortest of hitters. No surprise then that these holes, namely the 2nd and the 18th, yielded 27 eagles and 270 birdies last time we saw the course in 2018.

TPC Boston though, unless ridiculously soft, is no pure resort-style test like Waialae or PGA West. The course was toughened for 2017 as the par-4 12th, under the auspices of Gil Hanse, has been lengthened to 510 yards, which follows on from 2016’s tournament change where the driveable par-4 4th was lengthened from 298 yards to 353 yards. Risk and reward on scoring holes is the nature of this course and those who average 300+ yards from the tee have a distinct advantage here. Mix of winners in the recent past include either short-game specialists or ball-strikers, but the last 4 renewals have seen longer types in Fowler, McIlroy, Thomas and DeChambeau taking the victory.

A number of key statistics jump from the page when you look at TPC Boston over the past 4 renewals, which have been played with relatively firm conditions and enough wind to keep the scoring up. Par-4s here are more than attackable, with the 11 4-shot holes at TPC Boston playing as the 10th (2018), 19th (2017), 7th (2016) and 20th (2015) easiest on Tour. Conversely the 12 looks at the par-5s over the course of 2015-2018 played as the 23rd (2018), 13th (2017), 11th (2016) and 6th (2015) toughest on the PGA Tour. With Going for the Green Birdie or Better conversion being 14th (2018), 11th (2017), 3rd (2016) and 4th (2015) lowest across those last 4 renewals, TPC Boston is gettable to those with a superb long approach game, but the course, with some added length, isn’t  the out and out pure drag-strip we used to see.

northern trust tips

Northern Trust Winners: 2019: Patrick Reed (-16); 2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-18); 2017: Dustin Johnson (-13); 2016: Patrick Reed (-9); 2015: Jason Day (-19); 2014: Hunter Mahan (-14); 2013: Adam Scott (-11); 2012: Nick Watney (-10); 2011: Dustin Johnson (-19); 2010: Matt Kuchar (-12).

TPC Boston Winners: 2018: Bryson DeChambeau (-18); 2017: Justin Thomas (-17); 2016: Rory McIlroy (-15); 2015: Rickie Fowler (-15); 2014: Chris Kirk (-15); 2013: Henrik Stenson (-22); 2012: Rory McIlroy (-20); 2011: Webb Simpson (-15); 2010: Charley Hoffman (-22).

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week:

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Cameron Champ, Matthew Wolff and Jason Day.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Travelers Championship, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour (where recorded) events. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Collin Morikawa; 2) Henrik Norlander; 3) Brendon Todd; 4) Andrew Landry; 5) Abraham Ancer / Brian Stuard; 7) J.T. Poston; 8) Tyler Duncan / Ryan Moore; 10) Daniel Berger / Webb Simpson; 12) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Jon Rahm; 14) Dylan Frittelli; 15) Jim Herman; 16) Russell Henley; 17) Paul Casey; 18) Corey Conners / Michael Thompson; 20) Ryan Armour.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Russell Henley; 2) Luke List; 3) Henrik Norlander / Bubba Watson; 5) Viktor Hovland / Doc Redman; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Ryan Moore / Pat Perez; 10) Jason Day / Tom Lewis; 12) Brooks Koepka / Jon Rahm; 14) Paul Casey / Collin Morikawa; 16) Brendan Steele / Richy Werenski; 18) Harold Varner III; 19) Louis Oosthuizen; 20) Matthew Fitzpatrick / Shane Lowry.
  • Scrambling: 1) Kevin Na; 2) Harris English; 3) Jason Day / Max Homa; 5) Patrick Cantlay; 6) Adam Hadwin / Brian Harman / Russell Henley / Xander Schauffele; 10) Adam Long; 11) Abraham Ancer / Brandt Snedeker; 13) Daniel Berger / Kevin Kisner / Phil Mickelson; 16) Jon Rahm; 17) Hideki Matsuyama / Carlos Ortiz / Cameron Smith; 20) Paul Casey / Shane Lowry / Collin Morikawa.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Bryson DeChambeau; 2) Daniel Berger; 3) Rickie Fowler; 4) Mackenzie Hughes; 5) Abraham Ancer; 6) Billy Horschel / Webb Simpson; 8) Byeong Hun An; 9) Patrick Cantlay / Ian Poulter; 11) Tony Finau / Rory McIlroy; 13) Jon Rahm; 14) Xander Schauffele; 15) Matthew Fitzpatrick / J.T. Poston; 17) Danny Lee / Patrick Reed; 19) Zach Johnson / Kevin Na.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the RBC Heritage, which includes PGA Tour events where recorded. Players must have played in a minimum of 2 Tour events to be included and rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Bryson DeChambeau / Rory McIlroy; 3) Cameron Champ; 4) Jon Rahm; 5) Collin Morikawa; 6) Paul Casey / Xander Schauffele; 8) Daniel Berger / Patrick Cantlay / Bubba Watson; 11) Scottie Scheffler; 12) Corey Conners; 13) Tony Finau / Patrick Reed / Justin Thomas; 16) Sam Burns; 17) Abraham Ancer / Jason Kokrak / Luke List / Patrick Rodgers; 21) Jason Day; 22) Tommy Fleetwood / Sungjae Im; 24) Webb Simpson; 25) Joaquin Niemann.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Tiger Woods; 2) Russell Henley; 3) Brendan Steele; 4) Henrik Norlander; 5) Shane Lowry; 6) Tyrrell Hatton; 7) Harris English; 8) Chez Reavie; 9) Daniel Berger / Viktor Hovland / Matthew Wolff; 12) Zach Johnson / Kevin Kisner / Scott Stallings / Justin Thomas; 16) Brooks Koepka / Joaquin Niemann / Collin Morikawa; 19) Tony Finau / Lanto Griffin / Si Woo Kim; 22) Patrick Cantlay / Ryan Palmer; 24) Paul Casey / Corey Conners / Lucas Glover.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Brian Harman; 2) Charles Howell III; 3) Justin Thomas; 4) Phil Mickelson; 5) Rickie Fowler; 6) Harris English; 7) Mackenzie Hughes; 8) Hideki Matsuyama / Jon Rahm / Jordan Spieth; 11) Jason Day; 12) Tommy Fleetwood; 13) Brandt Snedeker; 14) Adam Hadwin / Viktor Hovland; 16) Xander Schauffele; 17) Rory Sabbatini; 18) Daniel Berger; 19) Dylan Frittelli / Russell Henley; 21) Webb Simpson; 22) Richy Werenski; 23) Sungjae Im / Kevin Na; 25) Kevin Streelman.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Russell Henley; 2) Xander Schauffele; 3) Justin Thomas 4) Jon Rahm; 5) Hideki Matsuyama; 6) Sam Burns / Jason Day; 8) Tiger Woods; 9) Daniel Berger; 10) Harris English / Rory McIlroy / Richy Werenski; 13) Patrick Reed / Brendan Steele; 15) Patrick Cantlay / Viktor Hovland; 17) Tony Finau; 18) Paul Casey / Luke List / Collin Morikawa / Henrik Norlander / Harold Varner III; 23) Shane Lowry / Webb Simpson; 25) Rickie Fowler / Phil Mickelson / Kevin Streelman.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Mackenzie Hughes; 2) Bryson DeChambeau; 3) Kevin Kisner; 4) Billy Horschel; 5) Abraham Ancer/ Matt Kuchar; 7) Harris English; 8) Adam Long; 9) Patrick Cantlay / Webb Simpson / Brendon Todd; 12) Denny McCarthy / Ian Poulter / Xander Schauffele; 15) Jason Day / Matthew Fitzpatrick / Zach Johnson; 18) Gary Woodland; 19) Mark Hubbard; 20) Brandt Snedeker; 21) Charles Howell / Kevin Streelman; 23) Tom Lewis / Kevin Na / Sepp Straka / Matthew Wolff.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Xander Schauffele; 2) Harris English; 3) Jason Day; 4) Bryson DeChambeau; 5) Sam Burns; 6) Daniel Berger; 7) Patrick Cantlay / Jon Rahm / Brendan Steele; 10) Billy Horschel; 11) Viktor Hovland; 12) Mackenzie Hughes / Webb Simpson; 14) Tony Finau / Russell Henley / Kevin Kisner / Henrik Norlander / Rory McIlroy; 19) Patrick Reed / Brendon Todd; 21) Abraham Ancer / Kevin Streelman; 23) Rickie Fowler / Zach Johnson / Tom Lewis.

Winners & Prices: 2019: Patrick Reed 55/1; 2018: Bryson DeChambeau 100/1; 2017: Dustin Johnson 14/1; 2016: Reed 50/1; 2015: Day 10/1; 2014: Mahan 50/1; 2013: Scott 16/1; 2012: Watney 70/1; 2011: D Johnson 35/1; 2010: Kuchar 40/1. Past 6 Renewals Average: 47/1; Overall Average: 44/1.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Norton, Massachusetts, is here. We visit the north-east of the United States this week, with weather looking set fair. Temperatures of between 27 – 31 degrees Celsius will be perfect, and breeze-wise expect nothing stronger than 15 mph. There’s been little rain in the build-up, with a small threat during tournament week, so I’m expecting plenty of roll-out on the fairways and receptive greens at least initially.

Historical TPC Boston Weather:

  • 2018: Thursday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 76. Wind ENE 6-12 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 79. Wind E 4-8 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 83. Wind SSW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 91 and a heat index of 100. Wind SSW 7-14 mph.
  • 2017: Friday: Sunny, breezy and cool with a high of 70. Wind NW 8-12 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy and cool with a high of 73. Wind NNW in the morning, changing to SSW wind in the afternoon 5-10 mph. Sunday: Occasional showers all day with a couple of brief heavy downpours. High temperature of 63. Wind ENE 6-12 mph. Monday: Sunny with a high of 80. Wind SW 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.
  • 2016: Friday: Partly sunny and cooler, with a high of 76. Wind ENE at 6-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 75. Wind NE at 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy and windy, with a high of 73. Wind NE 15-20, with gusts to 30 mph. Monday: Mostly cloudy and windy with a high of 71. Wind NNE 15-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph.
  • 2015: Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 77. Wind NE at 7-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 79. NNE wind at 5-10 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 84. Wind SSW at 6-12 mph. Monday: Mostly cloudy and humid, with a high of 90. SW wind at 8-15 mph.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the last 9 winners here at TPC Boston since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2018, Bryson DeChambeau (-18). 312 yards (10th), 75.0% fairways (9th), 75.0% greens in regulation (7th), 36’5″ proximity to hole (35th), 61.1% scrambling (44th), 1.65 putts per GIR (7th).
  • 2017, Justin Thomas (-17). 308 yards (3rd), 58.9% fairways (58th), 70.8% greens in regulation (13th), 32″7″ proximity to hole (5th), 95.2 % scrambling (1st), 1.69 putts per GIR (12th).
  • 2016, Rory McIlroy (-15). 313 yards (1st), 64.3% fairways (41st), 73.6% greens in regulation (18th), 34″5″ proximity to hole (34th), 63.2 % scrambling (41st), 1.60 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2015, Rickie Fowler (-15). 299 yards (30th), 66.1% fairways (26th), 73.6% greens in regulation (6th), 30″4″ proximity to hole (4th), 78.9 % scrambling (1st), 1.66 putts per GIR (5th).
  • 2014, Chris Kirk (-15). 299 yards (28th), 75.0% fairways (7th), 63.9% greens in regulation (50th), 32″0″ proximity to hole (2nd), 80.8 % scrambling (4th), 1.70 putts per GIR (15th).
  • 2013, Henrik Stenson (-22). 287 yards (37th), 78.6% fairways (11th), 84.7% greens in regulation (1st), 33″1″ proximity to hole (43rd), 81.8% scrambling (6th), 1.69 putts per GIR (15th).
  • 2012, Rory McIlroy (-20). 310 yards (5th), 55.4% fairways (69th), 66.7% greens in regulation (35th), 33″9″ proximity to hole (25th), 70.8% scrambling (2nd), 1.52 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2011, Webb Simpson (-15). 299 yards (40th), 62.5% fairways (44th), 65.3% greens in regulation (35th), 34″9″ proximity to hole (16th), 76.0% scrambling (3rd), 1.60 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2010, Charley Hoffman(-22). 300 yards (10th), 78.6% fairways (5th), 76.4% greens in regulation (6th), 36″6″ proximity to hole (42nd), 64.7% scrambling (22nd), 1.62 putts per GIR (4th).

Tournament Skill Average:

  • Driving Distance: 18th, Driving Accuracy: 30th, Greens in Regulation: 19th, Proximity to Hole: 23rd, Scrambling: 14th, Putting Average 6th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2018, Bryson DeChambeau (-18). SG Off the Tee: 9th, SG Approach: 11th, SG Around the Green: 36th, SG Tee to Green: 6th, SG Putting: 6th.
  • 2018, Justin Thomas (-17). SG Off the Tee: 14th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 6th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 8th.
  • 2017, Rory McIlroy (-15). SG Off the Tee: 15th, SG Approach: 10th, SG Around the Green: 24th, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 7th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 13th, SG Approach: 9th, SG Around the Green: 22nd, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 7th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how TPC Boston has played in recent years and what specific skills it requires:

Bryson DeChambeau: “Last year I definitely enjoyed this golf course. I think I played pretty well. I don’t remember exactly what I finished, I never do, actually, unless it’s a win or something like that. But there definitely are some scorable holes, which I like. I think it’s 4, drivable par-4. That’s a fun hole. And you’ve got difficult holes, 5 and 6 aren’t that easy, necessarily easy. It’s a good mix. This golf course warrants a lot of ball-striking and great putting. Just like any other golf course, I’d say. But this one, it’s just different in regards to some of the shots you’ve got to hit on certain holes. And for me I like that. I think it requires great ball-striking capabilities, just like last week, and hopefully it suits me well.”

Justin Thomas: “Yeah, the course being softer, it’s going to play easier. But the ball is going so short. I still am bummed; the hardest probably is rained all day was on 18. It’s 260 yards to carry that bunker and I hit a drive right on the screws and I didn’t carry it. I usually carry a driver 300 yards, so I think you can do the math. Gracey and I were in shot when we walked up there and our golf balls hadn’t cleared. That was probably the hardest part was just when it was a little into the wind, the ball just wasn’t so short, I mean, just so short. I hit a really good one on two today and it went like 276 or something like that. So that was the hardest part, you know, when you would have 152 yards or something, where I would usually just be chipping a little 9-iron, I’d have to hit a decent 8-iron or something like that. Other than that, if you could dial that in, then it was, being soft, it was easier.

I just was seeing them a little bit better today. These greens are so hard to read to me. There’s just so many times where it’s breaking one way and at the end it will go the other way or vice versa. I mean, I had a triple-breaking putt today which is absurd. That just doesn’t happen very often. Their the grainiest Bentgrass I’ve probably ever played on.

This week I’ve tried to get better at going each side, because you can really see the change in the colour of the grass, and I tried to do that the last couple days. I mean, today, it didn’t too much because it was wet so it all looked the same. But yeah, I don’t know, I had it in good spots, putting uphill to where I could be aggressive or I didn’t have to be timid, kind of putting from above the hole. It’s just one of those days where I was putting well.

Gary Woodland: “It definitely played tougher than it played the last couple of years. That northeast wind, it’s a direction that we haven’t seen in a long time out here. The par-5s are playing into the wind. The greens are very fast. And there were some tricky pins, as well. I’m happy with 3-under, I’m happy with the start I’m at. The wind is supposed to be the same direction the next couple of days so hopefully it’s more of the same.

Jason Day: “Good day in some difficult conditions. Might toughen up a little bit this afternoon. I think as the week goes on, it’s going to get gradually hotter, greens are going to start baking out a little bit quicker. Fairways are going to start baking out, as well. Today was difficult. It was really tough to get yourself below the hole. Really difficult to try to position yourself on the greens with how the wind was. It was very tough to see or feel where the wind was coming from. There was a lot of swirling there. And overall I’m very pleased with how it went today.

Charley Hoffman: “The wind didn’t blow, one. There’s still a few good pin placements out there. In the morning I wouldn’t say it was soft, but receptive greens and they were as smooth as can be this morning for us. And I was able to make a good amount of putts.

Henrik Stenson: “Best way to summarise, there is a little bit of a breeze out there and if you’re not playing great it’s not the easiest course. Still birdie chances if you’re doing well. And if you’re struggling a little bit with your game you can drop one or two. Yeah, I thought the back nine with this wind that we had today which is southerly, I think the back nine was playing a little trickier. You’ve got 11, 12, 14 into the wind, so they play a little tougher. So I think it was probably a tougher wind on the back nine today than earlier in the week.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 10 winners of this event:

  • 2019 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 9th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 18th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2016 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 18th, Round 2: 8th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2014 – Hunter Mahan: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 12th, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2013 – Adam Scott: Round 1: 32nd, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 13th.
  • 2012 – Nick Watney: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2011 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 8th, Round 2: 2nd
  • 2010 – Matt Kuchar – Round 1: 20th, Round 2: 7th, Round 3: 5th.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 10 winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2019 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2018 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2017 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2016 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: level, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2014 – Hunter Mahan: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2013 – Adam Scott: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2012 – Nick Watney: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: level, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2011 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 1 back.
  • 2010 – Matt Kuchar: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 5 back.

Incoming form of winners since 2010:

  • Patrick Reed: 22nd Wyndham/12th St Jude/10th Open/23rd 3M Open.
  • Bryson DeChambeau: MC PGA/30th Bridgestone/13th European Open/51st Open.
  • Dustin Johnson: 13th PGA/17th Bridgestone/8th Canada/ 54th Open.
  • Patrick Reed: 22nd Wyndham/11th Olympic/11th Travelers/13th PGA.
  • Jason Day: 1st PGA/12th Bridgestone/1st Canada/4th Open.
  • Hunter Mahan: 7th PGA/15th Bridgestone/MC Canada/32nd Open.
  • Adam Scott: 5th PGA/14th Bridgestone/3rd Open/57th Quicken National.
  • Nick Watney: 31st Wyndham/MC PGA/19th Bridgestone/23rd Open.
  • Dustin Johnson: MC PGA/48th Bridgestone/6th Nordea/2nd Open.
  • Matt Kuchar: 10th PGA/9th Bridgestone/21st Greenbrier/4th Canada

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2019 – Merritt – AM -9/62 – 125/1.
  • 2018 – Lovemark/O’Hair/V Taylor/Tway – 3AM/1PM -5/66 – 125/1, 200/1, 175/1, 125/1.
  • 2017 – Henley – AM -6/64 – 125/1.
  • 2016 – Laird/Reed – Both AM -5/66.
  • 2015 – Finau/Levin/Villegas/Watson – 3AM/1PM -5/65.
  • 2014 – Van Pelt – PM -6/65.
  • 2013 – Stadler – AM -7/64.
  • 2012 – Harrington – AM -7/64.
  • 2011 – Kuchar – PM -8/63.
  • 2010 – Taylor/Woods – Both AM -6/65.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Bentgrass green PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 7 – Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose.
  • 6 – Tiger Woods.
  • 5 – Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson.
  • 3 – Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore.
  • 2 – Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, Brian Harman, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Troy Merritt, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele.
  • 1 – Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Dylan Frittelli, Jim Herman, Charley Hoffman, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Danny Lee, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Chez Reavie, Rory Sabbatini, Brandt Snedeker, Scott Stallings, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Brendon Todd, Matthew Wolff.

In terms of factors to look out for, the initial FedEx Cup Playoff tournament since 2009  has been won by players ranked 124th, 9th, 19th, 49th, 11th, 62nd, 2nd, 7th, 4th, 9th and 50th (Reed last year) going into the tournament. Naturally with the FedEx Cup Playoffs only encompassing 3 legs these days, it will be fascinating to see how and if this dynamic changes moving forward, with Reed last year having the lowest FedEx Cup rank since 2014.

These events are big tournaments to win and all Barclays/Northern Trust winners in the Playoff era have been multiple PGA Tour event winners, with 9 of the past 10 renewals all being won by players who had previous ‘up-state’ victories on the PGA Tour in North America. Patrick Reed’s first Northern Trust (Barclays as was) win  broke that trend in 2016, but the Texan had already finished 4th at Firestone, 4th at TPC Boston and 9th in this tournament previous to locking up his Ryder Cup spot when winning at Bethpage Black.

My Final Northern Trust Tips Are As Follows:

Bryson DeChambeau 3pts Win 12/1 with William Hill

At the head of affairs I’ll take Bryson DeChambeau. Bryson never had the opportunity to defend the title he won here at TPC Boston in 2018, and won’t face the media obligations that Patrick Reed will face this week. But it’s obvious that the extended TPC Boston format suits bombers and right now, DeChambeau is undoubtedly the very best of that category.

Fresh and boosted from a very first Major Championship top-10 finish, which featured a pair of weekend 66s at TPC Harding Park, Bryson must be chomping at the bit to get to Norton, Massachusetts to continue the PGA Championship 4th place momentum. 9 top-10s with only 1 victory this season, must be a huge motivator for the World Number 8, who back in 2018 showed us what he can do in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Consecutive wins at the Northern Trust and here at the Dell Technologies boosted Bryson into the view of the mainstream golfing public – a position he certainly hasn’t relinquished across the intervening 2 year period. And his game suits TPC Boston beautifully well: 1st for Driving Distance – All Drives, 1st for Going for the Green, 1st for Birdie Average, 4th for par-5 Birdie or Better Conversion and 13th for Proximity from 200 yards or more this season to date, many forget that DeChambeau actually ranks 5th for Strokes Gained Putting and 3rd for Putting Average (Putts per GIR).

With 6 of his United States professional wins coming across Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio (x2) and Michigan, it’s clear that Bryson loves the agronomy of the northern states and the breakdown of his victories are also fascinating. In Deere Run, Ridgewood, TPC Boston and TPC Summerlin, 4 of his victories have come on Par 71 formats. In terms of green grass, it’s an even split of 3 victories each across pure Bentgrass and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix green complexes. With lower scoring this week at The Northern Trust compared to the PGA Championship, for me DeChambeau is in pole position to grab both his 7th PGA Tour title and the FedEx Cup Number 1 position. RESULT: MC

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Jason Day 2pts EW 25/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

In Nick Watney (2012 – 49th in the FedEx Cup standings), Hunter Mahan (2014 – 62nd FEC) and Patrick Reed (2019 – 50th FEC), we’ve seen elite players (at the time), who were out of position in the FedEx Cup win this opening leg of the Playoffs. Watney hadn’t won a PGA Tour title for over a year, Mahan for 2 and a half years and Reed for approaching a year and a half. That puts me onto one of my favourite players in the guise of the trending Jason Day.

Winless since May 2018 – that is 2 and a quarter years – Jason is undoubtedly starting to find some form with 7th at the Workday Open, 4th at Memorial, 6th at WGC- St Jude Invitational and 4th at the PGA Championship. From an OWGR low of 63rd after a MC at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Jason is back up to 34th and his golf game is looking the best it has done for a number of years. That’s clear when you look at my 8-week skill-set trackers as Day ranks in this field 10th for Green in Regulation, 21st for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 6th for SG Tee to Green, 15th for SG Putting and 3rd for SG Total. For the record, 4th at TPC Harding Park was Jason’s best Major finish since 2016, when he finished 2nd at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

The real eye-opener for me in San Francisco was the fact that he was 2nd for Greens in Regulation, and that kind of statistic heartens me that the confident and buoyant 32 year old (yes I was surprised), must be flying to Massachusetts in great heart. With TPC Boston form of 2nd in 2010, 3rd in 2011, 13th in 2013, 7th in 2014, 12th in 2015 and 15th in 2016, it’s clear that Jason knows his way around this inland links-like design. And lets not forget that the Australian has finished 5th (2010 Ridgewood), 2nd (2014 Ridgewood), 1st (2015 Plainfield), 4th (2016 Bethpage Black) and 6th (2017 Glen Oaks), earning over $3.5m at this first FedEx Cup Playoff tournament. For me he’s ripe for a much awaited win this week. RESULT: MC

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Tony Finau 1.5pts EW 33/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

We all know Tony Finau has a win in him at some point and personally I’d rather be on him at a star-studded non-Major tournament where he’s a 33/1 to 50/1 shot, as opposed to the 3M Open where he was a 14/1 chance.

As punters we talk about win equity, whether players win enough and at what kind of tournament/course type/green-type they win on. Well there are no doubts that in terms of wins Finau has mightily disappointed, compared to both his World Ranking of 15 and his amazing talent. Remember this is a player that despite only winning the alternate 2016 Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour has finished 10th at the Masters, 5th at the U.S. Open and 9th at the Open Championship in 2018. He also finished 5th at the Masters and 3rd at the Open Championship in 2019, plus he just finished 4th at the 2020 PGA Championship.

Be in no doubt that Finau likes ‘big boy golf courses.’ So his much awaited win coming at a FedEx Cup Playoff event where a few of the mega-elite have a quieter week, isn’t too fanciful. And since 2016 across both the Northern Trust, Dell Technologies (as was) and BWW Championship Playoff events Finau has finished 12th at Bethpage Black (2016), 7th at Conway Farms (2017), 2nd at Ridgewood (2018), 4th at TPC Boston (2018), 8th at Aronimink (2018) and 4th at Medinah (2019).

The bomber-friendly nature of TPC Boston would seem to fall into Tony’s wheelhouse this week. 13th for Driving Distance – All Drives, 25th for Going for the Green, 13th for Birdie Average, 34th for par-5 Birdie or Better Conversion and 50th for Proximity from 200 yards or more, this season to date. And across the last 8 weeks of the PGA Tour in this field he ranks 13th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 19th for SG on Approach, 17th for SG Tee to Green, 11th for Putting Average (Putts per GIR) and 14th for SG Total. 4th on his last visit to TPC Boston in 2018, Finau was striping his approaches (2nd for SG on Approach) at the PGA Championship where he was 5th for Proximity to Hole. I’ve also been impressed by a more patient strategy on the golf course since his swing coach Boyd Summerhays has been on the bag resulting in 3rd at the 3M Open and 4th at the PGA Championship. RESULT: MC

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Matthew Wolff 1pt EW 60/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Matthew Wolff was amazingly impressive at the PGA Championship. As I said in my Collin Morikawa commentary that week, following the mantra that ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ certainly paid dividends with Collin, who amazingly this week could grab the World Number 1 spot if he finishes first or runner-up in Boston. But back to Wolff, who at just 21 years of age, now sits at 37th in the OWGR and 34th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Wolff is another prestigious ex-World Amateur World Number 1, who won 6 events across 2018 and 2019 when he played for Oklahoma State University. And it’s becoming clear that with Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, Matthew is acclimatising to top-level professional golf very nicely. He’s also on a very nice run when it comes to ‘up-state’ golf courses. The winner of the 3M Open at the Arnold Palmer designed TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota last year, Wolff’s form has again improved when the PGA Tour has moved to non-Bermudagrass agronomy.

2nd at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, Michigan in June, Wolff has also finished 12th when defending his 3M Open title in late July and then 4th last time out on the Bentgrass Poa Annua mix greens at TPC Harding Park. That’s right Wolff finished 4th in his first ever Major Championship and more to the point ranked 11th for Driving Distance, 12th for Driving Accuracy, 2nd for Total Driving, 1st for Greens in Regulation, 1st for Ball Striking and 4th for All-Round. In Strokes Gained parlance he was 2nd for Off the Tee, 3rd for Approach and 1st for Tee to Green. His weekend 68/65 at TPC Harding Park, was only beaten by Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau.

6th for Driving Distance – All Drives and 3rd for Going for the Green across this season to date, the bomber-friendly climes at TPC Boston should be right up his street. With momentum and the confidence of a Major top-5 in his back pocket, I think Wolff could play a major part in proceedings this week in Massachusetts. RESULT: T44

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Cameron Champ 1pt EW 90/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

I will finish with another young talent who played exceptionally well in San Francisco and that’s Cameron Champ.

Not as well-rounded as the aforementioned Morikawa, Wolff and Hovland, you do get a discount with the 25 year-old from Sacramento, California. Already a 2-time winner on the PGA Tour, Champ will want to make his first Tour Championship in only his second season on the PGA Tour and at 20th in the FEC, a decent performance this week will lock him into East Lake. And that isn’t beyond the realms of possibility after a superb 10th place finish at the PGA Championship a fortnight ago. 1st for Driving Distance, 10th for Total Driving, 4th for Greens in Regulation, 4th for Ball Striking and 14th for All-Round, anything similar this week will only see him towards the top of the Northern Trust leaderboard.

As relatively new to the PGA Tour scene, his best finishes this season have all been on Bentgrass-based putting surfaces. 1st at Silverado, 14th at Colonial, 12th at the Detroit Golf Club and 10th at TPC Harding Park, Champ should like the wide fairways and risk and reward nature this week at TPC Boston. That risk and reward element works as this season he also ranks 2nd for Driving Distance – All Drives, 8th for Going for the Green, 17th for Birdie Average and 36th for par-5 Birdie or Better Conversion. If his long irons remain as penetrating as they did in California a fortnight ago and his confidence remains high, there’s no reason why Champ cannot be a feature again this week. RESULT: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:00BST 17.8.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.