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The Tour Championship 2021 Predictions: Cantlay the Play

Patrick Cantley has every opportunity to win the Tour Championship this week
Patrick Cantley has every opportunity to win the Tour Championship this week
By J.N. Campbell

Course: East Lake Golf Club

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Date: Sept. 2 - 5, 2021

Par: 70, Yardage: 7,346

Purse: $60 million, Winner: $15 million

Fairways/Rough: Zoysiagrass/Bermudagrass

Greens: Bermudagrass Ultra Dwarf


The Tour Championship has arrived, and as the capstone to one of golf’s greatest prizes, it will set in motion a fascinating finish come Sunday. The format does an exquisite job of weighing the FedEx Point System that runs throughout the year, with weight given to the final 2 rounds of the Playoffs (Northern Trust and BMW). Whoever is hottest coming into August has an advantage at this point because the Top 30 players will be given starting scores based on where they ended up after the BMW on Sunday. In Atlanta, there will not be a “Cut” when Friday is complete. So, it is entirely conceivable that a player who begins the 4-day event down the Leaderboard could climb all the way to the top, if he plays exceedingly well (Rory McIlroy’s 2019 push comes to mind).

Once again, East Lake GC will host the final 4 days of play (as they have since 2005), and this is a punishing course to try and drive. With thin fairways, you cannot just blast drives from the back tees, and hope to scramble your way through to a birdie. That is where the bogies start to stack up, and those types of miscues can land the leaders in trouble. This Final Round over 4 days can really wreck a player’s stroke total. It is a reminder that just because you start out around any of the bottom positions (say -1), does not mean that is where you will end up. That is the true beauty of this format … the script is hardly written, as of yet. What this comes down to is two-fold … who can string together the best 3-4 rounds … and who can make the least number of errors when the pressure is on.

Last week, we did not score with Xander Schauffele. He had flashes of brilliance, shooting a 67 and 68 halfway through the BMW Championship. However, once the weekend arrived, he went to pieces, and ended up with a 75 on Saturday. That put him out of contention, and he ended up signing his card on Sunday with a 71. Where we cleaned up was the choice of Bryson “Mr. Rulebook” DeChambeau over the Brooks “Nails on a Chalkboard” Koepka. Although the latter acquitted himself well by shooting a combined -14 … with a final FedEx Rank of #15, the more meaningful result that we notched was picking the Swede, Alex Norén. As predicted, he finished in the Top Ten, ending up T-9 with a pair of 66s. That was awfully good enroute to a -18. What a victory indeed!

As we complete the 2021 Season in what also is American-hosted Ryder Cup, it should be an exciting September ending … 

Tour Championship Positioning Based on the FedEx Cup Standings … 

  1. Patrick Cantlay (-10)
  2. Tony Finau (-8)
  3. B. DeChambeau (-7)
  4. Jon Rahm (-6)
  5. Cameron Smith (-5)
  6. Justin Thomas (-4)
  7. Harris English (-4)
  8. Abraham Ancer (-4)
  9. Jordan Spieth (-4)
  10. Sam Burns (-4)
  11. Collin Morikawa (-3)
  12. Sunjae Im (-3)
  13. Viktor Hovland (-3)
  14. Louis Oosthuizen (-3)
  15. Dustin Johnson (-3)
  16. Rory McIlroy (-2)
  17. X. Schauffele (-2)
  18. Jason Kokrak (-2)
  19. Kevin Na (-2)
  20. Brooks Koepka (-2)
  21. Corey Connors (-1)
  22. Hideki M. (-1)
  23. Stewart Cink (-1)
  24. Joaquin Niemann (-1)
  25. Scottie Scheffler (-1)
  26. Daniel Berger (E)
  27. Erik van Rooyen (E)
  28. Sergio Garcia (E)
  29. Billy Horschel (E)
  30. Patrick Reed (E)

A few promising prop bets …

Comeback Kid w/ Superior Value (Xander Schauffele +2500) starts Thursday @(-2)

The soon-to-be 28-yr-old is well-priced coming into the final 4 days of the chase for the FedEx Cup. If you look at who is one of the most consistent participants in this event over the past few years, then this fellow would land towards the top of the heap. He seems poised to win all the marbles. The real question is … can the San Diego Aztec make up 10 shots over the course of 2-3 days? It is going to take at least that to play his way into contention. If there is anyone capable of executing such a tough task, then it’s Schauffele. Some of his greatest assets, approach shot pin-seeking and sand save percentage, can be put to good use when the pressure is on. Speaking to that last point, I continue to be bullish on him because of his mind and approach to the game. There is no “stat,” per se, for the mental game of golf, but this time of year, it is essential to be ready for anything. Schauffele has it … and that is one of the key reasons why I am going to put him in my wagers this week.

Threat as the Sleeper Pick (Abe Ancer +2800) starts Thursday @(-4)

My campaign to promote the 2021 exploits of one Abe Ancer continues apace … If you are looking for a “value” wager before Thursday, then pick this young man, who is playing as well as ever. Talk about a mark of consistency, and absolutely underrated in every way! Ancer’s masterpiece came in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where he bested the always-trusty Sam Burns, and The Masters Champion, Hideki Matsuyama. It is going to take a series of low scores for him to get into the “hunt” this week. But I will say this … he is more than capable of going tee-to-green with the best of these 29 other players. Starting at 4 under on Thursday, just 6 shots off the lead, there is more than enough time for him to shine. That is what makes him so dangerous … the ability to string together a series of birdies, and all of a sudden, he is back in contention. This year was Ancer’s coming-out-party, and I like his chances mightily coming into the final FedEx trench run. When I see odds like this, I think he is a definite overlay! What a bet!

Momentum Play, for the Win … (Patrick Cantlay +450) starts Thursday @(-10)

I am sure Patrick Cantlay was always a hardy soul on the links, and maybe his nerves of steel are innate. However, over this past weekend at the BMW Championship, he did not let anything phase him throughout the tournament. He took his game to a whole other level, in my estimation. Facing one of the game’s latest stars in Bryson DeChambeau, he faced down all of his foe’s antics … and yes, that is the proper attribution. On Hole 14, when the former SMU Physics Major asked him to “Please stop walking …” after he hit his own shot, Cantlay handled the situation with aplomb. Unfazed, he used that moment as wind in his sails, and his drive down the stretch was a site to behold. On 18, Cantlay drilled a crucial put, as DeChambeau watched, sending the match into overtime. He applied pressure as the 2 traded shot after shot; finally, he made a monster putt that put the tournament on ice. Sending DeChambeau into the crowd of hecklers, Cantlay proved what a class act he can be. I like his chances this week to win it all, even if it means accepting a short price. As far as I am concerned, he is worth every penny, and if he can continue to play at as high a level as he did in the BMW, the Cup and $15 million is his for the taking.  


Enjoy the final drive to the FedEx Cup! It’s time once again for The Tour Championship …

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