Northern Trust Preview and Picks

The Northern Trust Preview & Picks

Last Week

The Wyndham was the final regular-season PGA event before the FedExCup Playoff gets underway this week.

In a relatively uneventful tournament journeyman Jim Herman ultimately took the win. With this, his third career win, he jumps from number 192 in the FedExCup standings, to 54th – and has secured a place in the Playoffs for just the fourth time in his career.

Herman was a 750-1 outsider for the Wyndham and came into the event off the back of 11 missed cuts. A final round 63 was enough to get the job done with Herman (-21) holding off Billy Horschel to win by one stroke. 

OddsBoom’s main selection - Kevin Kisner - ended up T3 after starting the event priced at 40-1. 

He was unlucky not to contend, only dropping five shots throughout the tournament, but missed some makeable birdie chances in all four of his rounds. A fast start is always needed at the Wyndham, and Kisner’s round one 69 meant he had too much ground to make up over the weekend. 

This Week

The top 125 in the FedExCup standings will line up this week at TPC Boston for the first of the 2020 playoff events.

The field will be cut to 70 players on Sunday, before the best 30 moves on to the playoff final in Atlanta in two weeks’ time.

As you would expect we will see one of the strongest line ups of the year outside the majors this week in Boston. Current world number one, Justin Thomas, as will Collin Morikawa, the newly crowned USPGA champion.

Tiger Woods returns to the field and will hope to improve on some poor recent form. Previous course winners including Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Rickie Fowler also feature. 

The Course

TPC Boston plays host to the Northern Trust. Last year, the event was played at Liberty National, ash the two courses host the event in alternating years.

Patrick Reed was victorious at Liberty National in 2019, and TPC Boston will offer a similar challenge to that which met the field in 2019.

An Arnold Palmer designed, par 71 layout – measuring 7,342 yards, TPC Boston is a long and challenging course. Approach shots regularly come from +175 yards out – so players with a strong long iron game will tend to perform well here. 

With water only coming into play on four holes – the course presents an array of other challenges to the field this week. A classic risk and reward course – the two par 5 holes play short at under 550 yards each. These are therefore reachable in two for all but the shortest hitters on the Tour. 

The course has been a regular calling point on the PGA tour. Last year the two par 5s gave up 21 eagles and 285 birdies to the field. Those able to attack the greens this week are likely to be well rewarded. Winners of the Dell in recent years have generally been some of the biggest hitters in the game.

2018 saw Bryson DeChambeau triumph here, Justin Thomas won in 2017, Rory McIlroy in 2016 and Rickie Fowler in 2015 – all being considered some of the biggest hitters on the Tour. 

Players to focus on

With an ultra-strong line up on show this week – it will not be a surprise if the event is won by one of the big guns. One of the biggest hitters on Tour, Brooks Koepka – would normally be fancied to go well here, the layout is one which should suit his game. But his recent missed cuts are worrying, and he appears to be carrying multiple injuries. He can be discounted. 

Patrick Reed is our first selection. Available to back at a price of (+2800), Reed is the ‘defending champion’. He won last year’s Northern Trust, played at Liberty National – so will hope to be able to replicate that win here in Boston. Despite the different layout, a similar game is required to win around TPC Boston. 

Reed’s recent form is also encouraging. He played consistently last week at the Wyndham, closing the event with a fourth round 64. It seemed as though he could have been a major contender after a 65 in round one – but his middle rounds let him down somewhat. Saying that, he ended as T9 overall – his third top 10 finish since the resumption of the Tour. 

A strength of his game last week was his ‘strokes gained with irons’ – picking up 4.5 strokes over the weekend to finish 3rd in that category over the weekend. As mentioned – accurate long iron approach play is set to be vital here this week, and Reed excels in that part of his game. 

Couple his recent good form with his course form and he becomes an even more attractive selection. Reed has secured three top-six finishes here at TPC Boston over the years. He clearly enjoys playing here and has shown that he also plays well at this time of year. Despite the Northern Trust being played a week later than originally slated, Reed has won in August before and will hope to secure a win here after featuring so many times before. 

Another selection to consider is Billy Horschel – hot off the back of his 2nd place finish at The Wyndham. Horschel is available to back at a huge price of 60-1. He is a hot streak player – when he is in form he tends to back up good results week after week. He was unlucky not to win last week, often looking the most likely winner on Sunday – but was just outscored by Jim Herman. 

He also has strong course form here at TPC Boston. In 2014 he was playing in the final group on Sunday, needing a birdie on 18 to force a playoff. He failed to get the shot he required, and ended up T2 overall. Strong course form to consider, mixed with excellent recent form – meaning it would be no surprise if Billy Horschel was able to feature this week in Boston. 

Conclusion

Take two against the field this week in Boston.

Patrick Reed is fancied to go well at a course that suits him, and he has shown he can get the job done in the very biggest events on the calendar.

Billy Horschel has perhaps never met his huge potential but often plays well at this time of year, and has strong course form in the locker. Both men will fancy themselves to go well here this week. 


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