Teeing Off: The Coral Golf Blog
The FedEx Cup concludes this weekend with the final 30 players competing for a $10m reward for winning the overall competition. The top five players, including Tiger Woods and Monday’s winner Zach Johnson, have control of their own destiny as they know victory at East Lake will ensure they take the top prize. The redeveloped Donald Ross par 70 course, which plays to 7,307 yards, has proved a tough test for the field in recent years. Brandt Snedeker landed the biggest cheque in golf 12 months ago and he is the fourth successive American to win the season finale in Atlanta.
Bill Haas comes in under the radar much like he did two years ago when he pulled off a shock victory to land the huge prize. The talented American emerged as the winner after a play-off on his first and only appearance so far at East Lake. The 31-year-old is 18th in the rankings so has no pressure or expectation on his shoulders. Having such positive memories from his previous success at the venue, it would be no surprise if he mounted another challenge this weekend.
But it his consistency this season which is a more persuasive reason for backing the five-time PGA Tour winner. Haas picked up a victory this summer when he landed the AT&T National at Congressional. This is one of eight top tens he has posted during 2013. Haas is fifth in par four performance this year which will prove a major asset on a course which features 12 of them. He is also seventh in bogey avoidance and the solid ball striker looks decent value at 40/1 to upset the big names.
Luke Donald’s fast finish on Monday at his home course helped him scrape inside the final 30 and squeeze into the Tour Championship. The Englishman shot nine-under-par in his final two rounds to tie for fourth place and heads to East Lake with plenty of momentum. The way he moved swiftly up the leaderboard will have been exactly the injection of confidence the former world number one needs after a disappointing season by his standards.
Having reached the finale, Donald will be upbeat about his chances at a course where he has an excellent track record. The 35-year-old has finished no worse than a tie for third in the last three seasons at East Lake. His best performance was second in 2010 and he also came in the top five in 2006 so this is a venue where he clearly feels at home. Donald will be determined to produce a big performance to end his PGA Tour season and looks each way value at 20/1.
Another player who comes in this week with real momentum is Nick Watney. The powerful American shot an excellent 64 on Monday as he surged through the field to finish second behind Zach Johnson. It was further proof Watney is quickly rediscovering his game after a pretty forgettable season. His form dipped so much during the summer that Watney opted to switch coach and his work with Todd Anderson is already paying off.
The pair started working together at the PGA Championship last month and his confidence has returned after initially missing two cuts. The 32-year-old tied for ninth in the opening playoff event at the Barclays and played solidly the following week in Boston. Watney’s performance at Conway Farms really caught the eye where he led the field in strokes gained putting. A ten-under-par weekend at East Lake three years ago shows he can handle the demands of this test and Watney should be backed at 28/1 each way.
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