FedEx Cup Playoffs to feature never before used golf course

Kicking off the FedEx Cup Playoffs is The Northern Trust, formally known on the PGA Tour as The Barclays. The top players are back in the field this week with Hideki Matsuyama currently leading the standings by 180 points.

Researching this week’s tournament is much more difficult given the fact this golf course has never been in the PGA rotation until this year. Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, New York, is a beautiful course that was named the 2015 Club of the Year by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association and is a par 70 layout with boa and bentgrass greens.

With no course history to view, recent form will factor in greatly to determine fantasy and betting picks. Because of that, notice the change below where I altered the stat model to golfer’s last 36 rounds down to 24 to give me a better idea of who’s currently hot. But we can still take a look at statistics to determine which golfers best suit this golf course.

I’m looking at these key stats as players to target:

 Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – A common stat to look at, but a beneficial one at The Northern Trust given this track is long.

Strokes Gained: Approach – With many par 4s that succeed 450 yards, there will be many long approach shots this week, so I’m targeting players who have excelled in the approach stat.

Greens in Regulation – The bunkers at Glen Oaks Club aren’t particularly deep, but there are many of them. With that said, I want guys who can pinpoint flag sticks and stick their shots on the carpet.

Par 4 Scoring: 450-500 yards – Like I mentioned, there are several long par 4s – 10 that are 438-500 yards.

Note: All stats courtesy of FantasyNational.com are based on the last 24 rounds.

The Favorites

Hideki Matsuyama (10-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 4th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 15th
GIRs – 4th
P4: 450-500 – 7th

Among the top dogs this week at 10-1 or 11-1 odds, Matsuyama is the rightful favorite over Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. No one has collectively played better golf this summer than Matsuyama, beginning with a runner-up performance at the U.S. Open and highlighted by the victory at WGC-Bridgestone. Matsuyama was outperforming the field at the PGA Championship two weeks back before a Sunday let down dropped him to 5th. You can’t ignore the red-hot run he’s on right now.

Paul Casey (33-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 3rd
Strokes Gained: Approach – 1st
GIRs – 1st
P4: 450-500 – 4th

Paul Casey is the pick this week because my God look at those stat rankings! Another interesting note: the Englishman has putted much better on boa/bentgrass greens in his career – gaining 1.125 strokes with the flat stick. Casey has done everything right this year on Tour, except win. Make 15 consecutive cuts? Done that. Finish top 15 in three of the four majors? Yep. I actually find myself pulling for Casey because he hasn’t won a PGA event since 2009. That’s absurd for a guy of his caliber. He’s the number one golfer in the stat model this week and at 33-1, he’s a must-bet if you’re into that sort of thing.

Matt Kuchar (35-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 9th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 26th
GIRs – 17th
P4: 450-500 – 13th

After his Sunday showdown with Spieth at The Open, fantasy players stayed away from selecting Kuchar to their PGA Championship DFS lineups thinking he was simply out of gas. However, he put up a solid 9th place showing and continues to quietly play some of the best golf week in and week out. In addition, he’s another guy with an advantage on these type of greens The Northern Trust offers with 0.5 difference in his favor. Kooch hasn’t won since 2014 but that’s likely to change sooner than later.

In addition, he’s another guy with an advantage on these type of greens The Northern Trust offers with 0.5 difference in his favor. Kooch hasn’t won since 2014 but that’s likely to change sooner than later.

The Sleepers

Francesco Molinari (60-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 2nd
Strokes Gained: Approach – 5th
GIRs – 2nd
P4: 450-500 – 6th

Molinari nearly bests Casey in the stat model, but comes in at second overall with a discounted price tag. Despite missed cuts at both the U.S. Open and British Open, it’s easy to like Molinari in the FedEx Cup race after his second-place finish at the PGA Championship. He’s still seeking his first PGA Tour win, though, so he’ll need a career-best month and a half to secure enough points. The Italian makes for a fine play this week if you need someone you can count on to contend.

He’s still seeking his first PGA Tour win, though, so he’ll need a career-best month and a half to secure enough points. The Italian makes for a fine play this week if you need someone you can count on to contend.

Daniel Berger (66-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 15th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 2nd
GIRs – 28th
P4: 450-500 – 10th

Berger disappointed many players two weeks ago after a missed cut at the PGA, which might keep his ownership a bit lower than normal. But I like the 24-year-old’s chances this week and is a darkhorse candidate to seriously contend for the FedEx Cup (currently 8th). He’s an excellent ball striker and has won on Tour this year, along with four additional top fives, so don’t sleep on him.

Ian Poulter (75-1)

Strokes Gained: T2G – 7th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 3rd
GIRs – 18th
P4: 450-500 – 3rd

Now that Poulter is healthy, he has played very well over his last three tournaments (22nd, 3rd, 14th). We know he’s not going to outdrive anyone, but his putter has been fire recently, highlighted by 10 strokes gained at the PGA Championship. Even without that stat, he still ranks fourth overall in this model.