By Walker Polivka
The FedEx Cup Playoffs and PGA Tour season wrap up this week with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and player to fade predictions.
Player to Fade: Corey Conners- Playing in his 3rd Tour Championship, Conners has put together a solid season, with 4 top 10’s and 12 top 25’s in 24 starts. Conners is one of the better ball strikers on tour, ranking 21st in Driving Accuracy Percentage and 3rd in Greens In Regulation Percentage, which usually leads to success at a tight and narrow course like East Lake Golf Club. Nonetheless, East Lake is not a course that sets up well for Conners, finishing T-22 and T-26 in his 2 prior starts here. Conners will start the week T-20, 9 strokes off the lead and we predict that it won’t get much better, as Conners will finish outside the top 20 yet again at East Lake.
Dark Horse: Scott Stallings- Stallings has been on an absolute heater of late, with 4 top 10 finishes in his last 6 starts, capped off by a runner-up finish last week at the BMW Championship. Making his first start in the Tour Championship this week, there are very few holes in Stallings’ game right now, as he is gaining strokes in each of the 6 major Strokes Gained categories. If anything, Stallings’ short game has helped him thrive the most this summer, ranking inside the top 50 in Sand Save Percentage, Scrambling, Scrambling From The Rough, Putting Average, and Strokes Gained: Putting. Stallings may be a bit too far back in the field to be a threat to win this week, but another top 10 finish is certainly within his reach.
Top 10: Xander Schauffele- Schauffele is in the midst of a career year, with 3 wins, 6 top 10’s, and 14 top 25’s in 20 starts. Fresh off of a T-3 finish at the BMW Championship, Schauffele has been absolutely dominant at East Lake in his career, with 1 win, 2 runner-ups, 4 top 5’s, and 5 top 10’s in 5 career Tour Championship starts. Schauffele’s stats are excellent across the board and he is another one of the excellent ball strikers on tour, ranking 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, 8th in Strokes Gained: Approach The Green, and 11th in Greens in Regulation Percentage. Schauffele will most certainly be in the mix for the win on Sunday, but a top 10 finish is a lock.
Winner: Patrick Cantlay- The defending FedEx Cup Champion, Cantlay has put together a fantastic title defense campaign, with 2 wins, 11 top 10’s, and 13 top 25’s in 19 starts. Cantlay has also put together a quietly great run to close out the back end of the season, with 1 win, 5 top 10’s, and 7 top 15’s in his last 8 starts. Like many of the other players playing in the Tour Championship, there are very few holes in Cantlay’s game currently, as he is ranked inside the top 50 in all 6 of the major Strokes Gained categories. Cantlay won the FedEx Cup after winning the BMW Championship and Tour Championship to close out last season. Cantlay successfully defended his title last week at the BMW Championshop and we predict that history will repeat itself, with Patrick Cantlay successfully defending his title at the Tour Championship and winning the FedEx Cup for the second consecutive year!