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The Barclays: Expert Picks

Playoffs have started, time for Dustin to step it up...again

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Barclays
When: August 25th -€” 28th
Where: Bethpage State Park -€” Black Course
2015 Winner: Jason Day (-19)

This is the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs

The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers, 1 C golfer and one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

Bethpage -€” Black Course -€” I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet this year, but this is one of my favorite courses in the world. Maybe I'm a sadist but the difficulty of the course matched with its beauty is a thing to behold. Created in 1936 by A.W. Tillinghast, this course is notable for being one of the hardest courses in America. The fairways are quite narrow and present gaps forcing players to carefully aim their shots. The hardest part are the greens which are even more narrow (around 5,500 square feet). The rough is unforgiving and hard to hit out of and the holes tend to be on the longer side favoring players who can really hit the ball. Look for golfers who have strokes gained approaching the green to have favorable chances here.


A: 
Dustin Johnson -€” While Adam Scott should also bode favorable at this venue, I'm going with the guy who finished 3rd when they played here back in 2012. The same guy who is 18th on strokes gained approaching the green and is 2nd in the FedEx Cup rankings for a reason. Yes he capped off 6 straight top ten finishes with a missed cut at the PGA Championship. That will happen. But he took a few weeks off and is back at it where he finished 9th in 2015, didn't play in 2014, Missed Cut in 2013, 3rd in 2012 and won it in 2011.

B: 
Hideki Matsuyama -€” I haven't picked him much this year, I picked him when he won the Phoenix Management back in February and then I picked him when he flummoxed me with a 103 at the Memorial. He's had a tumultuous last ten tournaments with 6 top 20 finishes, 3 missed cuts and one 42nd place finish. He's 2nd on the tour in strokes gained approaching the green, he finished 13th at Barclays in 2015 and 30th in 2014.

Kevin Chappell -€”Now here is a brazen pick, you probably won't see many going with Kevin, most likely because he's missed two consecutive cuts. With that said, he's 8th on the tour in strokes gained approaching the green, he finished 24th here last year, 30th at Barclays in 2014, 15th here in 2013 and sadly missed the cut when it was played at Bethpage in 2012. He also drives efficiently being 10th in strokes gained tee to green. I don't think he'll win or even finish top 5 but I think he has a good chance at a top 20 finish.

C:
Paul Casey -€” He has three top 20 finishes in his last 4 tournaments, he's  24th in strokes gained approaching the green, he has an ok track record at the Barclays -€” 39th in 2015 and 22nd in 2014. He has a powerful drive and the ability to approach the greens.

Sleeper Pick:
Kevin Na -€”
It's tough to form a "sleeper pick" in the FedEx playoffs because all of these golfers fall within the top 125. With that said, Kevin Na is 4th on the tour in strokes gained approaching the green, he's 9th in the FedEx Rankings right now, he has top 30 finishes in 6 straight tournaments including back to back top ten finishes coming into the Barclays and he finished in the top 20 the last two years at the Barclays.

Last tournament results -€” Wyndham Championship (156 total) -€” Picks: Bradley, Simpson, Snedeker, Haas, Cauley
A: 46th place
B: 3rd place; 72nd place
C: 22nd place
Dark Horse: 10th place

In 20 of the 29 tournaments (69%) this year one or more of my golfers have finished in the top ten. I'm hoping to get to 70%.


YTD Avg: (Average field of 136 people)
A: 37th place 
B: 32rd place
C: 50th place
Dark Horse: 48th place

Fun factoid about this tournament: No one starting outside the FedEx Cup top 30 has ever won the FedEx Cup. This means one of these gentlemen will likely win the FedEx Cup
Rank      PLAYER NAME

1              Jason Day
2              Dustin Johnson
3              Adam Scott
4              Russell Knox
5              Jordan Spieth
6              Brandt Snedeker
7              Patrick Reed
8              Phil Mickelson
9              Kevin Na
10           Justin Thomas
11           Kevin Kisner
12           Hideki Matsuyama
13           Kevin Chappell
14           Henrik Stenson
15           Si Woo Kim
16           William McGirt
17           Jimmy Walker
18           Matt Kuchar
19           Brooks Koepka
20           Sergio Garcia