Tour Championship Each-Way Tips: Webb can bridge the gap at East Lake

American Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson can hit the jackpot
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The FedEx Cup Playoffs come to a conclusion and Dave Tindall is back with three each-way selections for the finale at East Lake...

"He returns in arguably the form of his life and, significantly, has the edge in freshness having chosen to skip last week's war of attrition at the BMW Championship."

Back Webb Simpson each-way @ 10/1

Main Bet: Webb Simpson each-way @ 10/1

Giving the World Nos. 1, 2 and 3 a start is hardly ideal but that's the task for the rest of the field as they chase FedEx Cup glory at this week's season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

The format means day one begins with a staggered leaderboard based on where the 30 qualifiers sit in the FedExCup standings after last week's BMW Championship.

And lo and behold, the top three in the standings are the exact same 1-2-3 in the world rankings.

So World No. 1 Dustin Johnson heads the pack, No.2 Jon Rahm is in second and No.3 Justin Thomas sits third.

Here's how the pre-tournament leaderboard looks for the Friday start:

-10 Dustin Johnson
-8 Jon Rahm
-7 Justin Thomas
-6 Webb Simpson
-5 Collin Morikawa
-4 Daniel Berger, Harris English, Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama
-3 Brendon Todd, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Sebastian Munoz
-2 Lanto Griffin, Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau
-1 Kevin Kisner, Abraham Ancer, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Na, Marc Leishman
Ev Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland, Mackenzie Hughes, Cameron Champ, Billy Horschel

While simplifying the whole process - the bloke on top of the leaderboard on Monday evening wins the FedExCup jackpot - it doesn't make for a great betting heat.

The top three are the last players who need a leg up but because they've flourished that's their rightful reward.

It's likely one of that trio wins, hence the prices of 15/8 DJ, 11/4 Rahm and 11/2 Thomas.

However, DJ was 30th and last 12 months ago, Rahm hasn't set the world alight at East Lake (13-11-7 in a field size of 30) while a negative take on Thomas is that he's only made the top five once in four starts and has current form of 25-49-37.

All three had a tough week at the BMW Championship so the door could be slightly ajar and the one who could walk through it is the fourth-placed player on the list.

Webb Simpson has to make up four shots on Johnson, two on Rahm and one on Thomas which is tough but not exactly impossible.

Third and sixth in his last two events and twice a winner this season, Simpson has two top fours and a fifth in his last six appearances here.

But he returns in arguably the form of his life and, significantly, has the edge in freshness having chosen to skip last week's war of attrition at the BMW Championship.

Simpson's form on Bermuda greens is superb and his all-round prowess on a course that isn't about bombing suggests he can bridge the gap.

An each-way bet at 10/1 (5 places) will reap a profit if he holds his position or drops a spot to fifth but I'm hopeful he can hit top spot and scoop the jackpot.

Next Bet: Hideki Matsuyama each-way @ 25/1

Hideki Matsuyama shades 1280.jpg

As I have doubts over fifth-placed Collin Morikawa - mental fatigue and some question marks on Bermuda - I think there's more each-way scope to be found so I'll play Hideki Matsuyama at 25/1.

To start with, he's a proven performer at East Lake.

The Japanese ace opened with a 66 before taking fifth in 2016, improved to fourth in 2018 thanks to a closing 65 and also added a pair of 66s last year; a second round 75 limited him to T12.

The first-round leader on Bermuda at TPC Sawgrass before The Players Championship was cancelled after 18 holes, he'd been solid rather than spectacular since golf returned with five finishes of T29 or better in six starts.

However, he stepped it up with a third place at last week's BMW Championship so comes in with confidence raised.

After wielding a stone-cold putter for far too long, he's now registered a positive Strokes Gained: Putting start in each of the last three events.

It's not exactly gone red-hot but previous winners here have hardly torn it up on the greens: three of the last four ranked 11th or worse out of 30 for the week.

The recipe is solid putting and prowess from tee to green. And at Olympia Fields, Matsuyama ranked 2nd SG: Tee To Green to suggest his game is the right one to succeed.

"I played great these three days, so I just need to hit the ball well tomorrow and putt well and see where I'm at," he said last week ahead of a closing 69.

It's possible to play him in the Lowest 72 Hole Score market (6/1 Rahm, 13/2 DJ, 9/1 Thomas, McIlroy, 11/1 Simpson, Schauffele, 14/1 Finau, 16/1 DeChambeau, Morikawa, Matsuyama, 18/1 Berger, 22/1 Horschel, 30/1 bar).

But it's not easy to keep track and concentration levels could dip for someone who, without knowing, could be on track to win this market but not the overall prize.

Therefore, I'll back Matsuyama in the main 'Winner' market at 25/1.

There's enough juice in the each-way price and even if reeling in the top four will be hard, at -4 he'll start just one stroke behind Morikawa in fifth so is very capable of finishing in the top five.

Final Bet: Xander Schauffele each-way @ 25/1

It's a bit of a stretch but I'll also dip to the -3s and play Xander Schauffele at 25s.

Yes, making up seven on DJ, five on Rahm and three on Thomas is a major ask but, hey, he did that quite comfortably last year when finishing 10-under for the week and ending runner-up to Rory McIlroy.

And two years earlier, on his course debut, Schauffele fired 12-under (69-66-65-68) to lift the trophy.

Tied seventh inbetween, his course record here really is exceptional and, of the chasing pack, he looks a live candidate to pull off something special.

As for current form, he's reeled off seven straight top 25s so has some excellent baseline consistency.

His best finish, tied sixth, came on the Bermuda greens at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and if there's a course where he could really put it all together it's this one.

The numbers and required skill-sets explain a chunk of the story but he's also got his own take.

Speaking last year, Schauffele said: "My best guess would be, just the southern hospitality, East Lake, the staff to the tournament, just the style of this tournament being a limited field. It's pretty exclusive. It's very relaxed.

"For how important and how top-notch this tournament is, it's a very surprisingly relaxed week. You don't see a bunch of guys grinding on the range in 90 degrees.

"I just think I'm comfortable, and it sort of feeds into my sort of California vibe surprisingly, just because it's so laid back."

Given where he is in the standings - T10 and not expected to be in the shake-up - he's in ideal position to freewheel and play loose: to enjoy chasing rather than having the target on his back.

He's won his four events from five, three, two and three shots back respectively so Schauffele is certainly a dangerman if he can get himself somewhere near the leaders with 18 to play.

Staked: £994
Returned: £1007.83
P/L: +£13.83

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

Dave Tindall,

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