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Preview: Deutsche Bank Championship

Deutsche Bank ChampionshipPreview – PGA Tour – FedEx Cup Playoffs – Deutsche Bank Championship – TPC Boston – Norton, Massachusetts —

The quest for the FedEx Cup title and a spot in the TOUR Championship heats up this week as the second-leg FedEx Cup Playoffs arrives.

This week’s Deutsche Bank Championship features a Friday start with a Monday finish on Labor Day. TPC Boston hosts the event featuring 100 players with only the

Rory McIlroy current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR) ***Local Caption*** Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR)

Top 70 advancing to next week’s BMW Championship.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who was idle last week, returns to action this week in Boston. He now has 12 players between himself and the FedEx Cup Playoff standings leader Jason Day, who is coming off an impressive victory at The Barclays. The Top 5 players in the standings heading into the TOUR Championship in Atlanta all have a chance to control their own fate and win the FedEx Cup.

Henrik Stenson’s runner-up finish last week jumped him from 41st to 4th in the standings.

It’s rare that three players have a chance to take the No. 1 world ranking in a given week, but that’s the case this week with Rory, Day and Jordan Spieth.

TPC Boston features the par-5 18th hole — a unique finishing hole with a pair of bunkers in the center of the fairway. This year’s added twist is a much smaller putting surface at No. 18, which is expected to create more drama. The championship usually comes down to this hole with the possibility of two- and three-shot swings.

The par-71 layout, stretching to 7,207 yards, is suitable for a variety of types of players so long as they fire birdies. The event has produced strong past champions including Vijay Singh twice including 2004 and 2008, Steve Stricker (2009), Phil Mickelson (2007) and Adam Scott (2003). Charley Hoffman captured the title in 2010. McIlroy won in 2012 edging Louis Oosthuizen and Tiger Woods for the title. He logged 20-under.

FECupPlayoffs_Prf_6c_Pos [Converted]The winner will need to go low at the Hanse Golf Course Design. Historically, the course provides plenty of birdie opportunities. The scoring average last year was just over 69 per round. Stenson’s final score of 22-under in 2013 was the tournament’s best 72-hole mark.

2014 Recap:

  • Chris Kirk (15-under) captured the title thanks to a final-round 66 at TPC Boston. He beat out a trio of players including — Geoff Ogilvy, Russell Henley and Billy Horschel – by two strokes. Mcllroy and John Senden logged T-5 efforts, while Day, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas recorded Top 10s.

The Golf Channel has exclusive television coverage Friday and Saturday for the opening rounds of play, and handles early coverage Sunday and Monday with NBC

2nd leg of Playoffs in Boston this week

2nd leg of Playoffs in Boston this week

Sports bringing home the leaders.

FANTASY: Look for some surprise names to pop to the top of the leader board this week. Last year’s Ogilvy and Kirk jumped up. Henley was also in the mix. This year, perhaps keep on Gary Woodland, who’s power could bode well here. He is also trying to make a Presidents’ Cup impression for a captain’s pick. Robert Streb, 9th in the standings, could also shine along with Danny Lee, who has had a great season including a victory. For the cream, take Day again. Ride his hot streak. He was also Top 10 here a season ago. Simpson needs a strong finish and competed well here at TPC Boston in 2014. Take Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka — both looking for their first playoff victory.

Jason Day current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR) Jason Day

Jason Day current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by Caryn Levy/PGA TOUR)

BETTING: Day tops the betting field at 4-to-1 odds at www.ladbrokes.com followed by Rory and Spieth at 6-1 odds. Rory was T-5 here a season ago. But for a value pick with a bigger payoff, consider Rickie Fowler at 40-1. Fowler has been quiet of late and needs a bounce-back week after a missed cut. Paul Casey (66-1) could fare well in Boston along with PGA Tour Rookie Tony Finau (also 66-1). For a seasoned pro, take Justin Rose at 16-1.

Other Golf News:

  • Wales’ Bradley Dredge leads the way at 10-under at the European Tour’s M2m Russian Open. He leads Lee Slattery by a shot after halfway point.
  • The LPGA Tour returns next week for the season’s final major at The Evian Championship in France.
  • The Champions Tour visits Canada this week for the Quebec Championship. Wes Short Jr. is the defending champion.
  • Day, who leads the FedEx Cup Standings after a win last week, is off to a hot start at TPC Boston. He is 3-under through five holes to take the outright lead. Day can become World No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a victory.