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TOUR Championship preview: Day leads run for FedEx Cup finale

liveputt2Preview – PGA Tour – FedEx Cup Playoffs – TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola – East Lake Golf Club – Atlanta, Georgia –

The PGA Tour membership has been trimmed down to just 30 world-class players with a chance to win the FedEx Cup title.

After a season-long FedEx Cup competition and three progressive-cut PGA Tour Playoff events, 30 players qualified for this week’s TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

The Top 5 in the standings – Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson – are guaranteed the cup if they can win the TOUR TOUR Championship by CocaColaChampionship. Technically speaking, every player in the field has a chance to win it all with a victory at East Lake this week.

Day comes in fresh off his victory at the BWM Championship in runaway fashion. He has opened a big lead in the FedEx Cup standings and now boasts the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

With no cut this week, expect to see quite a stroke difference between the top and bottom of the leader board. Thanks to a small field, one solid round can catapult FedExCup5players into contention. Thus, expect a leader board in flux.

East Lake, where golf legend Bobby Jones learned the game, features the unique par-3 finishing hole. The par-70 layout, stretching to 7,319 yards, has hosted the TOUR Championship for more than a dozen years.

2013 Recap:

  • Billy Horschel (11-under) won the TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup title beating Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy by three shots. Day, Chris Kirk and Justin Rose finished T-4 at 7-under. Fowler logged a Top 10 at East Lake. Horschel entered the week at 23rd in the world rankings and as a 22-to-1 betting
    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) Jason Day

    underdog.

Driving the ball into the fairways is historically one of the keys to winning at East Lake. But, champions win on and around the greens, featuring Bermuda grasses.

The Golf Channel has exclusive television coverage Thursday and Friday for the opening rounds. NBC Sports handles the prime-time weekend action.

FANTASY:  Easily the hottest player in the world, Day leads the way. He is must-play in fantasy, finishing the season in record fashion and he played well at East Lake last year. Take Stenson on your team. The 2013 champion likes this track. Furyk is usually a play at here as well.

BETTING: Day is the favorite at as a 3-to-1 betting favorite at Wynn Las Vegas, but the value return remains us of Tiger Woods in his heyday. Instead look for some value elsewhere like Fowler (10-1) and even Hideki Matsuyama at 25-1. Matsuyama continues to trend in the right direction. He is due for a big win. Look for Rory to contend, but no much value as a 5-1 pick. For a super long shot payoff, take a flier on Harris English at 70-1.

europeantourlogo15Other Golf News:

  • Hunter Mahan is missing his first TOUR Championship during the FedEx Cup era. He was the alast player to earn his ticket to every TOUR Championship during the eight previous FedEx Cups. Mahan is competing this week – teeing it up on the European Tour at the Porsche European Open.
  • Vijay Singh, Colin Montogmerie and Charles Schwab Cup standings leader Jeff Maggert are featured players this week at the Champions Tour stop in famed Champions TourPebble Beach for the Nature Valley First Tee Open. Monty is the betting favorite at William Hill as a 6 ½-1 pick.
  • The Web.com Tour Finals continues this week with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Open.
  • Day would certainly make the voting interesting for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year honor with a victory and FedEx Cup this week. Spieth’s two majors seem to PGA TOURbe leading the conversation, but Day’s late-season rally — including the PGA Championship — has him in the picture.