2022 TOUR Championship First-Round Leader Picks: It’s Scottie Scheffler or No One

2022 TOUR Championship First-Round Leader Picks: It’s Scottie Scheffler or No One article feature image

Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Scheffler.

The TOUR Championship features a unique format where golfers are assigned starting strokes based on where they are in the FedEx Cup standings. Here is the top of the current leaderboard as we enter round one:

Scottie Scheffler-10
Patrick Cantlay-8
Xander Schauffele-6
Sam Burns-5

Considering that starting strokes need to be factored in, betting this event can be very tricky. Betting a first-round-leader in this market is even trickier.

Scottie Scheffler is beginning the tournament at -10, which will make it difficult for anyone to catch him in just one round. The odds are indicative of how steep the challenge may be as he currently sits at -130 on DraftKings Sportsbook to hold the lead after round one.

Is it possible for anyone to catch Scheffler?

To answer that question, we must first evaluate how the first rounds have gone since the starting stroke system was implemented three years ago.

In 2019, Justin Thomas started at -10. He was a co-first-round-leader (-10) but was caught by both Brooks Koepka who started at -7, and Xander Schauffele who started at -4.

In 2020, Dustin Johnson started at -10. He was a co-first-round-leader (-13) and was caught by Jon Rahm who started at -8.

In 2021, Patrick Cantlay started at -10. He was the solo first-round-leader at (-13).

In conclusion, in the past three years, only one golfer starting worse than -7 was able to grab a share of the first-round lead. In all three editions of the TOUR Championship featuring starting strokes, the golfer who started at the top finished the round as the first-round-leader or co-leader.

Therefore, this market is Scheffler at -130 or a no-bet. History indicates that anyone who catches Scheffler would most likely be subject to a "dead-heat" payout with Scheffler. The risk simply isn't worth the reward in this scenario.

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