Sobel: Northern Trust Matchup Picks for Sunday’s Final Round
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Jason Kokrak.
If you think Dustin Johnson is pretty much a lock to win The Northern Trust on Sunday, you’re not alone. Oddsmakers have installed the five-stroke leader as a -560 favorite to capture the title.
As if the fact that he chased a second-round 60 with a third-round 64 that featured a birdie-eagle finish wasn’t enough, there’s this: Of the 18 times DJ has held or shared the 54-hole lead, he’s converted for victory on eight occasions.
Of course, that means he can still lose ‘em, too.
According to a tweet from Justin Ray of the 15th Club, the last time a 54-hole leader of five strokes or more failed to win, it was Johnson himself, when he took a six-shot advantage into the final round of the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions, only to post a 77 and lose by two to Justin Rose.
If you think history can repeat itself, you can take the rest of the field against him at +335.
Neither betting against the prohibitive favorite or for him at such short odds seems like much of an appealing play, so instead let’s take a look at some potential matchups for the final round.
Jason Kokrak (-105) over Brendon Todd
A two-time champion this season, Todd’s recent Sunday struggles are well chronicled. This never seems like a host venue which would suit his game very well, but he’s played decently this week. Even so, I’d rather take the firepower of Kokrak in this one, who’s been trending in the right direction.
Russell Henley (-152) over Cameron Davis
Not only has Henley been playing well lately — he’s one of my few pre-tourney plays which has actually worked out this week — he’s currently projected at 67th in the FedEx Cup standings, meaning he’ll need a solid round to get to Chicago next week. That should be motivation enough, but throw in the fact that Davis had a tumultuous back nine Saturday and even at 1.5/1, this feels like a smart play.
Brendan Steele (-129) over Keegan Bradley
I’m mentioning this one, because I do like Steele to play well, but the reality is that both players have enjoyed strong ball-striking performances throughout the week. Good friends who play a lot of practice rounds together, this should be a comfortable pairing where both guys can go low. I’ll give Steele the edge, but like them both for DFS Showdown plays.
Denny McCarthy (-114) over Corey Conners
Fun matchup between a pair of specialists here, as McCarthy is one of the game’s best putters and Conners is one of the better ball-strikers. I’d usually take the flusher over the rock-roller, but McCarthy has shown flashes of better tee-to-green play lately, so I’ll take the guy who is currently projected at 69th in the FedEx standings.