2020 TOUR Championship Picks: Sobel’s Favorite Outright & Matchup Bets For Round 2 (Saturday, Sept. 5)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.
After one round of the Tour Championship, you’re feeling pretty good if you bought into the “nappy factor.”
Earlier this week, I wrote about the potential of fading Rory McIlroy, considering he’d already revealed that he’d leave mid-tournament if his wife Erica went into labor with their first child.
Well, as it turns out, little Poppy Kennedy McIlroy has some decent timing.
The baby girl was born Wednesday, and her father was on site at East Lake GC by Thursday morning to get in some practice before the opening round.
Of course, that proverbial weight lifted off his shoulder left many backing Rory at the 11th hour — hence the “nappy factor,” as some Europeans have termed it when new fathers are playing competitive events.
Maybe then it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Poppy’s papa tied the low score in the opening round with a 6-under 64 that included eight birdies.
McIlroy is now the oddsmakers’ favorite at +300 to have the low 72-hole score (without the handicapped scoring), but it might be the other outright bet which is more appealing.
Using the staggered start, Rory began the tournament seven strokes out of the lead, but currently trails by just four entering the second round. He remains listed behind Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas on the board, but at +700 could be a smart play to erase the entire deficit and win the FedEx Cup for a third time.
Think about it: If he can whittle a seven-shot deficit to four in just 18 holes, we shouldn’t be skeptical about him erasing that four-shot deficit with 54 holes left to play.
Round 2 Matchups
Cameron Smith (-105) over Kevin Na
Very quietly, Smith has enjoyed a nice finish to this season, with top-20s in each of the previous two playoff events. On Friday, he didn’t do anything exceptionally well, but did play decently and posted a 2-under 68. Na, on the other hand, lost strokes in every major category except for around the greens, which seems like a fleeting way to stay afloat. At this price, I love a Saturday play on the Aussie.
Brendon Todd (-105) over Sungjae Im
This is a play I made pre-tourney for the entire event and so far, Todd has made up his initial one-stroke deficit and tied Im on the current leaderboard. I’m going to double-down here and maintain that East Lake sets up as well for the Atlanta resident as any course he’s played this summer, as finding fairways and rolling in putts on these quick greens should keep him moving up the leaderboard.
Dustin Johnson (-105) over Jon Rahm
Look, I get it. Last Sunday, Rahm chased down DJ and beat him in a playoff at the BMW Championship. On Friday, while paired together, Rahm posted a 5-under 65 to erase that two-shot differential and tie him atop the board. And so, fairly suddenly, the numbers have now moved in Rahm’s favor, as he owns the lower odds in this matchup. That sounds good to me, as I’ll willingly take DJ as a ‘dog against anyone, especially a guy trying to beat him for a third straight time in seven days.