Deutsche Bank Championship: TPC Boston, Norton, MA
TPC Boston epitimises what New England is all about. The course combines lush fairways, mature trees and wetland areas with deep bunkers and gently rolling greens which blend right into the landscape.
The course was originally designed by Arnold Palmer but has since gone through a significant re-design with Gil Hanse putting his magical touches on what was already a magnificent layout back in 2007. What we now have is a 7,214 yard par 71 masterpiece.
Patrick Reed’s win last week has catapulted to the top of the FedEx Cup rankings with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson close behind. We then have the usual suspects in Scott and Spieth in the top 10 but as we have seen players are rewarded for consistency.
Emiliano Grillo, Russell Knox and Ryan Moore are all withing striking distance as are the rest of the field thanks to the quadruple points on offer. Rickie Fowler was the leader heading into the final round of the Barclays but failed to close out. He is the defending champion here and would love nothing more than to go back to back.
Only the top 70 will move on to the BMW Championship next week so a good result is imperative for all.
If there is one thing we know about Deutsche Bank it’s that you have to shoot low if you are to win. The lowest winning score here was -14 in 2005 with 4 of the last 8 winners all shooting -20 or better.
There are just three par 3’s in the layout and contrary to the thoughts of many it in fact caters to lower scoring with players consistently hitting wedges into the greens after long drives.
The course has several risk/reward holes including the 7th and 18th – both par 5’s that are easily accessible in two if can get away a clean drive of the tee. The last hole in particular sets up for a grandstand finish with two bunkers right in the middle of the fairway. The longer hitters, which is most men these days, can carry the bunkers 320 yards leaving them with only a mid iron for a chance at eagle.
Five of the last six winners have produced four rounds in the 60’s making consistency the key this week. One bad round and you’re virtually out of contention!
Adam Scott was in inaugural winner here in 2003 and although we haven’t seen another Aussie winner we have had seven top 5 finishes in the last six years. Of the big name Scott represents the best value with Day, Spieth, Rory and Dustin Johnson all too short for The Wolf’s liking.
One man that knows his way around here is wily old veteran Steve Stricker. In his 7 appearances here he has a win, a runner up finish and has finished in the top 15 on a further four occasions.
Sean O’Hair finished 4th here last year and that was after a 74 in the final round. He shot a 66 to close out last week and finish second.
Of the big names The Wolf was livid that Stenson withdrew last week and had it not been for his knee injury would be tipping him again. He was a winner here inn 2013 and was a runner up to Fowler last year.
Another former champion that will no doubt fly under the radar is Chris Kirk. After opening with a 73 he finished 66, 64, 66 to win by two strokes in 2014. He made two eagles en route to victory here and sits right on the cut off for next week. That means he will have to go for it and pin seeking means birdies galore!