Experts: Deutsche Bank Championship

August, 27, 2014
08/27/14
11:44
AM ET

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour heads to TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Adam Scott

Of the nine times he's teed it up in this event, he's never missed the cut and only finished outside the top 17 three times. Having played such a limited schedule, he is probably fresher than most coming into the week. I expect anything outside a top-5 finish to be a disappointment.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Webb Simpson

In 2011, the former U.S. Open champion won the Deutsche Bank in a playoff. He needs, perhaps, another win here this week to make an impression on Tom Watson for one of the three U.S. Ryder Cup team captain's picks.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Jason Day

Not only does he have a couple of top-3 finishes at TPC Boston, but he's been playing well of late, coming off a tie for second.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com golf editor: Henrik Stenson

His worst round at the DBC last year was a 67, and he parlayed that victory into the FedEx Cup title. Not bad for the Swede with the dry wit. He owns a pair of top-3 finishes in his last five starts, so a solid performance again this week shouldn't be out of the question.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Gary Woodland

Looking for the guy who's trending up? Look no further. After a first-round 73 last week, Woodland bounced back with three nice rounds in the 60s, throwing in three straight closing birdies on Sunday. Guys like that are very dangerous going to a course that fits them, especially a bomber on a bomber's course.

Evans: Jason Day

The 26-year-old Australian, who has battled a nagging thumb injury for most of the year, tied for second at the Barclays. And at the PGA Championship, he played much better than his tie for 15th might suggest. If he can control his driver, he should be high on the leaderboard come Sunday night at the Deutsche Bank.

Harig: Hunter Mahan

Not only is he coming off a victory at the Barclays, but Mahan scored in the top 15 at his previous two tournaments, including a tie for seventh at the PGA Championship. He's jumped to first in the FedEx Cup standings.

Maguire: Rickie Fowler

Fowler doesn't have a win this year, but who out there (not named Rory McIlroy) can boast a record of T-2, T-2, T-8, T-3 and T-9 in their past five PGA Tour starts? That includes three majors, a WGC and the first playoff event. His history at TPC Boston isn't great (a T-41 in 2010 is his best finish), but this isn't the same Fowler of four years ago.


Super Sleeper

Collins: Morgan Hoffmann

Let it ride! He came into last week 124th on the FedEx Cup points list, keeping his job by the skin of his teeth. Now Hoffman sits only two spots out of making it to the no-cut BMW Championship next week. He has to feel like he's playing with house money and no one is watching.

Evans: Bo Van Pelt

The 39-year-old veteran began the FedEx Cup playoffs 104th in the standings, but he jumped to 73rd with a tie for 13th at the Barclays. The Oklahoma State grad has had top-15s in three of his last four starts. His best finish at Deutsche Bank was a seventh in 2011.

Harig: Geoff Ogilvy. He missed the cut last week at the Barclays, and could only cross his fingers over the weekend, barely hanging onto the 100th and final spot in the Deutsche Bank field. He'll need a strong performance to advance to the BMW Championship.

Maguire: Robert Streb

The second round is now officially the deepest this Kansas State Wildcat has made it in the playoffs, having never played the Deutsche Bank Championship previously. His long game -- at exactly 300 yards per drive on average -- will serve him well if he plans to move on to the BMW Championship next week at Cherry Hills.


Winner

Collins: Ernie Els

Because the South African doesn't care about the Ryder Cup, he can play free and easy. Hence the two top-10 finishes in his last three starts. Say what you want about the young bombers out here, but the Big Easy can still get after it when he's firing on all cylinders, which it looks like he is coming into the week.

Evans:  Rory McIlroy

Rory is set for a strong finish this week after a lackluster tie for 22nd at the Barclays, where a 74 in the first round sent him well down the leaderboard. At the Deutsche Bank, where he won in 2012, he should return to the winner's circle and to the top of the playoffs standings.

Harig: Keegan Bradley.

It's the last chance to impress U.S. captain Tom Watson, who makes three at-large picks on Tuesday. Bradley would end all speculation if he could win in his native New England.

Maguire: Jason Day

He's got the length to win at TPC Boston, and his T-2 finish last week at the Barclays clearly shows he's in form despite those pesky early-season injuries. Toss in the fact that he's got a pair of top-3 finishes in this event, and that's a recipe for the first multiple-victory season in the 26-year-old's career.

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