Dan Roebuck’s Tour Championship preview: Mahan has pedigree

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The Tour Championship brings the curtain down on the 2013 PGA Tour season, with the top 30 golfers doing battle at East Lake Golf Club not only the title, but also a cool $10million for the player who tops the Fedex Cup standing come Sunday night.

Only five players control their own destiny when it comes to that huge bonus, with Tiger Woods the number one seed prior to the action in Georgia.

Woods is also the favourite this week at 5/1, but an ordinary final-round 71 in Illinois last time out suggest he has little impetus heading to a venue he last won at six years ago. And with three of the last four champions ranking inside the top three of the putting stats for the week, the world number one’s inconsistency on the greens – he’s ranked inside the top 10 for putts per greens in regulation only once in his last 10 starts – is also a negative, so the market principle is readily taken on.

Only one golfer has teed it up in every single Playoff event since their inception and that’s Hunter Mahan, whose 65-67 final two-round totals in the BMW Championship last week wasn’t bettered. Mahan’s putting was much improved at Conway Farms, while he also rediscovered his aim with his irons, ranking second in greens in regulation. With three top 10s at East Lake, he is prime punting material at 16/1.

Luke Donald (20/1) managed to claim a place for followers last week on home fairways, and his fourth-placed effort in Chicago meant he just about scrambled into this week’s field. The Englishman is working with a new coach in the shape of Chuck Cook (having failed to secure the service of Sean Foley) and the partnership seems to be working already. A disappointing season could be completely turned around this week, especially if things click on the greens as they did on Monday.

After Zach Johnson’s win in Illinois, the former Masters champions said he liked ‘the momentum’ he has going into this week’s tournament. He’s proved over the season that he is a streaky player, regularly following up one good finish with another – note his July through August form of 2-6-4-8-5. Johnson holds the course record at East Lake, registering a 60 in the third round of the 2007 Tour Championship, and with all parts of his game working he must be backed to win again this week at 16/1.

My three to follow: Mahan, Donald and Johnson.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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