Scottie Scheffler stumble brings betting value at East Lake
5 Min Read
Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet
For half of Thursday’s opening round at the TOUR Championship there was the faint smell of a runaway victory in the air but FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler’s stumble on the back nine at East Lake has thrown open the tournament.
Scheffler, who had the benefit of starting at 10 under via his top seed was cruising at 13 under when he birdied the 10th hole only to follow it with back-to-back bogeys. Those mistakes would’ve been minor speedhumps if not for a huge miscue a few holes later.
The Texan pulled his tee shot on the par-3 15th into the water before three-putting for a shocking triple bogey, instantly opening up the chase for the FedExCup.
While Scheffler remains the betting favorite at +300, he is no longer the leader, sitting one behind Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Keegan Bradley. That trio finished up at 10 under while Scheffler’s 1-over 71 dropped him to nine under.
Adam Schenk and Russell Henley share fifth place at eight under while Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick are three off the pace at seven under. McIlroy battled through discomfort from a back complaint, suffered in the gym earlier in the week.
Here are the latest odds via BetMGM Sportsbook.
+300: Scottie Scheffler (-9, 4th)
+350: Viktor Hovland (-10, T1)
+550: Collin Morikawa (-10, T1)
+800: Rory McIlroy (-7, T7)
+1400: Jon Rahm (-7, T7)
+1800: Keegan Bradley (-10, T1)
+2000: Russell Henley (-8, T5)
+2500: Xander Schauffele (-6, T10)
+3300: Matt Fitzpatrick (-7, T7)
+4000: Patrick Cantlay (-5, T14)
+5000: Tyrrell Hatton (-6, T10)
+5500: Adam Schenk (-8, T5)
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER +300
For those bettors who were hoping to see a higher number on Scheffler than his +140 opening… your wish has been granted. As ugly as his triple bogey was – and as diabolical as his -3.229 strokes lost on the greens (ranked last) was – I’m prepared to say Scheffler will bounce back over the next three rounds.
The pre-tournament favorite had a rare off day on approach (-0.367) and I don’t expect that to continue. In a weird way, I feel the errors will ensure Scheffler returns to East Lake with full focus rather than having to deal with the cruise mode he found himself in this spot last year. I don’t expect you’ll see better odds than this again.
Scheffler said: “I try to approach each round the same way, but it is a bit weird starting a tournament with the lead... I guess it's a little bit of a blessing to have a pretty bad day and still be in the tournament. So, yeah, go out there tomorrow and just keep fighting.”
VIKTOR HOVLAND +350
In last week’s BMW Championship’s final round, it was almost as if Hovland couldn’t miss a putt. That magic was gone at East Lake. Hovland lost -2.464 strokes on the greens, only overshadowed by Scheffler’s ice cold flatstick. But while the Norwegian star isn’t known for his putting, he does usually hole more than he managed on Thursday.
As such, I’m expecting he will make the adjustments to the Bermuda surfaces overnight and become a significant factor in this title chase. He was fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green in the opening round and with one or two more putts will become deadly.
Hovland said: “It was a solid round. I didn't make too many mistakes. Obviously, bogey-free is always nice, especially around this track. But I did feel like I left a couple putts out there and -- yeah, I felt like I played a little bit better than the score, but hopefully that comes tomorrow or the rest of the week.”
ADAM SCHENK +5500
For those of you who love a longshot… this one’s for you. An awesome opening 7-under 63 has Schenk just two shots off the lead yet still at long odds. It makes sense given the quality of the field, the fact he’s never won before, and the magnitude of the tournament but Schenk has quietly had a very good season and was statistically on point on Thursday.
He ranked second in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green, sixth in SG: Putting, eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee and 11th in SG: Around the Green during his bogey-free adventure. He’s a sleeper at best… but if you believe in miracles, this would be one.
RORY MCILROY +800
The three-time FedExCup champion faces a mighty battle to make it four given a back injury he’s battling. At one stage Thursday he was eight off the pace before Scheffler’s fall and some gutsy birdies kept his chances alive. Still, after listening to the Northern Irishman explain his predicament… you’d be brave to back him.
“On Tuesday morning I felt a little tight, and I went into my gym at home, and I just sort of foam-rolled and stretched. I went to grab something and my whole right side just completely seized up, spasm,” McIlroy explained.
After treatment at home in Florida he made the trip to Atlanta and returned to the gym Wednesday morning.
“I was at the bottom of a squat, a body-weight squat, and my whole lower back spasmed, seized up. I couldn't move. I honestly couldn't address the ball this time yesterday.
“I hung in there and I just felt like if I could get through today, it's better than it was yesterday, hopefully tomorrow's better than it was today, and just sort of try to keep progressing.”
Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.