Accurate Kyle Stanley could make another fast start at East Lake
New world number one Rose to outscore Johnson
Sky Sports Golf, 6.30pm Thursday
The Tour Championship competitors tee off in FedEx Cup standings order for the first round at East Lake, with backmarkers Patton Kizzire and Marc Leishman starting the megabucks party at 4.40pm UK and Ireland time.
The final pairing of FedEx pacesetter Bryson DeChambeau and second-placed Justin Rose are scheduled to go off at 7pm as the top 30 US Tour stars of 2018 do battle for more than $10m of prize money in sunny Georgia.
The pick of the first-round twoball prices comes from the third group out, with Kyle Stanley worth backing at odds-against to defeat Paul Casey in the 5pm contest. Stanley set off like an express train in this event last year, opening with a 64 to lead by two shots, and the mild-mannered Washington man is always more trustworthy early in a tournament.
Stanley, runner-up in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last month, possesses the tee-to-green quality to handle a tough long-game test like East Lake. Casey has been generally dire since squandering a golden winning opportunity in the Travelers Championship in June and a withdrawal after three rounds of the BMW Championship last time out is of great concern.
Casey opened up with rounds of 69, 68 and 69 in the BMW, and was on course to bank a worthwhile cheque, so the back injury he cited as the reason for retiring must have been significant. The Surrey slugger has had a week off to rest, but his prices do not reflect any fitness doubts. Stanley is at 100 per cent, and in superior form.
Rose has taken over from Dustin Johnson as world number one and the Englishman can be fancied to outscore the American over 72 holes. Coral and Ladbrokes make it a 10-11 your-choice match, but Rose is producing the goods more consistently and Johnson is suffering a reported relationship crisis, which could impact negatively on his golf. Rose has twice been Tour Championship runner-up and boasts a superior East Lake record to Johnson.
Defending champion Xander Schauffele bounced back to form with third place in the BMW Championship and can see off a recently ragged Jon Rahm in another 72-hole match. Hills are offering 5-6 with the draw no bet.
Defending FedEx Cup champ, Justin Thomas, can be favoured over Brooks Koepka in another head-to-head. Thomas has finished sixth and second in his two East Lake starts, while Koepka has form figures of 18-6.
K Stanley to win twoball
2pts 5-4 Coral, Ladbrokes
J Rose to beat D Johnson
2pts 10-11 Coral, Ladbrokes
X Schauffele to beat J Rahm draw no bet
2pts 5-6 Hills
J Thomas to beat B Koepka
2pts 5-6 Paddy Power
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