Sergio to make most of ‘free’ shot

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The PGA Tour season climaxes this week with the 30-man Tour Championship at East Lake and Masters champion Sergio Garcia could be primed for another big prize.

The Spaniard enjoyed the key breakthrough his career so richly deserved when he last teed-up in Georgia at Augusta and he cemented his place in the final field for this event with a hint of good fortune and controversy last Sunday.

Garcia’s approach to the 72nd hole in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms found water but his creative mind helped him convince officials that he could in fact play an escape from the water –were his swing not impeded by the grandstand. To the surprise of many, he was granted a free drop and made the par that booked his ticket to East Lake.

Garcia’s terrific ball striking is a major asset for this course and he has previous form, having lost out in a playoff in the 2008 edition of the Tour Championship to Camillo Villegas. It was also encouraging to hear Garcia speak with confidence about his putting following his final round at Conway Farms and he is capable of a big push in Atlanta.

At 27/1 to win the Tour Championship, Garcia is a big-price alternative to the market leaders, which include Jordan Spieth (9/2), Dustin Johnson (29/4) and Justin Thomas (10/1).

The top five players in the FedEx Cup standings all arrive at East Lake knowing victory will guarantee them the multi-million payout for winning that race. That in itself brings added pressure for those players.

Further down the line, few players on the PGA Tour this season have been as consistent as Paul Casey (17/1 to win the Tour Championship). Again, ball striking is a key trait in Casey’s armoury and it won’t be a surprise if he is in contention.

Looking away from the win market, Matt Kuchar is an appealing bet at 5/4 to finish inside the top ten at East Lake.

Denied a Major breakthrough at the Open this summer by Spieth’s grandstand finish, Kuchar is now back on track after a short, and understandable fall-off. Fifth place in last week’s BMW Championship sets him up perfectly for this test and few are likely to hover around in contention more than the affable American.

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