Jason Day has top odds entering The Barclays at Bethpage Black

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In 2015, Jason Day won The Barclays by six strokes, but this year’s opener of the FedEx Cup playoffs will be contested at the daunting Bethpage Black course.

Bethpage, located in Farmingdale, New York, typically plays the toughest of any course used for The Barclays. The 7,468-yard par-71 layout will boast narrow fairways and fast greens, putting a premium on hitting fairways and achieving greens in regulation. Day is listed as the favorite at +750, with Dustin Johnson drawing in at +900 and Rory McIlroy at +1000.

Day will be playing for the first time since the PGA Championship, where he finished as the runner-up after handling the scrutiny and extra attention that comes with being defending champion. That part of his mental game, along with the three-week break, could help Day going into the tournament.

Johnson finished third at the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black. Johnson missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but prior to that had earned seven top-12 finishes in a row, including his U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational victories.

McIlroy has been inconsistent in 2016, with two missed cuts in majors.

Justin Rose (+2200 on The Barclays odds) and Henrik Stenson (+1200) captured the Olympic gold and silver medals last week in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, that tournament was on a links course, and Rose being 149th on the tour in driving accuracy percentage is a red flag.

Stenson, who won the British Open before getting on the Olympic podium for Sweden, is having a big year, but there’s always the question of how long he can sustain his great run.

The tournament is also the last opportunity for golfers to play their way into consideration for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Bubba Watson (+3300) is outside of an automatic qualification spot, so he has incentive to play well, on top of the momentum from his eighth-place finish while representing the United States in Rio.

Rickie Fowler (+4000) is in the top five of the PGA in strokes gained from tee to green. That kind of efficiency will come to the fore at an event where birdies could be hard to come by. Fowler needs a strong result to rate a Ryder Cup spot.

Another longshot on the golf betting lines at the sportsbooks with a great value price is the 23-year-old Argentine, Emiliano Grillo (+8000). Grillo is in the top 20 in the PGA in driving accuracy, while also being long off the tee. Being long and straight will be paramount this weekend.

The top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings after The Barclays move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Labor Day weekend.

Rory McIlroy overcomes six-stroke deficit, claims FedExCup title and $18 million

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Rory McIlroy claimed his third FedExCup title by capturing the Tour Championship on Sunday. McIlroy overcame a six-stroke final-round deficit to Scottie Scheffler to claim the $18-million bonus.

Scheffler began the final stanza with a heavy advantage, thanks to a fantastic finish to the third round Sunday morning.

After play was suspended Saturday evening because of an inclement weather threat, the field returned to East Lake at 9:45 a.m. to wrap Round 3. Scheffler and Xander Schauffele, in the final group and separated by one shot, were in the 13th fairway when play resumed. Scheffler played his final six holes in 4 under to reach 23 under par. Schauffele played them in 1 over to drop to 17 under.

McIlroy wrapped up a third-round 63 to also reach 17 under and grab a spot in the final-round final twosome.

Both he and Scheffler bogeyed the first hole, but while Scheffler continued to slip, McIlroy steadily rose. The Northern Irishman made four birdies over the remainder of his opening nine to turn in 3-under 32. Scheffler, meanwhile, posted a 37. The difference was one.

Following a McIlroy birdie at the 12th, they were knotted.

Im was also in contention through much of the final round. He got within a shot of the lead before a double bogey at the par-4 14th.  Im made a couple of late birdies to again climb within one of the lead, but he was unable to birdie the par-5 18th, settling for a 66 and a 20-under finish.

Im, ultimately, was chasing McIlroy. After McIlroy bogeyed the 14th to drop one back of Scheffler, he rolled in a 31-foot birdie at the par-3 15th to draw even at 21 under. McIlroy then scrambled for par at the 16th, while Scheffler made bogey.

With two holes to play, McIlroy led by one.

Scheffler had a chance to regain a share of the lead at the par-4 17th, but after sticking his approach shot to 12 feet, he badly shoved the birdie effort and made par. With one hole to play – and an $11.5 million difference between first and second place – McIlroy maintained the slight edge.

Both players hit the fairway at the 18th, Scheffler driving it 334 yards and McIlroy 342. Hitting first, Scheffler found a bunker short and right of the green. McIlroy followed by hooking his second from 228 yards off the left grandstands.

Again playing first, Scheffler blasted his bunker shot over the green. McIlroy was able to get relief from the grandstand and chipped to 20 feet. After Scheffler was unable to chip in for birdie, McIlroy just needed to two-putt for par to secure victory. He did that easily. Scheffler settled for par and a T-2 alongside Im.

Cameron Smith storms past Rory McIlroy to win 150th Open at St. Andrews

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Cameron Smith stole the claret jug from Rory McIlroy’s grasp, carding six birdies on the final nine Sunday at St. Andrews and capping a 64-64 weekend to win the 150th Open Championship by a shot. Here’s everything you need to know:

Leaderboard: Cameron Smith (-20), Cameron Young (-19), Rory McIlroy (-18), Viktor Hovland (-14), Tommy Fleetwood (-14)

How it happened: Prior to Sunday’s final round, Tiger Woods sent NBC on-course reporter John Wood a text putting himself in the shoes of the two co-leaders, McIlroy and Hovland, who were four shots clear of the nearest chasers, which included Smith. It read: “If I shot 19 under par, which would tie the lowest score in relation to par in all four majors, I would win. How do I go about doing that? No bunkers, no three-putts, take care of the drivable par 4s and take care of the par 5s. Maybe sneak in one or two more [birdies]. Lo and behold, a score around 68 without doing anything special.”

McIlroy tried to follow that game plan. He didn’t find a bunker, nor did he three-putt. And for good measure, he didn’t miss a green in regulation. Unfortunately, for McIlroy, he also couldn’t buy a birdie, managing only two, closing in 2-under 70 and getting passed by the young Aussie, who did something special.

While Hovland fell off the pace, McIlroy appeared to be doing just enough to win despite just two birdies in his first 10 holes. But by that time, Smith had begun a streak of five straight birdies – from 5, 16, 11, 18 and 5 feet  at Nos. 10-14 – to overtake McIlroy and move to 19 under. Smith added a birdie at the last with a closing 8-under 64, but he actually won this tournament a hole earlier, at the Road Hole, where he piped a drive down the fairway only to hook one left and well short of the green. With the infamous Road Hole Bunker between he and the hole, Smith opted to putt around the trap. He then sunk the clutch 10-footer for par to remain a shot clear of McIlroy, who needed to chip in for eagle at the last but ran it well past and ended up third, two back and shot behind Young, who eagled No. 18 to earn the runner-up finish.

What it means: Coming into this 150th Open, McIlroy spoke of the significance of winning a claret jug at St. Andrews’ prized Old Course. He called the achievement the “holy grail” of professional golf, so though McIlroy already possessed one Open title, in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, he wanted this one badly. After all, it had been eight years since McIlroy had won a major of any kind. Instead, it was Smith, with just one top-20 in four previous Open starts, knocking off his first major. In winning, the 28-year-old Smith became the first Australian to win The Open in 29 years, since Greg Norman beat Nick Faldo in 1993 at Royal St. George’s.

Round of the day: While McIlroy struck 36 putts on Sunday, Smith had just 29, and that performance with the flatstick helped him card the low final round by a shot over several players, including Young.

Biggest disappointment: In what was supposed to be essentially a match-play battle between he and McIlroy, Hovland went birdie-less for 11 holes and never factored down the stretch.