GOLF boff Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) returns with expert analysis of the BMW Championship.
BMW Championship | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports 4
And then there were 70. The PGA Tour returns after a mini break and we resume the second half of the FedEx Cup playoff series. It’s up to Chicago for the BMW Championship and the Conway Farms Golf Club, which hosted this tournament in 2013. That is a tournament that I believe has huge pointers to this week…
It is a links style golf course in Illinois. A par 71 of some 7,251 yards is not much of a challenge for tour pros these days. Expect some very low scoring courtesy of the wide, generous fairways and soft conditions. This is a classic second shot course.
Green complexes are fairly small and undulations mean that getting the ball close will demand accuracy with the wedge and short irons. Depending on wind direction, the par 5s may be reachable. It is worth keeping an eye on the weather too, as anything from the south west may give the bombers in the field an extra edge.
This is a huge tournament for most of the field – especially those not in the world’s top-50. Make it through to the Tour Championship at East Lake next week and you are guaranteed entry to three of next year’s four Major championships. That’s a huge prize.
Henrik Stenson is always hot at this time of year and he seems to have been in contention an awful lot recently. His last two finishes were second and second. Fourth in the FedEx and sixth in the world rankings, the big Swede is consistently underrated. He certainly has the game for this course and could not be in better form. I cannot leave him alone at 12/1 (Bet365). He is in far better form than those shorter than him in the market and directly behind him.
Zach Johnson is really hard to get away from – the winner when the BMW was last here in 2013 shooting -16. Five top-10 finishes in his last nine starts including a fourth at The Barclays – as with Stenson, I am going with a player bang in form. Zach won’t ever worry about reaching a par 5 as he rarely goes for them. It is a tactic that has won him two Major championships. Who better to go for on a links style course than The Open champion? 25/1 (888) is just about right in a field of 70.
Hunter Mahan is a name that may not immediately jump out. He’s had an awful year but bear with me. The only player to appear in every single one of the FedEx playoffs since they started, Mahan went into the Deutsche Bank in 91st place. A creditable tied fourth finish took him up to 52 and a spot here. The six-time PGA Tour winner last won at The Barclays in 2014 . He was fourth here in 2013 and all six of his wins have come on the Bentgrass greens he will find here – 60/1 (888) is an outstanding each-way price.
Jim Furyk is the last man this week. He just seems to go on and on and his form does not seem to have dropped anything like you would expect from a man of his age. In fact, it’s quite incredible – nine top-10s in his last 12 starts at the BMW, ninth in the FedEx, seventh in the world rankings and fourth last time out at the Deutsche Bank. With all bookmakers paying five each-way places, 20/1 is a decent play at Betway.
BMW Championship – Henrik Stenson to win (12/1 Bet365)
BMW Championship – Zach Johnson to win (25/1 each-way 888)
BMW Championship – Hunter Mahan (60/1 each-way 888)
BMW Championship – Jim Fuyrk to win (20/1 each-way Betway)