PGA Expert Picks: BMW Championship
The Tour is headed for the BMW Championship this week after an exciting Monday finish that saw Cam Smith and Tony Finau take the tournament to a playoff. Finau won fairly easily in the playoff after Cam sliced his first drive out of bounds and hit his second drive into the bunker and was left scrambling to set himself up for a double bogey. Congrats to Tony on winning his first tournament since 2016! Time to turn our attention to Caves Valley Golf Club.
Caves Valley Golf Club is a Par 72 that has been lengthened over the years and is playing over 7,500 yards. This is a Tom Fazio designed course with Bentgrass tee and fairways and Bermuda greens. There are also plenty of sand and bunkers defending the course. Fazio has also redesigned Quail Hollow so I will be looking at how golfers have finished there recently as part of my picks. These architects tend to carry over designs and challenges from course-to-course, and Fazio is no different. These bunkers are strategically placed throughout the course where some longer approach shots will likely lead to golfers having to scramble and make saves from the sand. Par 4 scoring will also be important this week as will a strong tee-to-green game. The fairways have been narrowed as part of the redesign so staying out of the fescue will be crucial especially if the course does receive rain over the weekend and the thick fescue plays even thicker with few coats of rain soaking the course. Long hitters will have a slight advantage this week as they will be able to carry some of the longer bunkers and take dead aim at the flag, but I do not expect it to be as big of an advantage as others may assume
Kevin Kisner and Chris Kirk won the 2005 NCAA Championship at Caves Valley so there is going to familiarity for them and for many other golfers despite Caves Valley not being a regular Tour destination. Should be another exciting week as the golfers make a push for the Top 30 and a chance to play at the Tour Championship next week.
Course: Caves Valley Golf Club—Owings Mills, Marlyand
Length: 7,540 yards
Defending Champion: Jon Rahm
Purse: $9.5 Million
FedEx Cup Points: 2000 Points to the Winner
Key Stats: Par 4s Gained, SG Ball Striking, SG Tee-to-Green, SG Approach, Sand Saves Gained
Steven: Rory McIlroy +2200
Sam: Viktor Hovland +3500
Top 5 Finish
Steven: Corey Conners +800
Sam: Hideki Matsuyama +800
Top 10 Finish
Steven: Paul Casey +250
Sam: Paul Casey +250
Steven: Jason Kokrak +6600
Sam: Sergio Garcia +10000
Rory Mcllroy +2200 ????????
Scottie Scheffler +2800 ????????
Corey Conners +4000 ????????
Shane Lowry +4000 ????????
Longshot Outright Dart Bets
Sam Burns +5000 ????????
Rory McIlroy| Outright +2200 (2 Units)
I feel like Rory at this price is a gift. I have not placed a lot of outrights on Rory but he usually turns it up for the FedEx Cup Playoffs despite is T-43 finish last week. He also sits just inside the Top 30 so he has a little extra to play for this week to make it to the Tour Championship. He ranks ninth overall in my model and is inside the Top 10 in SG T2G, SG Par 4, and SG Ball Striking. He also loves Quail Hollow, another Fazio design, where he won earlier this year. This seems like a great time to put a wager down on Rory.
Corey Conners | Top 5 +800 (1 Unit)
Conners is one of the best ball strikers on Tour and ranks third in my model this week. He ranks inside the Top 10 in four of the five stats that I am targeting this week. He had a quiet T-8 finish last week and I like the way that this course sets up for him. He hits fairways, has a great approach game, and if his putter can improve just a little bit then he will poised for a great finish this week.
Paul Casey | Top 10 +250 (2 Units)
Casey has seven Top 10 finishes this year and I am expecting him to make it number eight this week. Casey ranks eleventh in my model and ranks fourth and sixth in strokes gained on the field in Approach and T2G, respectively. Before the Northern Trust he had a T-5 at the WGC St. Jude and a T-15 at the Open. This course is going to setup as a ball strikers course and that is what Casey is known for as he ranks twelfth in the field in SG Ball Striking. Look for the Englishman to make a push into Sunday and post his eighth Top 10 of the season.