BMW Championship: Conway Farms Golf Club, Lake Forest, Illinois
After what seemed like the longest off-week the PGA Tour is back in action. The venue for the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is Conway Farms Golf Course in Lake Forest Illinois.
The players will face up to a 7100 yard Par-71 that was designed by Tom Fazio and has been open for play since 1991. This course was also the venue for the BMW Championship in 2013 and 2015. The design of this course has been modeled on traditional Scottish links golf courses and features some pristine greens and some pretty heavy rough. In fact, the greens and the fairways around the course are all bentgrass.
The course can also vary greatly in difficulty depending on the weather conditions that are prevailing. The wind can make finding the fairways very difficult and push the scores up while players can get aggressive and really attack the course on days when the wind is minimal. The current forecast for the tournament is for mild winds and good weather overall which should see some low numbers.
The defending champion for this tournament is Dustin Johnson, who is also seeking his second win of the Playoffs after claiming the Northern Trust Open. The winners in 2015 and 2013, when the tournament was held at Conway Farms were Jason Day and Zach Johnson respectively – both in the field this week. Dating further back Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose claimed victory in 2012 and 2011.
The top-70 players in the FedEx Cup standings will take part this week before it get cuts to 30 for the final leg in Atlanta. So far, the top ranked players have shown excellent form and the previous record at this tournament suggests that will remain the case.
To win at this golf course players need to hit the ball long, hit the fairways and put themselves in positions to take advantage of the greens. Jason Day who won here in 2015 was 1st in Driving Distance, 50th in Driving Accuracy, and in the top-10 for scrambling, greens in regulation and strokes gained putting.
Stats That Matter
The stats that the Wolf will be looking at for this week are:
– Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
– Par 4 Scoring
– Putting Average
The Wolf has a feeling that this week will shape up to be a scoring fest between the top players of this world and he is adamant that they will go for it from the first tee! Jason Day started with a 61 in 2015 and never really let anyone else have a look-in while Furyk shot a 59 here back in 2013. With Day shooting -22 to win here in 2015 the winner will likely have to shoot in the 60’s in all four rounds!
This week is going to be all about the top guys for the Wolf although that does not make the task of picking players any easier. Jordan Spieth is absolutely crushing the ball right now and could easily have been entering this tournament looking for his third win. He also ticks all the boxes in terms of the stats but his price at $7.00 is just not attractive enough for the bet.
The Wolf’s favorite for this week is last week’s winner, Justin Thomas at $11.00. Thomas has two wins and a T6 in his last three tournaments and could not be in better form entering the tournament. Like Spieth, his game is perfectly suited for the high-scoring conditions expected at the tournament and he fits the stats as well. Justin Thomas is 10th in strokes gained tee to green, 1st in putting average, 2nd in Par 4 scoring and 44th in scrambling. The Wolf can easily see him adding another title to his tally before the year is up.
For the value pick, the Wolf likes Jason Day at $17.00. Day has excellent course history here winning the tournament in 2015 and has been getting back into the groove of late. He finished T9 at the PGA Championship and T6 at the Northern Trust before his T25 last week. It has been a year to forget for Day but we know just how good he is with the putter under pressure and he can bomb them off the tee like no other. His high ball flight will allow him to go pin seeking and the fact that he sits in 29th position in the rankings means he will not be holding back.
For the outside pick, the Wolf is backing Brooks Koepka at $26.00. Koepka does not have the best stats to back up his claim and is 61st in strokes gained tee to green, 112th in Par 4 scoring and 160th in scrambling but he does rank 4th in putting average. Koepka is the defending U.S Open winner and after a brief dip in his form the Wolf saw some positives at the Dell Technologies Championship last week. Koepka has all the tools in his bag to really make a run for the title and could be the surprise package this week.
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