After Hurricane Henri delayed the finish of the first event in the FedExCup playoffs to Monday of last week, the top 70 in the FedExCup standings advance to this week’s BMW Championship. The top 30 after this week’s tournament will move on to the final event of the season at the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at East Lake Golf Club, where the winner gets a nice $15 million prize. Getting into the top 30 is huge for players looking for a strong finish this season and also setting them up for future career success.
This week’s tournament features a 69-man field with only Patrick Reed qualifying but not planning to play. It will be a no-cut format with several top finishers from last week expected to draw heavy ownership once again. It looks like a stars and scrubs lineup is popular with many people targeting Jon Rahm ($11,700) despite his Final Round slide and Bryson DeChambeau ($9,300), who has been piling up birdies with 50 total par-breakers in his past two tournaments.
In addition to an atypical format, this course brings more uncertainty since Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland will be making its PGA TOUR debut. What we do know is that it’s a par-72 layout designed by Tom Fazio. Like in recent BMW Championships with the exception of last year, it looks like a track that will yield plenty of birdies and lean slightly towards longer hitters since it measures at 7,547 yards. The greens are slightly smaller than average, so SG: Approach is also a key stat to consider.
Even on this short week, public sentiment, current form and expert advice have inflated ownership for certain golfers. The focus of this post is to find solid alternatives that can be good options with lower ownerships especially in GPPs on DraftKings, where you are looking to differentiate your lineups from the chalk.
Projected Popular Golfer: Jon Rahm ($11,700)
Pivot: Justin Thomas ($10,600)
It’s hard to argue against Rahm’s sterling form and run of recent results, but he did surprisingly fade on Sunday when the tournament was there for the taking. He bogeyed two of his final four holes and finished solo third, two strokes out of the playoff. While Rahm stumbled on the closing holes, Thomas had a little bit of a surge after a slow start to the day. JT was 3-over after a double-bogey on No. 11, but then made four birdies in five holes to climb back into a tie for fourth. Thomas started last week hot with a blistering 63 after switching back to his old putter and gained 1.125 strokes putting after losing 1.270 strokes on the greens in his previous event, the WGC-St. Jude. If he can carry over his success on the greens, he has a great shot to win since he is almost always on point with his irons. He’s also a proven FedExCup winner after using a win at the 2019 BMW Championship (on a different course, though) to claim the ultimate prize two years ago.
$8,000 to $10,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Bryson DeChambeau ($9,300)
Pivot: Corey Conners ($8,200)
Bryson has been banging in birdies at a great rate and just needs to clean up some of the boxes on his scorecard to pull his whole game together. He obviously has the length to take on any course, but there are multiple paths to success in this price range, and Conners is expected to be much less popular despite some very strong recent results of his own. Conners finished fourth in the field last week in SG: Approach and finished in the top 10 for the eighth time this season. His putting hasn’t been great lately, but he still has three top-15 finishes in his past four events.
$7,000 to $8,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Jhonattan Vegas ($7,100)
Pivot: Cameron Champ ($7,300)
Vegas’s impressive run of made cuts came to an end last week at The Northern Trust, but he’s again expected to be a popular option after making 15 of 16 cuts coming into last week’s event. Vegas missed the cut last week with just seven birdies in two rounds and an especially rough week on the greens. Champ’s putter can also run hot-and-cold, but his tee-to-green game has been on point lately and he has the length to contend on this track. He was fifth last week in SG: Approach on his way to a tie for 27th, and he has now made the cut in four straight tournaments including his win at the 3M Open at the end of July. His “Grip and Rip” approach can lead to uneven results, but with no cut to worry about, he has the kind of ceiling to make him a nice GPP play.
$6,000 to $8,000 Range
Projected Popular Golfer: Cameron Davis ($6,900)
Pivot: Max Homa ($6,400)
Davis is a nice play under $7K that brings birdie-making ability, and he claimed his first PGA TOUR win earlier this season. While his skill set should work at a longer venue like this, his win did come at the Rocket Mortgage Classic against a much less elite field. Since that win, he has failed to post a top 25 and finished 60th at the recent no-cut event at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. I’d rather roll with Homa, who is actually much cheaper, and looks to be getting much less attention. He also claimed his first PGA TOUR win this year, but it was against a tougher field on a more comparable course at Riviera. Homa comes into this event at No. 30 in the FedEx Cup standings, placing him squarely on the bubble and giving every shot extra meaning as he tries to qualify for the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP for the first time in his career. While his T47 last week isn’t extremely inspiring, he did bounce back nicely after opening with a 3-over on Thursday and shot three straight rounds under par to climb the leaderboard throughout the weekend. His best finishes this season have come on longer courses that set up for low scoring, which is likely to be the scenario again this week.
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