The second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is here as we head to Maryland for the BMW Championship. The field is once again packed full of talent with Patrick Reed the only player of the top 70 on tour missing from the lineup.
Caves Valley Golf Club has hosted a couple of senior majors but it is the first time the course will be used on the PGA Tour. Of course, this means we have no course form to go on, but there are some similarities to other courses that should give some clues. Where last week was a course that rewarded accuracy, this one appears to be one for the big hitters. At 7,226 yards for a par-71 it will certainly play long. There are some obvious similarities with Quail Hollow and that immediately makes you think of Rory McIlroy. The two-time FedEx Cup winner has had lots of playoff success and three wins at such a similar set up course, which could be hard to look past. His 28/1 odds could be a big price despite the Northern Irishman struggling to find his best form of late. He sits at 28th in the points standings so needs a good week to set him up for next week’s Tour Championship.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 19, 2021
Once again Jon Rahm heads the market but the Monday finish at the Northern Trust could well have taken its toll here. He was leading for much of the final round there so he is obviously in good form, but the likes of Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson that missed the cut will have had their full preparations for this event. That could come into a play a lot more on a course that will be unfamiliar to most of the field. Louis Oosthuizen returns after taking some time off in the past couple of weeks and his consistent good play this season has deserved a win. A playoff victory would not make up for missing out on the majors this season, but it would be a big breakthrough for the South African.
A course that suits the bombers makes Bryson DeChambeau hard to ignore. He has recently announced that he will take part in the World Long Drive Championship – just one day after the Ryder Cup. He can overpower almost any course, so one that appears to be set up for it makes 20/1 look like an intriguing price. His form has left a little to be desired of late, but there are signs there that he is close. He is making lots of birdies and eagles, but there have just been too many mistakes thrown in there. He was 11th in strokes gained tee-to-green last week. He just needs to improve on the greens and he will be right there.
Featured groups for this week's @BMWChamps:
🏌️♂️ Jordan Spieth
🏌️♂️ Harris English
🏌️♂️ Bryson DeChambeau
⛳ Patrick Cantlay
⛳ Justin Thomas
⛳ Collin Morikawa
🏌️♂️ Abraham Ancer
🏌️♂️ Louis Oosthuizen
🏌️♂️ Sam Burns
⛳ Tony Finau
⛳ Jon Rahm
⛳ Cameron Smith
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 24, 2021
Patrick Cantlay is seeing plenty of support this week. He is one of the PGA Tour’s most consistent players. He is one of the longer players on tour and has been outside of the top-25 just once in the past seven events. The American always seems to be there or thereabouts in these big events. He is another player in that 20-30/1 range, indicating what a tight event this could be, but he has the tools to come out on top.
Brooks Koepka is a player that is perhaps going under the radar. He was in excellent form last week for three rounds, but a poor finish saw him drop to a tie for 31st. It isn’t the first time we have seen it from Koepka where he gets behind in the round and loses interest, but he is striking the ball so well and like DeChambeau, it feels like a matter of time before he puts it all together and really dominates the field.
Like last week, looking at the bubble can give us an indication of some of the players under pressure to put in a good performance to jump up the FedEx Cup standings and make it to the season-ending Tour Championship. Kevin Kisner, winner just a fortnight ago, Keegan Bradley and Si Woo Kim are right on the bubble. But Brian Harman at 39 is a player that jumps out if we are looking for a longer shot. He has performed solidly in the majors this year, a third place finish in the Players Championship and a winner of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow is as close to course form as we have. He needs a big week to jump up and that good form in tournaments with similar level fields point towards the left-hander having a big week in Maryland.
Unreal finish for Keith Mitchell. Needed to birdie 16, 17 and 18 to guarantee he gets to the BMW. SO he birdies 16, 17 and 18 to get to the BMW.
Doesn't get much better than that. Stones.
— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) August 23, 2021
With only 30 players making it through to East Lake next week we should see an exciting Sunday finish throughout the field. Last week Keith Mitchell birdied the final three holes just to make it to this event and we are likely to see similar drama at the BMW Championship. The FedEx Cup adds a lot of excitement to the end of the season, and with players still out there fighting for a spot in the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup, there is so much on the line.