BMW Championship Predictions
Date: September 4-7, 2014
Course: Cherry Hills CC Denver, Co
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
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There are just a few loose ends to tie before the 2014 PGA season comes to an end and the first comes this week with The BMW Champsionship. The BMW is the third leg in the FedExCup Playoffs and stakes couldnt be higher with players trying to get inside the top-5 in points heading into The Tour Championship as that provides the best chance to win the $10 million dollar top prize. It takes a win to be in that top-5 but if you cant get that, a top-30 rank after this week will at least get players into the final field and that also comes with automatic berths to all four Majors in 2015. There is a lot at stake for all 69 players teeing it up at Cherry Hills this week.
Considering there is so much to play for, we often see some of the best golf of the year in these final events and all of the players this week have earned their spots here so this is one of the very best fields that we have seen. Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott are probably the brightest stars in some regard but Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Zach Johnson are all going to be factors as we head into the weekend.
The players will take on Cherry Hills and given its mile high locale, expect the course to play much shorter than the nearly 7,500 yards that are listed on the card. The par-71 features a classic layout with meandering fairways that are lined with troublesome trees and well placed bunkers. Controlled shots are called for as there is enough trouble to punish wayward shots and these greens are best attacked from the fairways. The longest hitters have the opportunity to turn to the fairway woods if they are crooked with the driver as the altitude will give them all the distance they need. Accurate drivers see the biggest advantage and reading putts becomes key on greens that are subtle and seldom seen by PGA Tour eyes.
The online betting sites have fired up the board so lets take a look at some of the best bets for the week. Here are a the players that I am laying my money on, one short, middle and long odds pick and Ive broken down a couple of marquee head to head matches as well.
Jason Day (14 to 1 odds to win)
Outside of the winners the last two weeks, it is hard to find a better competitor than Day over that span. Jason was T2 at the Barclays and T7 at the Deutsche for an impressive start to his playoff season. He has battled all the way back from thumb issues earlier in the year and appears to be playing as well as he ever has. The injury dragged many of his stats down but despite just the 60thbest all around stat, Day nets the 11thbest scoring average. He has really done it with smoke and mirrors at times but now that he is healthy, the wins cant be far off. Expect top-5 contention out of him again this week. He is hot right now.
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Jimmy Walker (33 to 1)
Jimmy has been frustrating to me this year as his fast start made his value too low in the early going and he hasnt been able to come through lately now that he could actually return a nice profit. He was a cut victim at the Barclays but stormed back with a T9 last week and still remains fourth in the FedExCup standings. He really has had a nice year overall with ten top-10 finishes, including those three early wins and his numbers have stayed good throughout with top-10 ranks in driving distance, putting, birdie average and scoring. He is a very solid 20thin the overall stat category and should continue to play well this week at a very similar course the one he just fared well at last week.
Zach Johnson (40 to 1)
Zachs 2013 BMW title came at Conway Farms so this isnt a nod to him having a favorite course. Johnson should do well at Cherry Hills as well given his top-10 fairways hit percentage and he will be adding plenty of distance with the help of the altitude. He has T22 and T16 finishes the last two weeks so he is on the fringes of contention and top-35 marks in everything from ballstriking and greens hit to birdie and scoring average make for a nice stat sheet any week, anywhere. He needs to get hot on the greens to win but that is within reach and no one has a ton of experience at Cherry Hills so he certainly isnt any worse off than the field at reading and making putts.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win matches based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite golf sportsbooks for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Justin Rose (-115) v. Rickie Fowler (-115) (my pick to win: Fowler)
This one is a very common match across a lot of betting sites as Rose looks to make a statement as one of the best in the game while Fowler continues his hot play to end the season. Rickie is coming off a T23 last week, his first non top-10 finish in over a month and that is a big reason to take him in this pairing. Rose has been good but his ceiling has been low through the year and he has some shoddy fairway and putting stats to blame. Rose cant quite put it all together and Rickie has nearly reached NBA Jam levels of on fire. This should be a close match but all of Fowlers stats over that last eight weeks or so point to him being better than just about everyone and you dont get off that train until it stops paying.
Keegan Bradley (-115) v. Webb Simpson (-115) (my pick to win: Bradley)
A couple of days ago, this was just a match between very goodAmerican players but now it is a match against two of the most recent Ryder Cup Captains picks. Both should be buoyed by the Ryder Cups selections and should be motivated to prime their games for Gleneagles in a few weeks. They are remarkably similar on the stat sheet but Bradley gets the nod in the tee to green game which plays a bigger role this week than in most. Keegan still managesa slightly better scoring average off of lesser putting numbers than Webb so it will be tough for Simpson to push through on a mostly unfamiliar course.
Good luck and good golf!