- Full preview of the second stage of the FedEx Cup
- Field cut to 70 after last week’s Northern Trust
This week we have the latest instalment in the FedEx Cup, the BMW CHAMPIONSHIP.
Reduced from last week’s 125 players, we have just 70 of the world’s best golfers in action at one of the most famous, or infamous, venues in the US – Medinah.
Here’s a preview of the action in the “Prairie State”…
The penultimate event in this year’s reduced FedEx Cup series (it’s only three weeks long this time around, and not 4 weeks, as in previous years), the top 70 players in the points table will compete at the BMW to see who makes the Tour Championship. There’s no halfway cut, and after this week only the top 30 players will proceed to the mega-bucks finale at East Lake, Georgia. This event was brought into the play-offs in 2007 (formerly known as the Western Open) and in keeping with its heritage the tournament is traditionally held in the mid-West states, always attended by a top class field.
We’re at Medinah GC in Illinois. This is a famous course, hosting multiple Major tournaments and, most prestigious of them all, the Ryder Cup in 2012 – which saw the Europeans come back on the final day from a seemingly hopeless position to complete what was known as the “Miracle of Medinah”. The tree-lined course was designed by Tom Bendelow in 1928, and was upgraded just before the 2012 Ryder Cup. The course will play as a par 72, laid out over a lengthy 7,613 yards – so it’ll be right up the street for this week’s big-hitters.
Medinah is looking pure. 💯 pic.twitter.com/saqdEaUzs5
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2019
72-Hole Record – 265, Dustin Johnson (2016)
18-Hole Record – 59, Jim Furyk (2013)
Past Winners – Keegan Bradley (2018), Marc Leishman (2017), Dustin Johnson (2016), Jason Day (2015), Billy Horschel (2014).
The Field – Just 70 players line up in Illinois this week. Brooks Koepka is the 8/1 market leader.
Rain is on the cards, with a 40% chance on both Friday and Saturday. But either side, Thursday and Sunday should be dry. Temperatures this week will be in the mid 80s, and with low wind speeds the humid conditions could well be a factor.
Justin Thomas – $15 available
“My ratings again have Thomas right at the top of the charts and another steady effort last week in The Northern Trust (tied 12th) showed that his game is right there in terms of winning. Thomas just needs to shed a few shots and he’ll be back in the winners enclosure again. He ranks 2nd for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green, 5th for Greens-In-Regulation, 1st Birdie Average and 8th for Scoring… so how Thomas hasn’t won in 2019 is hard to fathom. This week’s test should again be to his liking, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t feature on the leaderboard at some stage (and hopefully on Sunday!). Like Rose below, you can’t shout Thomas as being massive value, but he must be one of a handful of players who ticks all the boxes ahead of this week’s expected stern test.”
Justin Rose – $19 available
“There was much to like about Rose’s effort in New Jersey last week, and even though his numbers steadily declined during the week (65-68-69-71) he didn’t do too much wrong, and but for a couple of late bogeys Rose would have been in the places. There is nothing to add here about his credentials as a player, and his ability to win big events, and Rose comes here with a recent record of 13-3-20-11-10, which is very solid play indeed. He knows Medinah well enough, and I think he’s a more reliable member of the market leaders than some players (at shorter prices). I wouldn’t say his price is huge value, but with 7 each-way places on offer, and given his pedigree, and current form, I think Rose is deserving of a place in the staking plan this week.”
Xander Schauffele – $46 available
“Schauffele is a man who usually plays his best golf in the biggest events so I was surprised the young American missed the cut last week. However his tee-to-green numbers weren’t actually that bad having hit 86% fairways and 72% greens – so I’m happy to look at last week as a minor blip rather than anything else. Schauffele finished 2nd at the US Masters, and 3rd at the US Open, and he won the season opener Tournament of Champions in Hawaii back in January. Schauffele wasn’t on the scene back in 2012 when Medinah hosted the Ryder Cup, but this tough venue should be ideal for a man who thrives on tricky layouts. Schauffele has a great FedEx play-off record which reads 17-53-20-1-MC-49-3-7. He’s definitely a player who thrives the closer they get to the Tour Championships, and the big money that goes with it. I think 40/1 in a limited field looks big value on a player who plays his best on the biggest stages.”
Rafael Cabrera-Bello – $81 available
“RCB’s wife gave birth last week, that’s why he pulled out of the Northern Trust. This week we’re getting the same price on him, despite there being 50 less players to compete against – so it would be silly not to get involved. I understand he’s probably not practised as much but he’ll be on ‘Cloud 9’ and the “nappy factor” is definitely a thing to note. Most Ryder Cup venues would suit RCB’s supreme tee-to-green game, and I think Medinah will be perfect for the Spaniard. His form from his last 5 starts reads 3-4-9-MC/12 which is outstanding playing by any standards. Quotes of 80/1+ look too good to ignore.”