2017 BMW Championship: Conway Farms Golf Club (9/12/17)

By Frank Brank @realfrankbrank


The PGA Tour Playoffs have reduced the field down to 70 in the next to last round of their postseason. The BMW Championship will be held at Cownay Farms Golf Club in Chicago. As usual, I'll go through the key metrics for Conway Farms to find which players have value. Historically, Conway Farms' winners have gone low.

Zach Johnson won here in 2013 where he shot 13-under in a week that included Jim Furyk's 59. In 2015, Jason Day lit up the course to take home a 22-under victory. For the first time in a while, putting will play a decent factor since quite a few birdies will be needed to take home the trophy. As a relatively short course, we'll focus on proximity of shots around 100 yards and putting this week.

I'll break down the top Favorite, Long Shot, and Dud with a number of valuable other players in each category. Favorites will be considered as those with better than 50 to 1 odds, Long Shots will be 50 to 1 odds and greater, and Duds will be better than 50 to 1 odds players to avoid. Odds will be courtesy of Bovada at the time of writing.


Favorites



If we're talking about proximity to the hole at shorter courses, it would be misleading not to mention Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. However, at +750 and +1000 odds, respectively, I believe there are better options on the board. That doesn't mean I won't be taking a little bit of Dustin Johnson; there are just more value elsewhere with the short field. I believe DJ is the clear-cut favorite again this week.

Rickie Fowler, though, comes in a close second for me. First off, Fowler has been the best putter on tour, according to strokes-gained putting. Among the favorites at the top of the board, not many even rank close to Fowler on the greens. Speith ranks 12th in the field this week and DJ is 31st. The second and third best putters are Henrik Stenson at 25 to 1 odds and Patrick Reed at 28 to 1 odds.

Not to mention, Fowler is a sniper with a wedge in his hand. Rickie's proximity to the hole on shots 100 to 125 yards is 17'11", fourth best in the field. His scrambling percentage also ranks 5th in the field. When Rickie will need that big par save to keep his round going, he's got some of the best odds of doing so.

Fowler has finsihed in the top 22 in eight of his last nine tournaments. He's done everything but win. I think he's got a great chance this week.

Other Favorites with value in order of preference: Jon Rahm (+1400), Dustin Johnson (+750), Marc Leishman (+4000)


Longshots



Molinari makes another appearance in the longshots category this week. We've focused a lot on him this season, but his odds keep going up despite his play being somewhat worthy of a small stake every week. At 100 to 1 odds, it's difficult not to jump on the 7th best tee-to-green player in the field, especially so when he's the top player from 100 to 125 yards.

I know I said putting matters, and that's a rarity, but if Molinari can knock a few close and not need his putter as often as others, it may matter less to him. Not to mention, he's the 17th best scrambler in the field for when he does miss the green. As a shorter hitter, he typically sits at a decent disadvantage to a field of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIroy, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas. That changes a bit this week at a course where guys like Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk have had great successes.

Other Long Shots with value in order of preference: Kyle Stanley (+12500), Brendan Steele (+25000)


Duds



Justin Rose has never been a great putter. He's been right around average, or slightly below, for most of his recent career. That obviously doesn't help this week, but another reason I dislike Rose's chances is his short game.

Rose has a proximity to the hole on 100 to 125 yard shots of 24'1". There are five qualified golfers in the entire PGA Tour that have experienced a worse proximity. It doesn't get much better for Rose when he's missed the greens on those shorter shots. He ranks 51st in scrambling this week of the field of 70 golfers.

That's not so much a recent trend for Rose, either. Over the last three seasons, he's struggled from up close despite being a solid longer iron player. He's still a bit of a longshot at 28 to 1, but he'll need a huge resurgence of short game to win this week.

Other Duds without value in order of avoidance: Jason Day (+1800), Matt Kuchar (+3300)