BMW Championship Betting Tips & Predictions
The FedEx Cup race reaches its latter stages here, and while 70 players will take to the peg this week and only 30 will advance to the Tour Championship next week. And there’s just one week left to impress Davis Love III prior to his Ryder Cup wildcard picks, this event has taken on added significance. No pressure, then.
Rory McIlroy returned to winning ways at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship after a sublime final round of 65, and the Irishman looked somewhere near his best on Monday as his putter finally got hot again. Our picks were largely disappointing, and while all three made the cut our best effort was 15th from Russell Knox.
Onto this week then and the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick, Indiana. This course is famous for hosting the PGA Championship in 1991 that the ragged-trouser wearing wild man John Daly took the honours in.
Crooked Stick last played host to this event in 2012 when McIlroy took the spoils with a winning score of -20, so clearly shooting low is of key importance here. The reigning BMW champion is Jason Day, whose opening rounds of 61 and 63 kind of made the weekend a formality.
Crooked Stick was designed by Pete Dye back in the 1960s, and measures a pretty meaty 7,516 yards for its Par 72.
Bentgrass in build, Crooked Stick also features a myriad of hazards and is rather heavily tree-lined in places, so clever course management is required to navigate the ball into the cup here. But with the beauty comes the beast: four Par 5s offer plenty of scoring opportunities, as the 2012 edition of this event proved.
McIlroy produced a stunning all-round four days to lift the title back in 2012, with his GIR, putting and Scrambling numbers particularly impressive. Most of the best performers there were long off the tee, although Zach Johnson finished 12th and he rarely has the power game to compete with the ‘big boys’. It would seem that there is numerous ways to skin a cat here.
Jason Day (win only)
After a so-so first couple of rounds at Deutsche Bank, Jason Day really tuned on the style to play his final 36 holes in 135 shots and secure a share of fifteenth place. Not that impressive by his standards, but that now stretches a run of top-25 finishes to his last seven appearances.
The Aussie will want to defend his crown with pride here and looks well set to do just that: nobody has played Pete Dye courses better than him in the last two years, and he ranks second for Bentgrass green specialists. Day also features inside the top 20 for Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders (eighth) and the Par 5 equivalent (seventh), and by ranking eleventh for Bogey Avoidance we know that if this contest does turn into a birdie fest then he gives us a great chance of staying in the mix.
Day has never scored that well statistically – it is his all-round game and bottle under pressure that gets the job done – but clearly his putting (nobody is better in the world with the flatstick right now), length off the tee (16th for Driving Distance) and short game conversion (seventh for Strokes Gained: Around the Green) enable him to consistently finish inside the top 10 of tournaments.
Back him to defend with pride here.
Jimmy Walker (each way)
The PGA Championship winner had the customary ‘champion’s slump’ following his first major triumph, but he burst back onto the scene after two missed cuts with a fine third at the Deutsche Bank last week.
Few players on the planet are able to convert birdies quite like Walker (16th for Par 4 BBL and ninth for Par 5), and so low scoring contests are his favourite. He struck the ball beautifully last week, and his second round of 64 was one of the tournament’s best. That bodes very well.
In high calibre events like this it makes sense to side with proven winners, and in taking on a major winner that is back in form surely we have a logical candidate and at a great price too.
Ryan Moore (each way)
Speaking of winners in great form, few can match the credentials of Ryan Moore at the moment.
He bagged the John Deere Classic in August, the fifth PGA Tour win of his career, and has since followed that up with top 10 finishes at the Barclays and last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. And bearing in mind that this is a guy who has a habit of playing well at the same courses time after time, it was very pleasing to see that Moore recorded a tenth place finish at Crooked Stick back in 2012.
Moore isn’t the longest off the tee but boy does his games come alive from fairway to dancefloor: he ranks inside the world’s top 40 for all Strokes Gained categories from approaching, around and on the green. If staying on the short stuff is as crucial as we suspect this week, then Moore’s accuracy off the tee could well prove to be a huge strength.