The money list: Best bets for the BMW Championship
After falling just short in back-to-back starts, Spieth looks primed to triumph at a course that perfectly suits his strengths.
Conway Farms in Illinois has hosted the BMW Championship on two previous occasions, with Zach Johnson winning in 2013 and Jason Day in 2015.
Tom Fazio based his design on the links courses of Scotland, and like those, this week’s 7,200-yard, par-71 course relies on heavy wind and penal rough as its principle means of defence against low scores.
It also uses the same long fescue grass that caused problems at the US Open, so finding the fairways off the tee will be far more important than hitting it long.
Players that fare well in windy conditions are the ones to back this weekend, and the small, fast greens should also provide the best approach players with a major advantage.
Back to win
Jordan Spieth -
After back-to-back seconds at the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, Spieth is the player best-placed to triumph this weekend.
The Open champion has won three times on tour this year, and has four top twos – including that links victory at Birkdale – in his last six starts.
Six of the last 10 winners of the BMW Championship had a top-four finish in their previous two starts, and four of those had placed in the top three at the Dell Tech, so Spieth’s fine form bodes well for his chances.
Ranking fourth in GIR and first in approach play this year, the 24-year-old has the accuracy to avoid the dreaded fescue and find the small greens at Conway Farms.
He finished 13th and 16th in his previous two appearances at this course, but is a better player now and has to be backed at our boosted price.
Rickie Fowler –
Fowler is another player who should benefit from the conditions at Conway Farms.
The American won the typically windy Honda Classic in February, and is a fine links player with two career top-fives at the Open.
Fowler finished fourth at this event on this course two years ago, and is in good nick, having recorded eight consecutive finishes of 22nd or better.
He ranks a respectable 20th in approach play this season, and, as the second-best putter on this season’s PGA Tour, is capable of dealing with the speedy greens.
If the weather pans out as expected, he’s got to be in with a chance.
Patrick Reed –
Reed’s fine run of form continued with a T6 at the Dell Tech a fortnight ago, and the American Ryder Cup hero has now finished inside the top 20 in four of his last five starts.
He’s playing his best at the end of the season, just as he did last year when he won the Barclays and finished fifth at the Deutsche Bank.
Reed’s recent resurgence is largely thanks to his excellent putting, and he ranks fifth in shots gained on the greens this year.
The 27-year-old also ranks 10th in total birdies – an important stat at an event that should see plenty of low scores – and 21st in total shots gained.
He might not go all the way given that he has not won on the PGA Tour this year, but is a solid each-way bet.
Kevin Na –
Na’s form and course history make him out of the few outsiders worth looking at this weekend.
The Korean American finished sixth at the Dell Tech a fortnight ago – his second finish of sixth or better in his last three starts.
And he’s played well at Conway Farms before, with a T10 in his only previous appearance in 2015.
Ranking sixth in approach play this season and 30th in birdie average, Na has the tools the fare even better in Illinois this weekend.
If any outsider is to cause a shock at an event typically dominated by the big names, he is the best bet.
2017 progress report:
AT&T Pebble Beach - Jordan Spieth WIN (8/1)
Genesis Open - Dustin Johnson WIN (15/2)
Arnold Palmer Invitational - Tyrell Hatton PLACE (40/1)
Houston Open - Russell Henley WIN (28/1)
Texas Open - Tony Finau PLACE (33/1)
Players Championship - Francesco Molinari PLACE (50/1)
St Jude Classic - Billy Horschel PLACE (33/1)
The Open - Matt Kuchar PLACE (50/1)
Canadian Open - Ian Poulter PLACE (40/1)
WGC Invitational - Zach Johnson PLACE (50/1)
Dell Technologies Championship - Patrick Reed PLACE (28/1)