The FedEx Cup playoffs moves to Chicago for this week's BMW Championship. Here's whom you should bet on and roster.
The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs continue this week with the BMW Championship—round two of the new three-tournament playoff format takes us to Chicago and Medinah Golf Club. The playoff field has been narrowed down to 70 players, with only the top 30 in the standings after this week advancing to the Tour Championship at East Lake.
Keegan Bradley, who sits 66th in the points, returns as the defending champion after his playoff win a year ago at Aronimink GC.
Brooks Koepka heads to Chitown as the FedEx Cup leader, though his lead has been trimmed after a T30 finish at last week’s Northern Trust. Fresh off his win in New Jersey, Patrick Reed enters the BMW in second place in the playoff race. Reed has now posted rounds of 69 or better in 10 of his last 11 rounds played.
The Tour makes its return to Medinah, the site of the 2012 Ryder Cup won by the Europeans. The course also hosted the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships, both won by Tiger Woods, who as of Tuesday is in the field despite withdrawing from the Northern Trust with an oblique strain.
At over 7,600 yards Medinah is long and strong, with two holes measuring over 600 yards. The length should favor the bombers as well as strong mid-iron players, while the course’s undulating greens could reward a hot putter this week.
Course: Medinah No. 3 (7,657yards, Par 72)
Defending champion: Keegan Bradley (Aronimink)
Weather forecast: Partly Sunny, Temperatures in the low 80’s
Rory McIlroy (8/1, $12,100)
Mcilroy was quick to point out last week in New Jersey that despite a disappointing Open Championship and having just one win since March, he’s having a darn good year. Turns out he’s right. Statistically Rory has been the most consistent player on tour this year, leading in strokes gained off the tee, tee-to-green overall and scoring average. His traditional Achilles heel, the putter, isn’t even an issue as he ranks 22nd in strokes gained putting. Rory could easily put to bed any doubters with a strong two-week run to a FedEx Cup title, which is distinctly possible given he enters third in the standings. He’s familiar with Medinah having won three matches during the 2012 Ryder Cup and comes in with top 10s in three of his last four Tour events.
Justin Rose (16/1, $11,400)
Rose came up just short a year ago at the BMW, losing to Keegan Bradley in a playoff at Aronimink. No doubt he’s got some unfinished business in this event which now takes him back to Medinah, where he won three matches as a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 2012. Rose hasn’t had a win since January but has now reeled off five consecutive top 20s including an 11th in Memphis and T10 at the Northern Trust. He’s hit 67% of his greens over the last two weeks and the trusty putter is hot, having ranked second in strokes gained putting after gaining 1.8 strokes on the field at Liberty National.
Ian Poulter (55/1, $9,300)
Enemy No. 1 one for American Ryder Cup fans returns to the scene of his finest victory. Poulter flat out dominated at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, going a perfect 4-0 in the matches. Yes, he’s 7 years older and not quite the same player, but Poult’s has been playing some solid golf. Top 15’s in 3 of his last 4 events including an 8th at the WGC Fed Ex St Jude and a T-10 at last week’s Northern Trust. He also finished 9th at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah.
Abraham Ancer (85/1, $8,700)
The Northern Trust was a breakout performance for the up-and-coming Mexican star. Playing in the final group on Sunday at Liberty National, Ancer fared well with a two-under 69. He simply got beat by Patrick Reed.
Ancer is on the verge of capturing his first PGA Tour victory and has shown a propensity to run off hot streaks—he’s got xix consecutive rounds in the 60’s and he ranks 10th in strokes gained off the tee and ninth in driving accuracy. In a week when driving the golf ball will be important, not many are doing it better than Ancer right now.
Sungjae Im (100/1, $8,200)
The Rookie of the Year candidate is the PGA Tour’s version of Cal Ripken Jr. Im has played in 33 tour events this season, and really has showed no signs of tiring. A T38 at the Northern Trust broke a streak of six consecutive top-25 finishes in non-major events. He ranks 19th in strokes gained total and is inside the top 50 in strokes gained putting. At 26th in the Playoff Standings, he needs another solid week to punch his ticket to East Lake, so the motivation after a long year is in place.
Tony Finau (45/1, $10,300)
Finau is battling a converging problem of a balky putter and a wayward driver. Not exactly how you’d like to enter the final stretch of the season. Despite being able to grind out a few cuts in a row, Finau has shot three straight and five of eight rounds in the 70s. After losing a half a stroke to the field in putting at the Northern Trust, Tony now ranks 124th in strokes gained putting and 175th in driving accuracy.