Matchbook’s resident golf expert Cian Kirby is back for the second round of FedEx Cup playoffs as the BMW Championship takes place at Medinah Country Club this week.
It’s the final chance for players to qualify for next week’s Tour Championship finale so despite a reduced field size competition should be fierce and the event once again presents a decent betting opportunity. Below I have broken down the course details, the field and picked out three outright selections that I think could get into contention.
The Rees Jones redesigned course measures 7,650 yds with long tree-lined fairways and bentgrass greens to test the players short game. Medinah hosted the 1999 and 2006 PGA Major Championships which were both won by Tiger Woods who withdrew from last week’s FedEx Cup Playoffs due to an oblique strain. The course also hosted the 2012 Ryder Cup which has gone down in sporting history as the “Miracle at Medinah” after Europe’s unbelievable comeback on the final day which saw them win by just a single point.
The key to success at this track is long accurate driving, as with four par fives and a reachable par four, players who can bomb it off the tee should enjoy this venue.
A field of 69 players has been confirmed for the BMW Championship after last weekend’s Northern Trust. That 69 will be trimmed to 30 after the BMW for the Tour Championship which is the FedEx Cup finale.
Brooks Koepka 10.0 – The World No.1 failed to back up his recent St. Jude Invitational victory by finishing a disappointing tied 30 in the Northern Trust although I wouldn’t dwell on that performance too much as he has been the best golfer on the tour this season and remains a huge danger in any tournament.
Rory McIlroy 10.5 – A player who carries fond memories into this course having been a key man in the 2012 Ryder Cup victory where he won three out of a possible five points. Since missing the cut at the Open Championship Rory has bounced back impressively with successive Top 10 finishes and everything is pointing towards another big week for the Northern Irish man.
Jon Rahm 12.5 – The Spaniard has been in brilliant form of late and he looked set to win the Northern Trust until back-to-back bogies on the 14th and 15th spoiled his chances. He never recovered from those mistakes but he did put in another top-class display and has now finished inside the Top 11 in all of his last six starts so expect Rahm to be there or thereabouts again.
DJ Can Go All The Way
Despite losing the Ryder Cup here in 2012, Dustin Johnson (17.0) was the only American player to go unbeaten that week. The South Carolina man has won this tournament twice and was the halfway leader at Liberty National last week before failing to fire over the weekend and slipping out of contention. This exceptionally long course will suit the former US Open champion as he ranks third in strokes gained tee-to-green and 7th in driving distance.
DJ has all the right attributes to contend and with him being one of the few players to play the course competitively it gives him an edge on the remainder of the field.
A 22-time winner on the PGA Tour he may not be having his best season so far but he ticks plenty of boxes and I expect him to go close this week.
Reed Em And Weep
I was pleasantly surprised to see odds of 38.0 available on last weeks winner Patrick Reed, who showed his class in the Northern Trust. After a slow start to the season, Reed has got his act together of late with eight cuts made in a row which include Top 12 finishes in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Open Championship, St.Jude Invitational and most recently the Northern Trust.
History has told us that when Reed is playing at the top of his game he can continue to churn out results week after week. Before his US Masters victory, he posted three Top 10 finishes and backed up that victory with successive Top 8 finishes before contending at the US Open. Also, after his win at the Barclays in 2016, he contended at the following two tournaments before being the star of the show at the Ryder Cup.
It’s clear to see when Reed is on it he’s one of the best in the business and odds of 38.0 are too big to ignore.
Finau Can Show His Class
For my final pick, I am taking a chance on Tony Finau at 44.0 who has placed 7th and 8th in this event over the last two years. After missing three straight cuts in June, Finau has finished inside the Top 30 on his next four outings including a third-place finish at the Open Championship. Similar to DJ, Finau excels off the tee ranking 9th for driving distance so this venue should be right up his street. Also with so few Presidents Cup places up for grabs the Utah man will be eager for a piece of the limelight. Although Finau has just a single PGA Tour victory to his name he is a player with huge ability and is sure to land a big event sooner rather than later.
- Dustin Johnson 2 point win @ 17.0 & 1 point place
- Patrick Reed 2 point win @ 38.0 & 1 point place
- Tony Finau 1 point win @ 44.0 & 0.5 point place