2015 BMW Championship Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

After a momentum-busting mid-playoff bye week, the PGA Tour heads to Chicago for this week’s BMW Championship.  The field has been trimmed down to the top 70 remaining in the FedEx Cup Standings, with only the top 30 advancing to next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. 

The host course this year is Conway Farms, you know, the site where Jim Furyk shot fifty-freaking-nine just two years ago (on a day when the next best score was 65…although he still didn’t win the tournament).  Props to the PGA Tour for rotating this tourney around the country (unlike the Tour Championship- which they should also still rotate), as last year the BMW was out in the rarified mountain air at Cherry Hills in Denver, with other likable sites Crooked Stick and Cog Hill also playing as hosts in recent years.

Conway Farms is a prairie-land type course, with heaps of fescue lining most holes, with all but a few holes open away from trees and exposed to the elements, making wind a definite factor.  The course plays to a shade under 7,200 yards and a par 71, with five par 4s topping the 450 mark.  This year Conway is sporting new bentgrass greens, which will likely play firmer than just two years ago (as most newer greens do).  When the BMW was played here two years ago, short-hitting Zach Johnson won, and fellow pea-shooters Jim Furyk, Luke Donald and Steve Stricker were also in contention.  Take that into account that length is by no means a prerequisite for success here this week.

Two weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship all four of my picks made the cut, highlighted by Lockzilla Henrik Stenson finishing solo 2nd, after coughing up his late lead to eventual champion Rickie Fowler.  I also spot on nailed my BUST of the week again as Jimmy Walker predictably played his way into another weekend off.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: DJ t-44th, Henrik 2nd)

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth
– The PGA Tour Player of the Year had a surprising back-to-back set of weekends off, but despite the fact that comedy genius Larry David says that Spieth is going “wildly bald,” it’s not time to sound the alarm, it’s time to pounce.  No question that in the past two events that his game wasn’t sharp, particularly his putting.  Don’t think for a second that he’s taken the MCs lightly- he’s a competitive gamer who with an extra week off to rediscover that world #1 feel, will be extra primed and ready to go come Thursday.  He finished t-16th here two years back, so he also does have some course experience to add to the mix.

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed
– Patrick “Top 5” Reed is one of the steadiest, most consistent players on Tour, who often speaks his mouth, but still often gets overlooked.  In 25 events this season, he’s missed only two cuts and has logged a whopping 14 top 25s, including a win at the season opening Hyundai TOC.  He also revved back up into solid form two weeks ago at TPC Boston where he finished t-4th.  He’s played Conway before (t-59th here two years ago) and is one of the safest bets for a top 25 with top 5 upside this week (pun definitely intended).

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Dufner t-60th)

Kevin Kisner
Kevin Kisner
– It’s been a dream-like season for the Kis, despite the fact that he has yet to break through for that maiden PGA Tour victory, as he now has added three playoff losses to his resume.  I’ll be honest, I was about ready to write him off for the rest of the season after he seemingly cooled following the British Open and then suddenly, he posts finishes of t-20th and t-12th to start the FedEx Cup Playoffs and boom, he’s back in fine form.  No course history at Conway, but call it added motivation to finally chase down that first victory before the season’s end.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Walker MC)

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler– A mighty impressive win two weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship it sure was for Rickie, but if he’s taught us anything about his game this season, it’s that he’s still mighty inconsistent.  Following the biggest win of his life at the PLAYERS Championship this season, he followed it up with two violent missed cuts at the Memorial and the U.S. Open, and I have no reason to believe that he’s suddenly discovered the fountain of consistency.  Stay away from Rickie this week and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Donald t-39th)

Russell Knox
Russell Knox
– Certainly in the discussion of best players to not have won on the PGA Tour, Knox mirrored my Semi-Flier Kevin Kisner’s performance to start to the playoffs, going t-20th and t-12th the first two events.  In both events, Knox posted final round scores over par (72, 75), which made the final finishing number not reflect how well he played throughout both weeks.  His 11 top 25s on the season are no fluke, he’s one of the best iron players on Tour (currently 6th in GIR on the season).  Look for Russell to make some noise this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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