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

After a momentum-busting week off, the PGA Tour heads to Chicago for the BMW Championship, where the field is down to the top 70 remaining in the FedEx Cup Standings, with only 30 advancing to next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. 

Kudos to the Tour for rotating venues around the country, as last year this tourney was held at Crooked Stick in Indiana, whereas this year’s host course is Conway Farms, breaking the Cog Hill rota the Tour had grown accustomed to.  Host to an NCAA Championship and several USGA events, this is the Tour’s visit to the Fazio gem, located in the suburb of Lake Forest.

Conway Farms is a prairieland-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.  It’ll be a nice breath of fresh air for the Tour to visit someplace new that isn’t beefed up to a ghastly 7,600 yards and feeding solely to the bombers and bashers.  It’s tough to say exactly which type of player will have an advantage this week, but no matter how you look at it,

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Tiger t-65th, Kuchar t-4th)

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar
– Yep, I’m still ridin’ the Kuch train, as I picked the smiley GA Tech grad before the start of the playoffs to win the whole big FedEx Cup Kahuna and I’m not about to shake that prediction now.  Kuch was the man to beat during the final round of the Barclays before Liberty National and the Statue of Liberty stole his Sunday lunch, but he bounced back strongly to a t-4th last week at TPC Boston and has some juicy good vibes heading into Conway Farms this week.

Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker
– The guy who won the free-birdies-all-throughout-his-forties lottery has been making them fly aplenty lately, most recently with his solo 2nd last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship where his 20-under par score was only good enough for second place.  Throw in the fact that Strick has a mini-home area advantage being from nearby in Madison, WI and I expect him to be in contention yet again on a Sunday (before he skips the Tour Championship to go elk hunting).

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: McIlroy t-47th, Keegan t-16th , DeLaet 3rd, Every t-62nd)

Luke Donald
Luke Donald
– Luke went to college at Northwestern and still calls Chicago home and oh yeah, is a member at Conway Farms and practices there.  His recent form hasn’t been quite so former-world-number-one-like, but I’m willing to buck his sour play of late for the home course and crowd advantage as Luke has both the game and guts to grind his way into contention this week.

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson
– Zach skipped the Barclays (the right move considering that it was for his brother’s wedding), which may have cooled his steaming hot momentum just a tad, but with his t-27th at TPC Boston aside, Zach’s last five previous Tour events go something like this- playoff loss, t-6th, t-4th, t-8th, t-5th.  So yeah, other than a tall, lanky Swede named Henrik, Zach may be one of the hottest players in the game since early August.  Also throw in the fact that his hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA is less than 2 hours away, and all signs point to contention for Zach this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST: (Last week: Graeme t-47th)

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson
– Phil’s back-to-back wins at the Scottish Open and British Open made for a memorably great year, but sans a closing 65 at Liberty National and an opening 63 at TPC Boston, Phil has been mighty pedestrian with his game.  A notorious football fan and gambler, I can’t imagine his interest is too highly piqued to travel to the Midwest to attempt to dissect a new course like Conway Farms.  His highs are as high as anyone in the history of the game, but his lows and misses are still off-the-course bad.  Stay away from Lefty this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Last week: Sabbatini t-53rd)

Daniel Summerhays
Daniel Summerhays
– The guy with the familiar last name but that almost no fan could pick out of a lineup has been playing some mighty solid golf of late, finishing t-9th at the Greenbrier, t-4th at the John Deere Classic, losing in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship, finishing t-15th at the Barclays and t-22nd at the Deutsche Bank Championship in five of his last seven events.  Daniel will have to play some extra stellar golf this week at Conway Farms to move into the top 30 to advance to next week’s Tour Championship, which comes with some mighty juicy perks (most notably is a Masters invite), and I’m betting he can parlay his current solid form into the field at East Lake.  Daniel Summerhays is my Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet #gladwedonthavetowaittilFridaythisweek

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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