The Field

This is the third leg of the Fed Ex cup playoffs.  The field has now been reduced to 70 players and so there will no cut to worry about this week.  All the players teeing it up will get to play 4 rounds unless they withdraw.  Players will also be vying to make sure they are in the top 30 of the Fed Ex cup point standings at the end of the week as those who are not are not eligible for play in the finale.  Some notable names NOT in the field include Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel and Marc Leishman.  Sergio Garcia, who skipped the first two playoff events, makes his return and will need a big week at this tournament to be eligible to play at East Lake for the finale.

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The Course

Conway Farms, Lake Forest, Illinois

7100-7200 yards, Par 71

Conway Farms is part of a rotation of courses that is used for the BMW championships.  It’s not overly long but has some tight fairways that are lined with fescue style “links rough” that can really penalize the players.  The course has a mix of short “fun” holes where strategy off the tee will be tested and long challenging holes where two quality shots will be needed for a player to make par.  The course opened back in 1991 but plays much like many older-styled courses do and challenges players in ways other than length, making it similar in many ways to Plainfield, the site of the Barclays.  Players will not simply be able to just grip it and rip on this course and both good strategy and ball-striking will be needed.

Last 5 WinnersUSATSI_8757639_168381090_lowres

Billy Horschel—2014 
Zach Johnson—2013
Rory McIlroy—2012
Justin Rose—2011
Dustin Johnson—2010

 

 

Winning Trends
  • The Past 5 winners of the BMW Championship have all had at least one top 6 within their last three starts on tour.
  • None of the past 5 winners of the BMW Championship had missed the cut in their previous start on tour.
Statistics

Par 4 scoring
Strokes Gained: tee to green
Greens in Regulation

When the tournament was last played at Conway Farms in 2013 five of the players who finished inside the top ten were ranked 13nd or better in par 4 scoring, including eventual winner zach Johnson who was ranked 13th.  I’m also focusing on tee to green play this week and think looking at both Greens in Regulation and Strokes Gained: tee to green will be important.  This course is not designed for bombers and so looking at golfers ranked highly in categories that reward consistent ball striking is a good idea.  Consistent tee to green play is more important than overall distance this week.

Who’s Hot?
  • Daniel Summerhays looks to be heating up at the right time for the playoffs. He has a 6th and a 9th in his two playoff starts and looks to be pushing for a spot in the final 30.
  • Zach Johnson has recovered nicely from his PGA Championship missed cut finishing 4th at the Barclays and 22nd at the Deustche. He’s defending his 2013 BMW title won on this course.
  • Kevin Kisner has played some under the radar good golf lately. He’s been 12th and 20th in his first two playoff events.
  • Henrik Stenson is easily in the best form of pretty much anyone. Two second place finishes in the first two playoff events and a 25th at the PGA.  He is primed for another good playoff run.
Who’s Not?
  • David Lingmerth has really fallen on hard times since his great run up to the Championship. He missed his first two cuts in the playoffs badly and will look to rebound this week (or be ejected from the playoffs)
  • Brooks Koepka is another fantasy favorite who has struggled since the Fedex playoffs have started. After a brilliant summer laden with top 10’s Brooks has now missed two cuts in a row and will look to turn it around this week.
  • Russell Henley has been very consistent all year but missed his last cut and finished dead last at the Barclays (amoung those who played four rounds). He’ll need a good week to survive to the final.
  • Jordan Spieth, has missed his past two cuts (badly). Spieth has been so good all year his recent poor form shows you how quickly things can turn for a player.
DFS Strategy

The trends of past Fedex playoffs are hard to ignore.  Over the history of the playoff format several quality players have gone on huge runs and won multiple playoff events.  When looking the top players this week I would generally stick to those playing well and coming in off of good performances.  However given the depth of the field and the fact there’s no cut line I think you can take some chances with lower-priced players in tournament lineups.  Differentiating yourself will be big in the larger prize-pool gpps and using the lower-owned, cheaper-priced players is probably the best way to do this since you’ll be getting four rounds of play from them regardless.

My Winner: Patrick Reed

Reed’s putter started heating up in his last tournament where he tied for fourth.  I think Reed can excel this week.  He’s currently 9th in par 4 scoring on tour and is a proven winner, having bested some tough fields in the past.

My Sleeper: Russell Knox

Knox is 7th in Greens in regulation and 6th in par 4 scoring.  He’s also coming in with good form and has a 22nd and a 12th in his last two starts.