FedEx Cup Playoffs: BMW Championship Preview
This week Conway Farms Golf Club in Illinois plays host to the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and we can all feel it bubbling up very nicely on the PGA Tour.
The field teeing it up for this week's BMW Championship is the top-70 players on Tour after 30 men were cut after the conclusion of the Dell Technologies Championship just a fortnight ago. Catch some of the best shots from the week at TPC Boston below:
Only the top-30 men after this week will make it to the grand finale at East Lake, and each will retain at least a puncher's chance of the $10M winner's bounty. There will be the usual points adjustment before the Tour Championship, so there's plenty of motivation for those in the danger zone to get over the cut line this week.
At the other end of the spectrum, the top five players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) mirror the top five within the FedEx Cup standings. It's true to say that the world's best are turning it on when it matters most.
Venue: Conway Farms Golf Club, Illinois
Yardage: 7,208 yards
This Tom Fazio design is playing host to the penultimate FedEx Cup Playoff event for the third time in the last five years. Located in Lake Forest, Illinois it was opened in 1991, is set within 209 acres and keeps to the traditions of Scottish links golf.
The par four fifth is arguably the most demanding hole on the golf course due in no small part to a long, uphill carry over a water hazard from the tee box. Imposing poplar trees flank the fairway to the right, while approach shots need to land softly on a green which feeds away from the centre at all angles.
The final three holes at Conway Farms come together to provide an extremely demanding close to any golfer's round. The 16th is a devilishly sculpted par four and, while from the tee it measures 466 yards, a fresh test is possible on each of the four days of play depending on the wind direction.
The 17th is a spectacular par three which plays 230-yards downhill towards a green which can provide treacherous hole locations. The round closes with a par five which can be reached in two by the longer hitters and, for that reason and more, has a tournament defining feel about it.
Englishman Luke Donald talks about the course below:
Only 27 points separate Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the current FedEx Cup standings and the close friends both have solid chances as we get under way at the BMW Championship this week.
It may be foolhardy to look beyond the triumvirate of the game's two in-form players and defending champion Dustin Johnson when trying to select a winner in Illinois. With that said, and given that we refuse to be deterred by the threat of a little egg on the face, let's look beyond the obvious and see if we can pinpoint a winner.
Who remembers our picks for the Dell Technologies Championship? Justin Thomas and Marc Leishman came in first and second. Was it fortuitous? Was it intelligently informed? Probably somewhere in between but let's go with the latter.
With a single win at the Honda Classic in February to his name and quite a few near misses throughout 2017 to reflect back on, Rickie seems overdue a win. It could easily come this Sunday in Illinois.
Currently sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and has the game to score low around Conway Farms. The course is likely to give up many birdie opportunities, and Rickie has an impressive strokes-gained-putting statistic to suggest he should be in the thick of things.
Sitting just outside the top-10 in the standings, Charley has been playing good golf for the last few months without ever managing to get the job done.
It seems like there is a win due soon and the current world number 23 looks to have safely secured a place within the Tour Championship field, so the pressure is off to a degree. Expect a stong showing.
The Tour's very own Mr Consistency is also without a win this year but has placed in the top-5 in both of the previous FedEx Cup Playoff events.
He should score well on the greens at Conway Farms and, while it may seem unthinkable that one of the current top-5 in the FedEx won't prevail, he could be a dark horse for the FedEx Cup title.
Who do you think will take the spoils at the BMW Championship? Let us know below and let's all look forward to four days of great golf.