FedEx Cup Picks: BMW Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/3/2014
It was a great day to start this week for American Chris Kirk, followed by a little bit of depressing news, although on the whole he certainly came out ahead.
On Monday, Kirk shot a final-round 5-under 66 at TPC Boston to win the Deutsche Bank Championship (he was 10 shots out after Round 1), the second leg of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs. It was the third win of Kirk's career and easily the biggest, earning him $1.4 million or so and the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings. Many believed the victory would lead to Team USA Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson to name Kirk as one of his three wild-card choices on Tuesday, but he went with Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson. The first two guys you can't argue, but really Simpson shouldn't have been chosen over Kirk.
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I thought my winless streak would end last week with Jason Day leading after 36 holes and still in great position to win heading into Monday. Alas, he shot a final-round 71 to finish tied for seventh. Day would have paid off at 11/1 to win. I didn't even get him as the top Australian at 15/8 with both Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden finishing higher. That's just aggravating. I also thought Jim Furyk was really good value to win at 28/1, but he finished T23.
I did get Day at +175 for his Top-10 finish. I missed on countryman Adam Scott (+125) by one stinking shot. Head-to-head, I hit on Scott (-140) over Henrik Stenson (+110) and Day (-115) over Stenson (-115). Shockingly missed on Graham DeLaet at -250 as the top Canadian against David Hearn but got Hideki Matsuyama at -250 as the top Japanese player against Ryo Ishikawa, who missed the cut.
So now it's a quick turnaround for the Top 70 in the FedEx Cup points, down from Top 100 last week, for the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club outside of Denver. Six players jumped from outside the Top 70 into it at the Deutsche Bank: Ogilvy, Billy Horschel, Chesson Hadley, Carl Pettersson, Morgan Hoffmann and Ben Crane. Ogilvy was right on the No. 100 bubble last week but jumped all the way to No. 24 with his co-runner-up finish. Hoffman is the only guy who started the playoffs outside the Top 100 to make it this far. Horschel had a chance to at least force a playoff with Kirk on Monday but bogeyed his 72nd hole to finish T2 with Ogilvy. The six who fell out at TPC Boston were Ishikawa, Justin Hicks, Ben Martin, Scott Langley, Shawn Stefani and Scott Brown. The current bubble guy at No. 70 is Jerry Kelly.
This is the first time that this event has been held at Cherry Hills. It had been staged largely in greater Chicago but also once in Missouri and Indiana. It will return to the Chicago area next year. Cherry Hills hosted the epic 1960 U.S. Open, won by Arnold Palmer and 1985 PGA Championship (Hubert Green). Mickelson also has good memories here, winning the 1990 U.S. Amateur.
Sixty-nine of the Top 70 are set to play. The only one who isn't is suspended Dustin Johnson. Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell all took last week off for personal reasons and will return. Only the Top 30 in points advance to next week's Tour Championship and the shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup prize. You want to be in the Top 5 because if you are and you win next week, the FedEx Cup is yours. Anyone in the field could get into the Top 5 with a victory in Colorado. Right now No. 30 is Harris English with No. 31 Kevin Stadler. Mickelson has work to do sitting at No. 56. He has won at least one tournament 10 straight years, currently the longest streak on Tour, so that could end this week. Lefty, Mahan and Steve Stricker are the only players to compete in every Tour Championship in the playoff era. Mahan already is qualified, while Stricker already is out.
Zach Johnson is the defending champion, but that means little since it was a different course. Furyk shot a Friday 59 in this event in 2013, the first-ever 59 in a playoff tournament. Very few players have played this course. It measures 7,352 yards, but because of the altitude some guys might be hitting drives 400 yards.
FedEx Cup Golf Odds: BMW Championship Favorites
Rory McIlroy is the 9/2 favorite at Bovada . He enters this tournament No. 2 in points and after a bit of a hiccup at The Barclays (T22), McIlroy was T5 last week. Adam Scott is 12/1. He is 13th in points so would obviously like to jump into the Top 5. Scott has finished T15, T15 and T16 in his past three PGA Tour events. Pretty solid but not really ever a threat to contend.
Day is 14/1, and he's the only player with a Top-10 finish in each of the first two playoff events. Stenson (20/1) and Rose (20/1) round out the favorites. Stenson is at No. 55 in the points so he's in danger of not advancing. Rose should be rested after last week off, and he's at No. 27 in the points.
FedEx Cup Picks: BMW Championship Predictions
It's tougher to handicap this week because there's no course history to go by -- perhaps that's just what I need. On the Top-10 props, I like McIlroy (-275), Day (+115), Sergio Garcia (+155) and Mickelson (+200), not so much on Lefty's current form but wanting to get to the Tour Championship. Take McIlroy (-175) over Scott (+135) head-to-head, Rose (-115) over what I think is a tired Rickie Fowler (-115), Sergio (-125) over Stenson (-105) and Bubba Watson (-105), who will drive it miles here, over Zach Johnson (-125).
History says a Top 35 player in points will win this tournament. The lowest in points to do so was Rose at No. 34 in 2011. Again, though, all previous results were at a different course. I'm going with Bradley (40/1), who is No. 28 in points. He drives it a ton, has the Ryder Cup pressure off him now and he's overdue a win as Bradley hasn't yet this year.
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