Before I go into this week's BMW Championship, the third event of the PGA Tour's four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments, let's quickly recap the Deutsche Bank Championship over Labor Day Weekend. You may need a reminder since the Tour was dark last week.
Rickie Fowler won the event at 15-under 269, beating Henrik Stenson by a shot -- and that hurt me deeply because Stenson was my choice to win. Fowler and Stenson played in the final group on Labor Day, with Stenson taking a one-shot lead through 54 holes. However, his 7-iron approach was short and tumbled back into the water at the par-3 16th. That was the only opening Fowler needed. The win jumped him to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup and No. 5 in the world rankings. Fowler became the fourth player age 27 or younger (Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth) to have multiple wins this season. That hasn't happened since 1997 (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Ernie Els and Justin Leonard).
Stenson, meanwhile, became the third player this season to finish runner-up in back-to-back weeks, joining Spieth (Valero Texas Open, Shell Houston Open) and Bubba Watson (RBC Canadian Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. So while I wasn't super high on Fowler in the Deutsche Bank, (I hit on him at -115 over Zach Johnson), I did get Stenson at +130 for a Top 10 and at +300 as the top European. Let's move on.
The Top 70 in the points have moved on to the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club outside Chicago. Only the Top 30 from here advance to the season-ending Tour Championship next weekend in Atlanta. The current No. 70 is George McNeill; he would need at least a second-place finish to move on. At 31 is David Lingmerth and at 30 is Louis Oosthuizen. Anyone in the Top 5 at the Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup with a victory in the tournament. Day, Spieth, Fowler, Stenson and Watson are currently there. Everyone one from No. 17 (Rory McIlroy) through No. 1 are likely to advance no matter what happens this weekend.
This is another challenging tournament to handicap because it moves around. It was at Conway Farms just once previously, a win by Zach Johnson in 2013. That event ended on Monday because of rain. Johnson shot a final-round 6-under 65 to beat Nick Watney by two shots. Jim Furyk shot a 59 here that year and led through three rounds. Billy Horschel won this event last year at Cherry Hills in Colorado.
Sergio Garcia is in the field this week after missing the first two FedEx Cup events. There is no cut at the BMW, which moves to Crooked Stick in Indiana in 2016.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: BMW Championship Favorites
Day is the +700 favorite at Bovada . The Aussie had a chance at the No. 1 world ranking at the Deutsche Bank but couldn't quite get there with a T12 -- he remains at No. 3. The week off might have benefited Day more than anyone as he admitted he was "running on fumes" at the Deutsche Bank, where he was coming off consecutive victories. Day was T4 here two years ago. He could get the No. 1 again with a top-two finish and depending on what McIlroy and Spieth do.
McIlroy is +850 and Spieth +1100. Rory was T29 in Boston and T59 here in 2013. Spieth is shockingly coming off back-to-back missed cuts, so no doubt he was happy for the break as well. He was T16 here in 2013.
Stenson (+1200) and Fowler (+1600) round out the favorites. Stenson was T33 here two years ago and Fowler T39. Spieth, Day and Fowler are playing together for the first two rounds.
PGA Tour Picks: BMW Championship Expert Predictions
For a Top-10 finish, I like Day (-135), Spieth (-110), who wants that No. 1 ranking back, Dustin Johnson (+150) and Furyk (+150). Go with Justin Rose at -175 as top English player but Sergio at +900 as the top European.
Head-to-head, I like Mickelson (-115) over Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson (even) over Fowler (-130), Oosthuizen (-125) over Brooks Koepka (-105), Hideki Matsuyama (-115) over Matt Kuchar (-115), Sergio (-110) over Patrick Reed (-120), Rose (-120) over Zach Johnson (-110), Spieth (-120) over Stenson (-110), and Furyk (-120) over Watson (-110).
Call it a hunch as Dustin Johnson didn't play great at the Deutsche Bank or here in 2013. I think he's tired of hearing about the Big 3 of Day, McIlroy and Spieth. Take Johnson at +2000 to win.
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