Nothing like a final-round 65 to end a victory drought! That's what Rory McIlroy shot on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston for his first PGA Tour win since the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2015. (McIlroy did have a European Tour win this year.) He was six shots out of the lead when he teed off on a windy Monday and was 4-over-par after his first three holes in Friday's opening round. The win jumped McIlroy from 38th to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings. He's now assured of playing in the Tour Championship.
The biggest difference in his game at TPC Boston? Putting. Entering the tournament, he was just 117th in putts per round, 130th in strokes gained putting, 165th in total putting, 189th in putting inside 10 feet and 193rd in three-putt avoidance on the PGA Tour. But a week ago, he switched from a Nike putter -- remember, Nike is no longer making golf clubs so McIlroy, who is sponsored by Nike, had no obligation to play with one of the company's putters. McIlroy was seventh in strokes gained putting and first in putting average in Boston.
Paul Casey took a three-shot lead into Monday as he looked for his first PGA Tour win in seven years but shot a final-round 73. He did move from No. 59 to No. 10 in the points and also is guaranteed a spot in the Tour Championship and a shot at the FedEx Cup. The Top 70 in the points from TPC Boston advanced to this week's BMW Championship. The tough-luck loser was Ricky Barnes, who is No. 71 in the points. Marc Leishman is the current bubble boy at No. 70. Six players who were outside the Top 70 moved in at Boston: David Hearn, Hudson Swafford, Vaughn Taylor, Billy Hurley, Chris Kirk and Leishman.
McIlroy hadn't been playing all that well, so I didn't expect a ton from him at the Deutsche Bank. My pick to win was Aussie Adam Scott. He finished fourth at 11 under, four shots back of McIlroy. So I got him for a Top 10 at +175 as well as the top Aussie finisher at +275. Also hit on Louis Oosthuizen at +135 as the top South African. Missed on Top 10s for Jason Day (T15) and Matt Kuchar (T26).
So now it's on to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. The Top 30 after this event advance to the Tour Championship season finale in Atlanta. Right now at No. 30 is Brooks Koepka, with Daniel Berger at No. 31. Crooked Stick is best known for hosting the 1991 PGA Championship, which was won by an unknown golfer named John Daly. There is one golfer in the Top 70 who is not playing this week: Henrik Stenson, due to a knee injury. He's currently 24th in points so he might not make it to Atlanta.
In addition, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will make three of his four captain's selections for that team (first eight were automatically qualified by points) the day after the tournament. He'll make his final pick after the final round of the Tour Championship.
The defending champion of the BWM is Day, which got him to No. 1 in the world rankings. Day finished at 22 under and won by six shots at a different course, Conway Farms outside Chicago. Crooked Stick has hosted this event once, in 2012. McIlroy won at 20 under, two ahead of Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood. If a player is in the Top 5 of the points after this week, he is guaranteed the FedEx Cup with a win at the Tour Championship. Also anyone in the Top 30 after the BWM automatically qualifies for all four majors in 2017.
Golf Odds: BMW Championship Favorites
McIlroy is the +500 favorite at Bovada. He seems to like this tournament, also finishing fourth last year and eighth in 2014.
Day is +700. No one has won this event in back-to-back years, and only Tiger Woods won it twice. Day didn't play in the 2012 BMW at Crooked Stick.
Dustin Johnson (+850), Jordan Spieth (+1400) and Scott (+1600) round out the favorites. DJ was eighth last week, seventh in this event last year, sixth in 2012 and won it in 2010 at Cog Hill. Spieth was 21st last week and didn't play here in 2012. Scott had that fourth in Boston and was eighth at this event last time he played in 2014. He was sixth in 2012.
Golf Odds: BMW Championship Picks
For a Top 10, I'll go with McIlroy (-250), Scott (+125) again and Johnson (+165). Take Rory at -105 as top European, Scott at +140 as top Aussie again and Johnson at +500 as top American.
Head-to-head, I like McIlroy (even) over Day, Johnson (-140) over Spieth (+110), Scott (-130) over Justin Rose (even), Patrick Reed (-155) over Rickie Fowler (+120), Sergio Garcia (-130) over Koepka (even), Oosthuizen (-115) over Jimmy Walker (-115), and Mickelson (-115) over Casey (-115).
I will throw some longer-shot money on Ryan Moore at +4000 to win as he has three Top 10s in his past four PGA Tour events this year and was 10th at the 2012 BMW. But Johnson is my main winner pick.
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