Out of the Rough: BMW Championship (2022)
We didn't have much success last week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship. We made a few dollars back in DFS but in all, we lost money. That’s not the norm for us here in this series as we’ll look to bounce back this week. Our favorite last week in Justin Thomas went -9 for T13th. We had a few guys in the top ten with Tony Finau (T5th) and Matt Fitzpatrick (T5th.) The field has been reduced from 125 to 70. With a small field to choose from and no cut line this week, placement will be of the utmost importance. Let’s get into things for this week's BMW Championship and the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs!
Justin Thomas (-9) - T13th
Tony Finau (-11) - T5th
Sungjae Im (-10) - 12th
Aaron Wise (-6) - T31st
Matt Kuchar (+2) - MC
Scottie Scheffler (-1) - MC
Matt Fitzpatrick (-11) - T5th
Hideki Matsuyama (WD)
Seamus Power (+4) - MC
Mark Hubbard (+4) - MC
Rory McIlroy (-1) - MC
Jordan Spieth (+4) - MC
Sam Burns (-8) - T20th
Harold Varner III (+3) - MC
Tom Hoge (-1) - MC
For the first time in tour history, the field takes to Wilmington, Delaware and the Wilmington Country Club in this week’s BMW Championship.
The course will play as a Par 71 at 7,500-plus yards. It’s on the longer side and for the first time in a handful of weeks will favor the bombers off the tee.
The course is a Robert Trent Jones’ designed and plays as a traditional parkland setting with trees guarding the long and narrow fairways. The rough is thicker, which also makes hitting the skinny fairways that much more important.
There isn’t much in terms of elevation here this week but does feature long-drawn out par fours with some elevated greens to pair with the tree lined fairways.
We’ll see Bentgrass greens this week as well which is much different than the Bermuda greens we saw last week at TPC Southwind.
The course was recently re-worked in 2021 by Andrew Green after a tornado came through the area in August of 2020.
The tornado took down 300 trees including a 250 year-old-white oak that allowed for the 14th green to be moved back 60 yards.
As previously mentioned, this is the first time that the course will host a PGA event so there isn't much in terms of course history to go off of. It is no stranger to big events however as it has hosted six USGA events and the 2013 Palmer Cup competition between Europe and the United States.
From here, the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings will advance to the final week. There will be many storylines and drama to follow this week as golfers look to not only get into the top 30 for a chance at golf’s biggest monetary prize and a name on the FedEx Cup, but also the top ten in the standing getting stroke advantages at next week’s finale.
As for weather this week it looks clear Thursday and Friday with temperatures into the high 80’s. There is a 40-percent chance of rain both Saturday and Sunday however with lows in the mid-to-low 80’s. The rain over the week has the highest chance between Saturday afternoon into Sunday Morning.
Important statistics to consider this week include Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT,) Hit Fairway Percentage, Par 4 Scoring Average, Average Driving Distance, Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG,) Bogey Avoidance, Proximity to Hole, Strokes Gained: Approach, Three Putt Avoidance and Sand Save Percentage.
Justin Thomas ($10,100) is once against a top this price range as he is one of the best statistical golfers on tour. When it comes to par four scoring, there’s no one better on tour than Thomas. As always, there is an emphasis on par fours when it comes to Wilmington Country Club. With 11 on the course, this is where the tournament is won or lost. On top of that, he’s third on tour in SG: TTG, fifth in SG: APP, eighth in sand save percentage, 14th in average driving distance, 15th in SG: OTT and 21st in proximity to hole. Thomas is also 58th in three putt avoidance but is well below average in hit fairway percentage. The rest of his game is elite, so I’m not sweating that too much. Thomas is also in form as he went -9 last week, good enough for T13th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship. In limited action dating back to the PGA Championship in late May, in which Thomas won, he has missed just two cuts and also went third at the RBC Canadian Open. He’s the second cheapest golfer in this price range which will allow for lineup flexibility. Also consider Rory McIlroy ($10,500.) Although Rory missed the cut last week he’s the favorite this week. This is a course suited for McIlroy as it allows for the big bombers to get off the tee. He’s second on tour in average driving distance. He’s also fifth in SG: OTT and SG: TTG, ninth in par four scoring average, 11th in sand save percentage, 14th in SG: APP and 15th in bogey avoidance. McIlroy is slightly above average in proximity to hole and slightly below average in three putt avoidance. Like Thomas, he’s below average in hit fairway percentage. Prior to last week’s missed cut, McIlroy had made eight consecutive cuts. In that same time span he won the RBC Canadian Open, took second at The Masters, third at The Open, fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship and U.S. Open as well as eighth at the PGA Championship. McIlroy is currently sitting ninth in the FedEx Cup standings and a big week this week will propel him into the top five.
My favorite this week can be found in this price range. Xander Schauffele ($9,600) just edges out Thomas in our module for the top spot. He’s the best on tour in sand save percentage and is second in par four scoring average to only Thomas. On top of that he’s eighth in bogey avoidance, 11th in three putt avoidance, 12th in SG: TTG, 16th in SG: APP, 35th in average driving distance, 45th in SG: OTT, 73rd in hit fairway percentage and 74th in proximity to hole. Schauffele is actually one of two golfers this week who are above average in each of the statistical categories we’ve taken into consideration. Schauffele has made nine consecutive cuts dating back to May. He has wins at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Travelers Championship and Genesis Scottish Open in those nine tournaments as well. At +1900 I believe Schauffele is a very good bet this week. Also consider the hottest golfer on tour, Tony Finau ($9,700.) In his last three tournaments, Finau won back-to-back tournaments at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic and took T5th at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Finau is second on tour in both par four scoring average (tied with Schauffele just behind Thomas) and bogey avoidance. He’s also sixth in SG: TTG, eighth in SG: APP, 13th in SG: OTT and 27th in proximity to hole. He’s above average in average driving distance, three putt avoidance and sand save percentage as well. He’s below average in hit fairway percentage however. With the rest of his game and how well he’s playing, missing a few fairways isn’t going to bring him down too much.
Leading off this price range is Corey Conners ($8,300.) His price is more than fair and will go a long way with lineup flexibility. He’s currently fourth on tour in SG: OTT, tenth in proximity to hole, 14th in SG: TTG, 17th in par four scoring average, 21st in SG: APP, 27th in bogey avoidance, 31st in hit fairway percentage and 79th in average driving distance. Conners has made four consecutive cuts and has made 12 cuts in his last 14 tournaments. He fared well last week even at the FedEx St. Jude Championship where he went -7 and placed T28th. Also consider Shane Lowry ($8,700.) Lowry is elite when it comes to proximity to hole and sand save percentage where he ranks second and third on tour respectively. He also ranks seventh in bogey avoidance, 13th in SG: APP, 27th in SG: TTG, 35th in par four scoring average, 47th in average driving distance, 64th in SG: OTT and 79th in hit fairway percentage. He is just slightly below average in three putt avoidance or he would be above average in each of the statistical categories we’ve considered. Lowry has missed just one cut in his last 13 tournaments. In that same time span he has a second at the Honda Classic, three top threes, four top tens and nine top 25s.
Next up we have former event winner Keegan Bradley ($7,200.) Bradley won the event back in 2018. Currently, he’s 13th on tour in three putt avoidance, 18th in SG: TTG and proximity to hole, 22nd in SG: APP, 26th in SG: OTT, 45th in average driving distance, 55th in par four scoring average, 70th in bogey avoidance and 77th in his fairway percentage. Outside of 77th in hit fairway percentage, his worst ranking is 132nd in sand save percentage. Bradley is in a bit of a rough patch, making just one cut in his last four events. However, prior to this current rough patch, he made seven straight cuts with two top fives and four top tens. That stretch was highlighted by a T2nd at the Wells Fargo Championship. Also consider Mito Pereira ($7,100.) At the bottom of this price range, like Bradley, Pereira offers a lot of lineup flexibility. It wasn’t long ago that Pereira was standing on the tee box of the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship with a one stroke lead. Since then, he has not been in good form. However, he regained a bit of form last week making the cut at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship. Pereira still is an elite ball striker as he’s 11th on tour in SG: APP. He’s also 16th on tour in SG: TTG, 17th in par four scoring average, 23rd in bogey avoidance, 24th in SG: OTT, 27th in proximity to hole, 70th in average driving distance and 71st in hit fairway percentage. Pereira is also at +11000 to win so he’ll get a few dollars on my behalf this week.
When speaking earlier of Xander Schauffele we mentioned that there was one other golfer this week who ranked above average in all statistical categories we’ve highlighted. That one other just happens to be Chris Kirk ($6,700.) Kirk is 17th on tour in SG: TTG, 20th in SG: OTT, 30th in hit fairway percentage, 35th in par four average scoring, 42nd in sand save percentage, 51st in bogey avoidance, 52nd in SG: APP, 74th in three putt avoidance, 84th in proximity to hole and 100th in average driving distance. Kirk missed the cut at last week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship but prior to that made the cut in seven consecutive tournaments. In those seven tournaments he went T5th at the PGA Championship and T7th at the RBC Canadian Open. He also went T15th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T17th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. At +12000 to win this week, Kirk is my favorite “longshot.” Also consider Brandon Steele ($6,200.) Nearly at the complete bottom of the price range, Steele offers a ton of lineup flexibility and in such a small field, that is crucial. Steele is actually sixth on tour in SG: OTT, 23rd in proximity to hole, 28th in SG: TTG, 35th in par four average scoring, 42nd in average driving distance, 43rd in SG: APP, 50th in hit fairway percentage and 56th in bogey avoidance. His score is brought down by his well below average finishes in three putt avoidance and sand save percentage. It’ll take some luck and some putts to fall, but Steele could be the difference maker this week for you. Steele has missed two cuts in his last three events but prior to that went on a run of making eight straight cuts, highlighted by a T4th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, T9th at the PGA Championship and T10th at the Memorial Tournament. He’s showed up in larger tournaments before, why can’t he again this week?
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, Lenny will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week Lenny went with Chad Ramey. Ramey missed the cut at +3.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
The Zurich Classic - Jay and Billy Haas (E) - T59th
The Mexico Open - Carlos Ortiz (-5) - T51st
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Harry Higgs (-4) - MC
The PGA Championship - Talor Gooch (+1) - T20th
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Tom Hoge (+4) - MC
The Memorial Tournament - Mackenzie Hughes (+2) - T37th
The RBC Canadian Open - Adam Svensson (-6) - T21st
The US Open - Fran Quinn (+13) - MC
The Travelers Championship - Keegan Bradley (-9) - T19th
The John Deere Classic - Doug Ghim (+1) - MC
The Genesis Scottish Open - Robert MacIntyre (+5) - MC
The Open - Tyrell Hatton (-11) - T11th
The 3M Open - Mardy Fish (+13) - MC
Rocket Mortgage Championship - Ryan Brehm (-7) - T57th
The Wyndham Championship - Chesson Hadley (-11) - T8th
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship - Chad Ramey (+3) - MC
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
We hit another dud last week as World #1 Scottie Scheffler couldn’t manage to make the cut. This week we will be going with one of the hottest golfers on tour in Tony Finau. Let’s hope he can keep his hot streak going and help us get that cash total up with just two weeks left in the season.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)
The Zurich Classic - Marc Lesihman ($24,111.50)
The Mexico Open - Gary Woodland ($60,955)
The AT&T Byron Nelson - Sam Burns ($0)
The PGA Championship - Justin Thomas ($2,700,000)
The Charles Schwab Challenge - Mito Pereira ($246,540)
The Memorial Tournament - Xander Schauffele ($142,800)
The RBC Canadian Open - Corey Conners ($315,375)
The US Open - Matt Fitzpatrick ($3,150,000)
Travelers Championship - Joaquin Niemann ($0)
The John Deere Classic - Nate Lashley ($0)
The Genesis Scottish Open - Justin Thomas ($0)
The Open - Rory McIlroy ($933,000)
The 3M Open - Sungjae Im ($667,500)
Rocket Mortgage Championship - Patrick Cantlay ($635,600)
The Wyndham Championship - Russell Henley ($270,100)
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship - Scottie Scheffler ($0)