BMW Championship Preview & Betting Tips8 min read
The BMW Championship marks the second week of the FedEx Cup playoffs with the leading 70 players vying to make it into the field of 30 for next week’s Tour Championship decider. Patrick Reed landed last week’s opener at Liberty National to leapfrog up to second in the standings behind Brooks Koepka.
Medinah hosts this week’s tournament and it will bring back fond memories for plenty of golfers after Europe’s stunning comeback victory in the 2012 Ryder Cup. The 7,613-yard par 72 undoubtedly plays into the hands of the bigger hitters with Tiger Woods’ power helping him claim the 2006 PGA Championship title, which was the last time the classic tree-lined course was used for a strokeplay tournament.
Koepka is the joint favourite but the American failed to contend last week and his FedEx Cup playoffs record is lacklustre. Rory McIlroy is also 8/1 and the Northern Irishman is respected as he excelled at the Ryder Cup seven years ago but he was frustrated with his iron play last week and can also be overlooked.
Rahm ready to claim another win
Jon Rahm is next in the betting and the confident Spaniard is fancied to win in Chicago this week. Rahm has been one of the most consistent players in the world this summer and looks close to a fourth PGA Tour title. The power-packed 24-year-old arguably should be coming into this event off the back of a victory after squandering a lead on the final day at Liberty National as he finished tied third.
Rahm was frustrated after this result and admitted he is determined to turn his cluster of top-fives into another victory in America. He did win the Irish Open on the European Tour last month though and landed the Zurich Classic in April alongside teammate Ryan Palmer. Rahm was also third at the US Open in June and seventh at the FedEx St Jude Invitational last month. Ranked second for strokes gained tee to green and sixth for birdie average this season, Rahm is backed to contend again for more silverware at 10/1.
Adam Scott brings momentum into the BMW Championship after an excellent finish to his week at the Northern Trust. The sweet-swinging Australian closed with a round of 65 to move up into fifth place at Liberty National. His performance on the greens was particularly encouraging as a hot putter helped him make 22 birdies and an eagle across the week.
Scott has been close to getting back in the winner’s circle this year with second place at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Memorial Tournament. The 13-time PGA Tour champion was also seventh at the US Open this summer. Scott, who is fourth for strokes gained tee to green and approaching the green, was third at Medinah in the 2006 PGA Championship. With growing confidence in the putter, Scott can challenge for an overdue title at 22/1.
Motivated Reed can threaten back-to-back titles
Patrick Reed held his nerve down the closing stretch to win his seventh PGA Tour event on Sunday and successive wins should not be ruled out. There are plenty of examples of back-to-back winners during the FedEx Cup playoffs with Bryson DeChambeau, Billy Horschel and McIlroy all achieving this feat since 2012. Significantly, Reed has no shortage of motivation going into this week with automatic selections for the US team at the Presidents Cup decided on Sunday. Only the top eight are guaranteed a spot and Reed currently sits in 12th, leaving work to be done in Chicago.
Reed’s victory at Liberty National was no surprise as the fiery American has been progressively improving his game after swing changes. His last six starts have seen him finish no worse than 23rd and this includes fifth place at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and tenth at the Open Championship. The 29-year-old dropped only four shots last week, the fewest in the field, hitting 70.8 per cent of greens in regulation. If he brings this form to Medinah, back-to-back wins looks within his sights at 22/1 each way.
Marc Leishman has fond memories of the BMW Championship and could be in line for more success this weekend. The Australian won the tournament two years ago at Conway Farms – another course in Illinois – shooting 23-under-par. He will be excited about returning to the state this week and the feel-good factor could inspire him to peak again.
Leishman has been inconsistent this year but does have recent form which suggests a title challenge is realistic. The four-time PGA Tour winner was third last month, in an elite field, at the FedEx St Jude Invitational and also fifth at the Memorial Tournament in June. Leishman, who started the season with victory at the CIMB Classic, should not be overlooked at generous odds of 66/1 each way.
Ian Poulter should be inspired this week after playing a starring role in Europe’s ‘Miracle in Medinah’. The Ryder Cup specialist top scored with four points as Europe overturned a 10-6 deficit on the final day to win. Poulter also tied for ninth at the 2006 PGA Championship and comes in this week with promising form. Eighth place at in Memphis was followed by tenth at the Northern Trust suggesting another top ten finish at 9/2 is well worth backing.
Jon Rahm Each Way
Adam Scott Each Way
Patrick Reed Each Way
Marc Leishman Each Way
Ian Poulter to finish in top ten