Golf fans are in for an exciting tournament this week. The top-70 players in the FedEx Cup standings will square off in hopes of cracking the top-30 and making it into next week’s Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Making things extra interesting is the fact that over half the field will need to finish around the top-10 this week in order to accomplish that feat. As the tournament begins Thursday, many players will be going for broke creating quite the shootout in Illinois.
The host course, Conway Farms GC, is located in Lake Forest, Illinois and was established in 1991. A club built on tradition, the Tom Fazio design has a scottish links feel. The BMW Championship was last held at this venue two years ago when Zach Johnson took home the title, defeating Nick Watney by two shots. The highlight of the week was Jim Furyk’s monumental 59 which he posted in the second round. Furyk went on to finish 3rd.
The big surprise of this year’s playoffs has been the play of Jordan Spieth. After a season which seemed like it wasn’t possible for him to finish outside the top-10, he has now missed two consecutive cuts at both The Barclays and The Deutsche Bank. While it is surprising, we need to remember that it’s allowed. Spieth has had a historic season, and having a couple off weeks can be expected. Don’t be surprised to see him turn it around very soon, especially after this past off-week.
Also turning heads has been the play of Jason Day. Since missing a putt on the 72nd hole at the Open Championship to miss the playoff, he has played incredibly inspired golf. In doing so, he has placed himself squarely in the discussion with McIlroy and Spieth pertaining to who is golf’s next shining star. The interesting thing with all of this discussion has been that Day and Spieth have been on the offensive all season long, while McIlroy has been painted as simply trying to hold on to his number one spot in the World Golf Rankings. While he did lose this status for a week in August to Jordan, we can’t forget the big tournaments he missed due to injury, and when he has played, he’s played decently. Day and Spieth have certainly had seasons to remember, but McIlroy’s place atop the global standings is deserved, and it will take a lot to knock him off his perch for any extended period of time.
Let’s now take a look at the players to keep an eye on this week, as well as my weekly DraftKings lineups.
1. Henrik Stenson - Has got back into form after cooling off through the middle of the season. Posted runner-up finishes in the first two playoff events (The Barclays & The Deutsche Bank).
2. Jason Day - Playing dominant golf the past month, and hasn’t finished outside the top-12 since the US Open.
3. Zach Johnson - T4 at The Barclays, T22 at the Deutsche Bank and returning to Conway Farms where he won the event in 2013.
4. Jim Furyk - T11 at The Barclays, T4 at the Deutsche Bank and returning to the course where he posted his historic 59 and finished 3rd in 2013.
5. Jordan Spieth - Despite missing cuts in the first two playoff events, the season he has had makes it very difficult to bet against him. I expect that having last week off will do his game a lot of good. Look for him to compete again this week.
6. Justin Rose - Winner of this event in 2011 when it was played at Cog Hill. The seasons of Day and Spieth have overshadowed his consistent performances. Very consistently placing himself on leaderboards regardless of the stage or strength of field.
7. Bubba Watson - Similar to Rose, having a tremendous season and giving himself a chance to win tournaments. At times, not as consistent as he would hope in that he does struggle on courses that don’t suit his eye. Finished T24 on this track back in 2013, was runner-up to Billy Horschel last year at Cherry Hills GC.
8. Rickie Fowler - A big playoff win at the Deutsche Bank to go along with two others this season (The Players & The Scottish Open). Can be a boom or bust pick, as this season he has trended as either finishing inside the top-10, or well back from the leaderboard.
9. Rory McIlroy - His last two events (The PGA Championship & The Deutsche Bank) have seen him finish outside the top-11 for the first times since the beginning of March. This is to be expected after such a long layoff due to his ankle injury. Finished T8 last year and won the event in 2012, but struggled to a T59 finish when the event was last held at Conway Farms in 2013.
10. Brooks Koepka - Terrific summer of golf, not finishing outside the top-20 in any events from mid-June until the end of August. Has struggled in the playoffs with missed cuts at The Barclays and The Deutsche Bank, but stands at 21st in the standings and needs a solid week to ensure he makes it to the Tour Championship. I expect him to rise to the occasion.
1. Hunter Mahan - After struggling throughout the season, played incredibly inspired golf at the Deutsche Bank, finishing T4. His posting kept his active streak alive of competing in every FedEx Cup playoff event ever held. Sitting at 52nd in the standings, he will need another big week if he wants to make it to Georgia and the final stage of this year’s playoffs.
2. Brandt Snedeker - The former 2012 FedEx Cup champ currently sits 18th in the standings. Has not played his best golf so far this playoff season, but he is not far removed from his T12 finish at the PGA Championship which allows for the argument that his game is not far off. Returning to a course where he posted a first round 63 and finished T8 in 2013.
3. Rory Sabbatini - T11 at Conway Farms in 2013. Consistently posting top-20 finishes throughout the summer, and the playoffs have been no different (T24 at The Barclays, T22 at The Deutsche Bank). I don’t expect him to win the event, but he could be a very solid fantasy pick, as he needs a big week to get into the Tour Championship, and is playing well enough to do so.
4. Matt Kuchar - Since the beginning of June he has not missed a cut. His stats indicate that when he doesn’t finish around the top-10, he’s usually top-30. Returning to a course where he has some very positive memories, having posted a 61 in 2013’s third round. Encouraging stats for a middle fantasy pick.
Below are the teams that I’m fielding for this week’s tournament using the ever-popular DraftKings platform.
Jim Furyk - $10,000
Zach Johnson - $9,500
Matt Kuchar - $9,200
Jimmy Walker - $7,400
Rory Sabbatini - $7,300
Fabian Gomez - $6,600
Henrik Stenson - $11,400
Zach Johnson - $9,500
Charley Hoffman - $8,100
Rory Sabbatini - $7,300
Daniel Berger - $6,800
Brendon de Jonge -$6,800
As you can see, I’ve taken Johnson and Sabbatini in both lineups. This is something I try to shy away from, but when arranging, and rearranging my draft order, I came to realize that both these players fit in well because they have been playing solid, have had success on this course in the past, and provide decent draft value. With Team A, I have attempted to develop a lineup which gives me consistent strength throughout, but doing so meant that I had to draft Fabian Gomez, a very low-value pick, simply because I was running out of money in which to draft. For Team B, I had to sacrifice strength throughout in order to draft Stenson. I wouldn’t say he is good value, but with back-to-back runner-up finishes, he should be priced high. I stayed away from Day and Spieth, because they simply cost too much and it would really hurt the late picks in my lineup.
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About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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