The second to last tournament of the season is upon us and this year the BMW Championship takes place at Caves Valley Golf Club. For the first time since 1964, a PGA Tour event will be hosted in Baltimore. Last year’s winner Jon Rahm looks to defend his crown and bounce back after late disappointment in Monday’s finish at Liberty National. Can the current world number one win this event for the second year running?
BMW Championship General Information:
- Date: 26th August – 29th August 2021
- TV-Time: Golf Channel, NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Caves Valley Golf Club
- Location: Baltimore, Maryland
- Cut: No
- Prize Money: $9,500,000.00
- Winner last year: Jon Rahm
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
Designed in 1991 by legendary course architect Tom Fazio, Caves Valley Golf Club will host its first PGA Tour event this week. Recent updates have added to the difficulty of the course known for fast greens and rolling fairways, meaning that accuracy is going to be important. Those who can plot their way strategically around the Baltimore course, with its increased number of bunkers and tricky additional rough areas, will be the ones to thrive.
The race for the FedEx Cup has well and truly hotted up after Tony Finau swooped to claim the big prize in Jersey City last week. It is he who now leads the way in the standings, though they’re stacked up behind him and with 2000 points on offer to the winner here, there are still plenty in with chances.
Expert Pick #1 – Collin Morikawa Top 5 Finish @+400
Few players look to be more suitable for the test likely to be presented by Caves Valley Golf Club than the imperious Collin Morikawa. Accuracy and strategic play should be necessary this week and the world number three is about as accurate and as strategic as it gets. Only two players in this field rate above Morikawa in terms of driving accuracy, while nobody can beat the American when it comes to strokes gained: approach. Only world number one Jon Rahm gains more strokes tee-to-green than Collin too. The recent Open champion picks up 1.86 strokes from the tee to the green on average, and if he can match that here, then few will finish above him.
Fedex Cup Rank: 6 | Fedex Cup Points: 2,171 | OWGR: 3
Approx. Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Expert Pick #2 – Keegan Bradley Top 10 Finish @+700
There will be lots of more popular top ten picks than Keegan Bradley this week, but the one-time major winner makes plenty of appeal at the current odds. It’s been a good year for Bradley, who has secured himself three top-ten finishes, as well as four other top-20’s. What’s more, he has the game to thrive on a course like this.
The 35-year-old is accurate, not just off the tee, but tee to green too. Only four players rank above him when it comes to strokes gained: tee-to-green in this field, while he’s one of the best when it comes to hitting greens in regulation too. Such stats point towards the man who ought to have gained plenty of confidence from finishing T11 last week being somewhat undervalued in the early market. Therefore, a small play on Bradley hitting the top ten offers a slice of value.
Fedex Cup Rank: 32 | Fedex Cup Points: 1,187 | OWGR: 77
Approx. Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Expert Pick #3 – Emiliano Grillo to Finish Top 20 @+350
It’s not been an amazing campaign for Emiliano Grillo, but the Argentine has steadily played his way to very respectable finishes, reaching the top 20 on six occasions, most recently, when finishing T12 at the Open Championship, so he’s no stranger to performing well in the biggest events.
What’s interesting about the one-time PGA Tour winner is how many greens he hits in regulation. In fact, very few players have been better than the 28-year-old in that respect, who ranks as the third best player in the field for GIR. He’s also 12th in this field for strokes gained: approach. Such accuracy should hold him in good stead this week, so much so that, at the prices, he looks an excellent bet to record another top-20 finish.
Fedex Cup Rank: 55 | Fedex Cup Points: 920 | OWGR: 73
Approx. Start Time: e.g. 2:30 p.m. ET
2021 BMW Championship Odds
*Odds as of Wednesday at 8:57am
2021 BMW Championship Additional Picks
Jon Rahm (+150)
He’s the favourite but for good reason. The current world number one looked for all to see to be the winner last week, and even in defeat he played some outstanding golf. We know that Rahm is a man for the big occasion these days, while he churns out high-placed finishes like they’re going out of fashion, hitting the top five six times this season. Another big week is expected from the man who won this event last year.
Paul Casey (+350)
Casey has once again gone quietly about his business this season, playing lots of solid golf, finishing in the top ten no fewer than eight times, including in high-profile events such as the PGA Championship.
On a course where accuracy should be key, the man who is very accurate from tee to green should thrive. In this field, only six players rank better than Paul Casey when it comes to strokes gained: tee-to-green, while only Morikawa gains more strokes on approach.
Corey Conners (+130)
In terms of consistency, few players have been better than Corey Conners this season. The Canadian has regularly played his way into the upper echelons of the leaderboard, finishing in the top ten on eight occasions. Moreover, he comes here in good form following a T8 finish at THE NORTHERN TRUST last week.
Add in that Conners ranks inside the top 15 (in this field) for strokes gained: tee-to-green, strokes gained: off-the-tee, strokes gained: approach, driving accuracy and GIR, and he looks a solid top-20 bet.
Justin Thomas (+2200)
If you’re looking to take a chance on a first round leader, then why not chance Justin Thomas. The American ticks plenty of boxes this week, boxes that mean he should be suited to this test, while he’s no stranger to coming out the traps fast, especially in this event. Thomas has held the first round lead in one out of seven at the BMW Championship, but he’s been right up there in the top five on three other occasions too, so don’t be surprised if he’s there or thereabouts after 18 holes.
The Big Hero
Martin Laird (+25000)
Martin Laird is a very unlikely winner of this event, and yet there are aspects of his game that suggest he can do well at Caves Valley Golf Club. The Scotsman is one of the better players in this field when it comes to hitting greens in regulation, while he’s accurate off the tee too. Such facts make him appeal as a viable underdog bet at huge odds.
As the race for the FedEx Cup really hots up, the chief protagonists are now chasing Tony Finau. Both Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa have obvious claims this week and either would go top with a win in Baltimore, where those capable of plotting and playing for position should thrive.