By News Team
Last Updated: 26th August 2021
There’s no rest for the wicked on the PGA Tour as just three days after Tony Finau’s playoff win at the Northern Trust, the second of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is already here in the shape of the BMW Championship.
With just 30 advancing to East Lake next week, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the majority and there will be plenty of ebbs and flows before the culmination on Sunday.
Check out our preview ahead of the opening day’s play in Maryland.
In-form Cantlay hard to ignore
This will be the sixth different venue for this event in the last six years and unlike some of the previous hosts, there is little to go regarding Caves Valley. One thing we do know, however, is that it’s a pretty sizeable course measuring over 7,500 yards and thus there’s a decent chance the bigger hitters will do well. There are four par 5s all under 600 yards, three par 4s sub 400 yards and six par 5s measuring over 450 yards, so it’s pretty clear length of the tee is going to be an asset, while given those seven scoreable par 4s and 5s, putting is also going to be key.
So, we’re looking for a big hitter and a good putter and step forward Patrick Cantlay. Bar a missed cut at the Open, Cantlay hasn’t been out of the top 25 in his last six tournaments played, which, of course, included a win at the Memorial. His last seven rounds read 67-69-67-68-67-69-68, so he’s playing very consistently, and such consistency surely means another win can’t be far away.
He’s inside the top 25 for Driving Distance on the PGA Tour and although he’s ranked 61st in Strokes Gained: Putting, he’s gained shots on the field in five of his last six starts. He putts well on Bentgrass greens – the surfaces on offer at Caves Valley – and a good week here could easily see him in the driving seat in terms of the FedEx Cup. He looks poised for another strong week at 25/1.
Bryson could bounce back at course which should suit
Just two top 10s in his last 10 appearances isn’t exactly the sort of form that Bryson DeChambeau would have hoped for, but one of those came at Quail Hollow – a course designed by Tom Fazio, the same designer of Caves Valley – and a return to one of his courses could spark Bryson back into life.
Given the way this week’s test is laid out, DeChambeau should be hopeful of contending as not only are the par 5s within reach, but the long par 4s should pose much less threat to him than others. Granted he has struggled with the putter, but seven of his eight wins on the PGA Tour have come on Bentgrass or Bentgrass Poa Annua greens and he had his best performance of the season on the greens at Quail Hollow.
He was 20th in Strokes Gained: Approach at Liberty National last week and fourth in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, so if that pesky putter can warm up he has the tools to contend at 20/1.