The PGA Tour has thrown punters a low curve this week for the third event of the Playoff series, as Conway Farms – a venue that has never been used to host a full tour tournament – has been chosen to stage the BMW Championship.
The Chicago layout has staged a number of prestigious amateur events, most recently the 2009 Western Amateur Championship, in which recent tour winner Patrick Reed was defeated in the semi-finals but, for most, this week’s course will represent a new challenge.
The layout is short at 7,149 yards and the wind is serious factor on a number of exposed holes, although to counter that, there is a stretch more reminiscent of parkland tracks that ask for accuracy off the tee.
Tiger Woods is the favourite, but is surely worth taking on given his lacklustre display in the Deutsch Bank Championship last time out. However, big name players are prevalent on the honours board since this tournament became part of the Playoffs, so of the market principles Matt Kuchar looks the best bet.
Kooch – a 25/1 shot with Ladbrokes – has won twice this year and was fourth in Massachusetts a fortnight ago. He is a proven wind player and has rediscovered his touch on the greens recently, ranking in the top six of the putting averages in both his last two starts.
If there is one player who can call upon local knowledge this week it is 40/1-rated Luke Donald.
The Chicago based Englishman calls Conway Farms his home course and knows where the deep pot bunkers better than anyone. Donald has been frustrating to back this year but has popped up every now and then with a near miss – most notably in the US Open when eighth back in June.
Jordan Spieth has seen his price cut in to 25’s already this week but this season’s John Deere Classic winner, who will be full of confidence after getting the nod as a wildcard by Freddie Couples for this autumn’s Presidents Cup, is still a fair price, and with form figures of 2-19-4 heading into this week is a solid choice.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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