STAR PREVIEW Thurs: 2020 BMW Championship with BLUE HORSESHOE

We’re starting to get to the business end of this shortened PGA Tour Season with the second of three tournaments which will culminates in the FedEx Cup being awarded next week. But first let’s deal with this week, where we head to Olympia Fields in Chicago for the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields. While this course does not have any recent PGA Tournament history to speak of, it does have a couple pieces of important information that point to how things could possibly go.

First, the course was the host for the 2003 U.S. Open, which was won by Jim Furyk. As we know, Fury is regarded as a short driver who bases his performances on driving accuracy and ball striking with his irons. Using that line of thinking it might be appealing to look for a similar type of player in this field, such as Webb Simpson and we may well be onto something. But one thing to consider is the course has been lengthened to quite a meaty 7,300 yards and has had a number of fairway bunkers placed around the 295 yard mark. The big hitters will be able to blaze over them no problem at all but with the average driving distance on tour being around 296 yards as well this may cause problems for some of the players who can’t bomb it out 320 yards and beyond.

The other interesting piece of information is that the U.S. Amateur was held here in 2015 and was won by a certain, Bryson DeChambeau. That, put with the above fact about the course perhaps playing into the bombers hands, makes a fairly compelling case for De Chambeau. The only note of caution is that his form last week at TPC Boston was less than stellar and he couldn’t even make the cut.

The course itself is a fairly tight tree lined layout, so badly errant drives could get into severe tree trouble. The rough will not be that penal and the bent grass greens, while relatively small, are not particularly undulating or challenging. All in all I expect the scores to be low again this week, maybe not thirty under like TPC Boston last week, but then again only one player managed that and he could just as easily come out again this week on another fairly undemanding track and start sinking birdies for fun.

Blue Horseshoe Loves

As alluded to above, I could just say DJ to win and leave it at that, but the 15/2 odds just don’t appeal to me. Anyone who’s been following my selections knows that I like hunting for value. That way if my selection places, I get a decent return and if he wins then its happy days indeed!

Cameron Smith currently 125/1 with

I’ve always had a bit of time for Smith. He has been in pretty dreadful form since the comeback from lock down, but as mentioned in my preview last week I’d been informed that he was well into sorting out his swing gremlins and I saw evidence of that with a little up-tick in form at the PGA Championship. That up-tick continued last week with a solid display to finish tied for 18th at the Northern Trust. I’m going to ride the up-tick again and hopefully he can win or at least place at a very nice price.

Daniel Berger currently 20/1 with

I tipped Berger to win at the Charles Schwabb after coming back from lockdown, which he duly did at 66/1. I’m happy about that but I’m pretty angry at myself for not sticking with him consistently since, because the guy has become Mr. Consistency over the last three months. All that consistency has resulted in him sitting fourth on the FedEx Cup standings. I’m happy that I picked up that his class would shine through again once he got over his wrist injury, but I’m not happy that I got on and off him over the next few tournaments. I’m not going to make the same mistake again this week after watching him tie for third at TPC Boston last week with another superb performance.

P.S. Star Sports are currently offering odds of 33-1 to win the upcoming U.S. Open. That’s mad money for Berger on a track that should suit him down to the ground.

Xander Schauffele currently 18/1 with

It’s getting towards last chance saloon for me and Xander at this stage. He is trying my patience somewhat with his high leader board finishes, which just contain a few too many tardy holes which in turn are keeping him off the podium. I will give him one more try this week because as they say; form is temporary, class is permanent. And this guy has class in buckets.

Paul Casey currently at 50/1 with

One player that should benefit from the tight, straight layout, benign rough, and uncomplicated bent grass greens is Paul Casey. This course prizes accuracy over everything and Casey’s name sits high on all the PGA stats that count around a track like this; Driving accuracy, Shots gained on approach to the green and greens in regulation. The one area he is suspect in is putting, but the greens at Olympia Fields are predominantly flat and easy to read, so I’m counting on his strong stats off the tee and fairway to get him nice and close to the pin.

Bubba Watson currently at 80/1 with

I saw something in Watson last week in his solid performance at TPC Boston, which saw him finish up in a tie for 18th position. His game had a certain confidence about it, which I haven’t seen of late, particularly on the greens. Watson is often a lag putter who tries to die it into the hole, but last week he was rolling it with much more authority and pace. These fairly simple greens at Olympia Fields, should appeal to Watson and he’ll have absolutely no problem getting himself into birdie situations, provided he stays out of trouble off the tee’s as he did last week.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK CAMERON SMITH 1.5pt each way at 125/1 with
BACK DANIEL BERGER 2pt each way at 20/1 with
BACK XANDER SCHAUFFELE 2pt each way at 18/1 with
BACK PAUL CASEY 1pt each way at 50/1 with
BACK BUBBA WATSON 1 each way at 80/1 with

EW Terms 1/5 6 Places

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 163.49 points
(Excluding Cheltenham 2021 antepost, Six Nations Outright, Six Nations Specials)