Week 2 of the playoffs and we’re already in no-cut territory. This year the BMW Championship will be played at a venue that has hosted majors in the past, so keep that in the back of your mind when building lineups this week.
The course is LONG, undulating and has tree-lined fairways. This course defines the “country club layout” of yester-year as there are around 4,700 trees lining the fairways. The rough shouldn’t be much of an issue as it wasn’t even when hosting the past two PGA Championships (both won by Tiger Woods) or when hosting the Ryder Cup.
Accuracy off the tee should be very important this week, and in doing so, players should be able to reach the Par 5’s in two shots and there’s even a Par 4 that could produce some fireworks during the week.
Tiger shot finishing scores of -18 & -11 in his two PGA Championship titles, and at that time the course played around 7,400 yards. I’d expect to see a similar range of scores this week even with the addition of the extra ~250 yards.
o The Course
· Medinah Country Club
· Par 72
· 7,650 yards
· Bentgrass greens
o Location: Chicago, IL
o Corollary Courses/Performances: Baltusrol GC (PGA Championship), Congressional (US Open/Quicken Loans), Valhalla (PGA Championship)
o Past Champions:
- 2018: Keegan Bradley -20 in a playoff over Justin Rose [Aronimink]
- 2017: Marc Leishman -23 over Rickie Fowler & Justin Rose [Conway Farms]
- 2016: Dustin Johnson -23 over Paul Casey [Crooked Stick]
- 2015: Jason Day -22 over Daniel Berger [Conway Farms]
- 2014: Billy Horschel -14 over Bubba Watson [Cherry Hills]
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: T2G, Birdie or Better %, Par 5 Scoring, Fairways Gained / Driving Accuracy
o Important – Scrambling, Par 4 Scoring 400-450 yards, APP 175-200+
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
- Rory McIlroy (DK $11,500)
· Form: 6th– DNP – 4th– MC
· Stats:1st– SG: OTT, 11th– SG: APP, 22nd– SG: P, 1st– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Medinah seems like a good course fit for Rory. His ownership was non-existent last week, which was weird, even for him, though I do expect that to jump up this week following yet another Top 10. He crushed the strokes gained metrics off the tee and putting, which is good for him leading into the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, but I don’t prefer to make stars & scrubs lineups when I only build one lineup each week. In my opinion, he’s best suited for MME players this week.
- Jon Rahm (DK $10,900): Rahm has been on an absolute tear the past two months. He’s finished inside the Top 10 in five of his last six events worldwide, including a Euro Tour win. His worst finish was 11th at The Open and he doesn’t look to be cooling down any time soon. At this point, I’m willing to forego playing most of the highest priced players the next two weeks and will be building all lineups featuring Rahm as my number one play.
- Justin Rose (DK $10,200): Last week’s 10th place finish should keep his ownership high yet again, but Rose did a ton of damage on the greens last week, gaining over 7.5 strokes putting. That’s not sustainable. That being said, gaining strokes on the greens is and he typically does a lot more from tee-to-green, which carries his game. I expect the pendulum to swing back to his baseline this week, which doesn’t affect whether or not I think we should be playing him – we should.
- Matt Kuchar (DK $8,200)
· Form: MC – DNP – 43rd– 41st
· Stats: 71st– SG: OTT, 7th– SG: APP, 42nd– SG: P, 17th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Kuch wasn’t on our radar last week because of the sketchy form, and it looked to pay off as he ended up missing the cut. He’s accurate off the tee and someone who we can rely on most weeks, but when you see something in someone’s game that doesn’t look right, you have to jump on those opportunities. That all being said, Kuch is the type of player who refocuses his game when it hits rock bottom and his history the last two years after a missed cut speaks for itself regardless of what course he’s playing (4th at RBC after MC at Memorial, 60th at Northern Trust after MC at PGA in 2018, 14th at WGC Bridgestone after MC at RBC Canada, 9th at The Open after MC at US Open and 32nd at Charles Schwab after MC at Byron Nelson the last two years).
- Marc Leishman (DK $7,500): Solid ball striker who had a bit of a rough go last week missing the cut. In his last two events following a missed cut, he finished with Top 5’s, so he’s a solid play for a bounce back performance and has the resume over his career to support playing him even if you’re worried about how he comes out this week.
- Joaquin Niemann (DK $7,300): 30th – 13th the last two weeks and he’s turned in a bunch of solid finishes the last few months, enough to give him a look as a one-off in GPPs this week. His name alone carries about 5-7% ownership and, while last week’s finish wasn’t ideal, I think it’s a sign of where his maturation is in just his “2nd year” on Tour.
- Corey Conners (DK $6,600)
· Form: 21st– 22nd– 27th– MC
· Stats:7th– SG: OTT, 13th– SG: APP, 189th– SG: P, 11th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: His tee to green game is what everyone will be talking about and while he is a solid value play almost every week, I think we need to look elsewhere in GPPs if you’re only playing a handful of lineups. If you’re a multi entry player, I think you can still play him at expected chalk exposure, but just know that you won’t be alone in playing him.
- Si Woo Kim (DK $6,500): Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Si Woo backed up an outlier high finish with a horrendous performance last week. What does that mean for us this week? Well, for the small group of people who aren’t familiar with his game, they got burned by him last week which should result in even lower ownership this week. Like usual, he’s a better longshot bet than a DFS play, but certain weeks he’s worth the risk in DFS, and this is one of them.
- Max Homa (DK $6,100): Homa’s ball striking has been pretty solid since the win, enough to the point where he’s worth the recommendation this week especially considering those priced around him. He seems extremely motivated to keep plugging along through the playoffs and that seems like reason enough to back him this week.
Honorable Mentions – Troy Merritt DK $6,800, Keegan Bradley DK $6,800, Wyndham Clark $6,400
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
- Justin Thomas (DK $10,000): Last week marked JT’s fourth straight Top 15 and his game looks just as sharp as it did when he was one of the favorites early in the year. His skillset is perfect for another run this week as he’s long off the tee, solid from a ball striking perspective and can roll the rock on any surface.
- Patrick Cantlay (DK $9,800): Two straight 12th place finishes and a penchant for turning up in big events, Cantlay playing well this week should be more of what we expect from the slow playing, fidgety ball striker as he’s got quite the resume built up already. Like JT, he possesses a game that’s fit for success on almost any course.
- Jason Kokrak (DK $7,800): His ball striking continues to be the best part of his game and last week was another indication that he’s clicking on all cylinders. When the majority of our peers want to pile on Corey Conners (see above), we need to find a comparable player in the same range for GPPs, and Kokrak is our guy once again.
- Byeong Hun An (DK $7,400): Phenomenal ball striker with a balky putter, but he’s shown signs of life as recently as two weeks ago at the Wyndham (weak-ish field). All he needs is an average week with the putter and he’ll turn in a Top 15 finish with the potential to turn it into a Top 5 finish.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari (@hitthehighdraw)