This week the TOUR heads to Maryland at Cave’s Valley Golf Club for the BMW Championship. It is a 69-man field with no cut, and penultimate event of the season. This is the first tour event held here, and outside of a handful of players who played here as amateurs, this will be a foreign test for everyone. The course is a Tom Fazio design, so players will have plenty of familiarity with some of the nuances of a typical Fazio layout, as seven of his courses are regular stops throughout the year.
Cave’s Valley is Par 72 stretched out 7400 yards. When it was played as a senior tour event in 2017, the winning score was -18. I will be targeting good ball strikers who can put themselves in position to score, as well as those who feast on Par 5s, as there are four each round this week.
Xander Schauffele (-135/+180/+380)
I will keep this short and sweet. He continues to grind out finishes in elite events and gets four Par 5s to score on each round this week (leads TOUR in Par 5 scoring). The X-Man is 16th in SG: Tee-To-Green, 32nd in GIR%, 17th in SG: Putting, and 17th in Ball Striking. Outside of a hangover spot at the WGC where he finished T46th after the Olympics, his run of form is T16-Win-T26-T10-T7-T11. He plays better when the stakes are high, and needs a good performance this week to move into the Top 10 of the standings going into East Lake. I believe Xander is under priced, and until he wins an actual major, that win continue to be the case. It is an added bonus that he gets his preferred bentgrass greens as well.
Patrick Cantlay (-110/+215/+425/+2300)
This course sets up as good as any for the tee-to-green specialist. Cantlay ranks third on TOUR in SG: Tee-To-Green, 31st on approach, 21st in GIR %, and if he finds himself in trouble, is the leader on TOUR in scrambling.
In his 22 starts this year, he has finished in the Top 25 15 times, and boasts of a run of form of T11-T23-T13-T15-Win-T23 in his last six starts stateside. It is an added bonus that his last win was at The Memorial in June, a Tom Fazio design. At roughly even money to Top 20 this week, I think Patrick Cantlay makes a ton of sense. If his putter contributes to the cause, he will be in the thick of contention on Sunday.
Corey Conners (+120/+300/+600/+4000)
There is a disclaimer with Corey Conners—buckle up for some frustration inside 40 yards. With that being said, the Canuck is a ball striking machine, ranking fourth on TOUR. He is a beast off the tee (10th in total driving) and dialed on approach (8th), so if he can even be average on his short game, look out for Corey Conners this week.
I am also encouraged by his run of form this year. In 20 starts, Conners has 11 Top 25 finishes. Elite fields haven’t phased him either, as he’s finished 7th at The Players, T8 at Augusta, T17th at the PGA, T15th at The Open, 13th at the Olympics, and is coming off a T8 last week in the first round of the playoffs. His tee-to-green game should be enough to carry him to the front page of the leaderboard, and his ceiling is only capped by an inconsistent putter. I will be sprinkling at 40-1 hoping this is the week that the starts align.
Scottie Scheffler (-100/+240/+460/+3000)
The Texas Flood was on the bad end of putting variance last week, but still had his usual elite tee-to-green game, gaining 5.5 strokes on the field tee-to-green, but giving back almost 4 strokes putting. I expect this to regress back to his average, which would would have put him squarely inside the Top 20 last week.
All of the logic I used last week I will use again. He plays great in elite fields and it is only a matter of time before he breaks his maiden on TOUR. This is almost a blind play for me knowing that his Tee-to-Green game will put him in position to score. 14th in strokes gained off the tee, 24th in strokes gained tee-to-green, and 17th in Par 5 scoring.
Daniel Berger (-120/+210/+400/+3000)
The Rabbi is the 43rd ranked putter on TOUR yet gave up almost six strokes putting last week. He is a major regression candidate, and was sixth in field last week on approach and 12th tee-to-green. If he had putted even average, not his regular above-average baseline, Berger would have been inside the Top 10 last week.
Everything I said last week still applies, and I will be playing Berger once again. He is underpriced this week, and should feast at a ball strikers paradise. The Rabbi has not gone consecutive starts outside the Top 20 since February, and I expect that to continue this week.
Bryson DeChambeau (+500 to Top 5)
This is a pure upside play on Bryson falling in love with Cave’s Valley. The course appears to be a bomber’s paradise, and I could see Bryson going low on the Par 5s. Worth a dart on his potential.
Morikawa has been shaky since returning from across the pond (T26 at WGC and MC), and looked noticeably injured last week en route to a missed cut. In the elite tier of golf, a situation like this can be massively exploited. I will take Xander and Rahm over Morikawa this week, both of which are better suited here regardless. Assuming the lines are fair, which I think they are, the worst case scenario is that this is a freeroll on his health.
Xander Schauffele (Total Risk 2U)
1.35U to win 1U to Top 20
0.65U to win 0.5U over Morikawa
Patrick Cantlay (Total Risk 2U)
1.65U to win 1.5U to Top 20
0.45U to win 1U to Top 10
Corey Conners (Total Risk 1.33U)
1U to win 1.2U to Top 20
0.33U to win 1U to Top 10
Scottie Scheffler (Total Risk 1.5U)
1.25U to win 1.25U to Top 20
0.25U to win 0.6U to Top 10
Daniel Berger (Total Risk 1.5U)
1.5U to win 1.25U to Top 20
Jon Rahm (Total Risk 1.125U)
1.125U to win 0.5U over Morikawa
Bryson DeChambeau (Total Risk 0.25U)
0.25U to win 1.25U to Top 5
To Win Outright:
0.1U on all to Win (Except Rahm)