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Renner's Rundown

BMW Championship Preview

by Macaulay Renner
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

After a short break that included some much needed NFL action (except for those David Johnson owners), we slide back into the third leg of the FedExCup Playoffs for the BMW Championship. 

This week's host course is beautiful Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, as they host for the third time in five years (2013 and 2015).

  

The top 70 players compete to win the event while the top 30 in the FedExCup standings at the end of the week will advance onto the TOUR Championship which takes place next week in Atlanta.


Course

Par 71 - 7,198 yards - Lake Forest, Illinois

2015 Field Average: 69.49

 

Opened in 1991 and designed by Tom Fazio, Conway Farms Golf Club plays host to  the second oldest golf tournament played in the United States. This course was designed around the traditional Scottish links-style course complete with sand traps and unforgiving fescue. 

The course is laid out over 209 acres of prairie amid a sea of fescue grass that is like water in that it can cost you a stroke if you get too errant. When the wind blows this course can be a different creature. 

The fairways and greens are bentgrass. The greens are challenging, especially on the par 3s that have multi-tiered levels that make putting very difficult. The wind isn't forecasted to blow hard, so there is a good chance that we see low numbers as this course has allowed an opening round 61 to Jason Day in 2015 and a 59 to Jim Furyk in 2013.

This week I am leaning heavily on recent form rather than course history as we only have minimum course history with many players having never played the course.

There doesn't seem to be any specific angle here as both driving accuracy and distance have won here while never really revealing a specific set of traits we are looking for in a golfer. 

Form seems to trumps all this week as the last 9-of-10 winners have ranked inside the top 30 in FedExCup points. I don't expect any dark horses or surprises this week. 

Weather

The weather for the Midwest will not be interrupted by anyone named Irma, I can gladly report.

The forecast for Lake Forest calls for the temps to be in the upper 50s in the morning on Thursday and Friday with some clouds in the morning leading to sunny skies and mild 70-degree temps throughout the weekend.

Past Five Winners

2016- Dustin Johnson 

2015 - Jason Day

2014 - Billy Horschel

2013- Zach Johnson

2012 - Rory McIlroy

Recent Form Stats

Since there is only two years of course-specific stats, I went a different route and compiled stats from recent play.

All these stats are a courtesy of fantasynational.com and look at performance for the last 24 rounds a golfer has played on the PGA TOUR. 

Driving Distance

Rory McIlroy

Tony Finau

Justin Thomas

Kevin Tway

Dustin Johnson

Luke List

Grayson Murray

Jason Day

Gary Woodland

Brooks Koepka

Kevin Chappell

Fairways Gained

Henrik Stenson

Kyle Stanley

Francesco Molinari

Chez Reavie

Ryan Moore

Webb Simpson

Matt Kuchar

Keegan Bradley

Paul Casey

Emiliano Grillo

Greens in Regulation over the Field

Henrik Stenson

Patrick Cantlay

Paul Casey

Gary Woodland

Luke List

Jordan Spieth

Hideki Matsuyama

Marc Leishman

Kyle Stanley

Danny Lee

Strokes Gained Total

Jordan Spieth

Paul Casey

Justin Thomas

Rickie Fowler

Patrick Reed

Jason Day

Louis Oosthuizen

Dustin Johnson

Charlie Hoffman

Hideki Matsuyama

Strokes Gained on Par 3s

Justin Thomas 

Dustin Johnson 

Rickie Fowler 

Hudson Swafford 

Marc Leishman 

Paul Casey 

Hideki Matsuyama 

Brooks Koepka

Webb Simpson 

Patrick Reed

Strokes Gained on Par 4s

Jordan Spieth

Paul Casey

Justin Thomas

Rickie Fowler

Charley Hoffman

Ian Poulter

Jason Day

Dustin Johnson

Louis Oosthuizen

Henrik Stenson

Strokes Gained Putting

Rickie Fowler

Patrick Reed

Henrik Stenson

Louis Oosthuizen

Justin Thomas

Bryson DeChambeau

Scott Brown

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Chez Reavie

Webb Simpson

Birdies Gained

Jordan Spieth

Jason Day

Brooks Koepka

Hideki Matsuyama

Rickie Fowler

Henrik Stenson

Charley Hoffman

Paul Casey

Justin Thomas

Grayson Murray

~

Opening Acts

Louis Oosthuizen

I am going the way of form this week as I have said and Oosthuizen comes in with two top-10 finishes in his past three events and think this week he gets in the top 5 or even better.  He has averaged 2.8 strokes gained over his last 5 events. Oosthuizen finished T19 in his lone appearance at Conway Farms (2015). 

Henrik Stenson

I kept rechecking my stats when I was writing this because Stenson seemed to tick every box.  What's best about the fact that he has played here twice, is his current form boasts a a win and five top 20s in his past 5 events.  He may be warming up just as summer ends here in the States but this Swede has a top ten already on this course (2015) along with a T33 in 2013. I think he could improve again as he sees Conway for the third time.

Paul Casey

The Englishman could sneak into Conway Farms and steal a win from the crew.  Casey has only played the course once, in 2015, finishing T23. With his current form of five top-15 finishes in his last five events with three finishes in the top five, it's hard to look away. Casey has eight top-10 finishes this season and is bursting at the seams for a win. Casey has averaged 9.2 strokes gained over his last five events, and should fare well again this week in Illinois.

Brooks Koepka

Koepka may have quieted down a bit over his recent outings but I thing he plays his best golf when the chips are down.  Sporting finishes reading T18-T49-T13-T17-T6 over his last 5 events, Koepka has averaged 5.4 strokes gained over the field in those starts. In his only event at Conway Farms, Koepka finished T49 but with the way he has been playing I think he can best that finish by a mile. Koepka has a win and five top 20 finishes in his past six outings on TOUR.

Lucas Glover

 

Playing through injury at the Dell Technologies Championship, Glover still manged a T30 on the backs of 3.3 strokes gained off-the-tee and 2.1 strokes gained approaching-the-green. His short game is always a wildcard, but he certainly proved the injury wasn't hampering his play at all. With six straight top 50s, I think Glover could be a nice low-owned target in deeper fantasy formats. His ball-striking is as trusty as it gets. I wouldn't put the family farm on Glover, but he is my sleeper pick of the week. 

 

Headliners

Jordan Spieth

Spieth is going to be tough to contend with this weekend taking everything into account. His form and course history are all there, its just a matter of going out and getting it done. Spieth has three top-5 finishes in his past five events that include a win and two runner-up finishes. Spieth is no stranger to pressure. He has finished T13 and T16 in his past two outings at Conway Farms.

Justin Thomas

Has more top-10 finishes than any one else this season (11). Thomas has two wins in his last three events, proving that he does not have a major-championship hangover. The big hitter also boasts a T13 finish in 2015 at Conway Farms and is ranked first on the PGA TOUR in Birdies or Better on Par 4s. Thomas averaged 8.6 strokes gained over his last five events, making him one of the hottest golfers in the game right now. 

My Top 15  

Paul Casey

Henrik Stenson

Justin Thomas

Jordan Spieth

Brooks Koepka

Lucas Glover 

Charley Hoffman 

Jon Rahm 

Jamie Lovemark 

Brendan Steele 

Kyle Stanley 

Jason Day 

Zach Johnson 

Wesley Bryan 

Patrick Cantlay

 

Follow me on Twitter at @msr427 for more fantasy-relevant content. Let me know what you have to say or would like to see as I am still tweaking the format. Keep an eye out for the Expert Picks column which will be published on Tuesday night and be sure to check out @futureoffantasy, @davetindallgolf, @bears23423, and @MattCooperGolf for everything else you need in golf and fantasy.

Macaulay Renner
Macaulay Scott Renner has been playing ice hockey and golf for over 40 years while growing up on the beaches of the NJ shore. An avid Grateful Dead fan, he has been playing fantasy sports since 1999 and currently resides in Philadelphia. Macaulay can found on Twitter @msr427.