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BMW Championship Preview

   by Matt Fargo - 09/09/2010

Two down and two to go. Charley Hoffman was the runaway winner at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week as he carded a final round 62 to move into second place in the FedEx Cup standings, trailing only Matt Kuchar. This week the top 70 players in the standings head west to Lemont, Illinois for the BMW Championship taking place at Cog Hill's Dubsdread Course. The top 30 in the standings after this week head to the Tour Championship in two weeks.

While the top 30 advance, there are not 30 spots available this week. 13 players are already assured of a spot in the Tour Championship so there are only 17 spots for the additional 57 players in the field this week. Those that have already punched a ticket to Atlanta: Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Steve Stricker, Jason Day, Luke Donald, Martin Laird, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, Geoff Ogilvy, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer.

Cog Hill is one of the more recognizable course names in the country but it is no longer a recognizable course setup. Rees Jones redesigned the Dubsdread Course two years ago to get it ready for a possible U.S. Open so it is a much different layout now that what was the case during the previous years that the BMW was held here. Last year was the first year of the redesign and it showed as Cog Hill ranked 18th out of 51 courses in difficulty last season.

With the new layout, ball striking and precision off the tee are paramount. If players miss the fairway, finding the rough, even though not grown to U.S. Open length, will make it difficult to hit greens in regulation. While a solid GIR is important every week, it is even more so here as there is no cut this week and only the top 30 advance in two weeks meaning aggressive play will be on display and in order to do that, players must get on the putting surface.

To no surprise, Tiger Woods (+600) is the favorite again this week despite continuing to play very inconsistent golf. He won five events at Cog Hill including the BMW Championship the only two times he has played it in the playoffs, last year and in 2007, torching the Dubsdread Course for a total of 41-under-par in those two outings. Last week at TPC Boston he posted three rounds in the 60’s for the first time this year.

Luke Donald (+2500) put together a solid week with a T2 at the Deutsche Bank and should be playing with a ton of confidence right now. He is also coming off a T15 the previous week at the Barclays so he is heating up at the right time. At Cog Hill last year he finished T10 to make it to the Tour Championship and we cannot forget he went to school at nearby Northwestern so the home field edge helps.

It may sound like a broken record but Matt Kuchar (+2500) should be right there. He finished outside the top ten last week for just the third time in his last nine starts and it wasn’t by much as he ended with a T11. His 72-71 on the weekend did him in but that is no reason to say he is done. We first heard about Kuchar when he won the U.S. Amateur back in 1997. You guessed it. It was played at Cog Hill.

One player who completely fell of the map is Geoff Ogilvy (+3000). He won the season opening SBS Championship in Hawaii but has had only one other top 10 this season. The good news is that it came last week at TPC Boston where he finished T2 to move into ninth place in the FedEx Cup standings. Despite missing four of his previous five cuts, knowing he is already in the Tour Championship takes pressure off.

After winning the Bridgestone Invitational, Hunter Mahan (+4000) has yet to crack the top 30 in his last three events. He ranks eighth in the FedEx Cup standings so he is in better shape than he was last year when he went T20, T36 and T38 at the Barclays, Deutsche Bank and BMW respectively only to finish T24 at the Tour Championship. A strong finish gets him into the top five and a shot at the FedEx Cup Championship.

The longshot this week is John Senden (+8000). How can we go with a player who has only one top ten all season? Well because that top ten came last week as he finished eighth at the Deutsche Bank which came after a T15 at the Barclays so he is trending the right way. He is now 38th in the FedEx Cup standings so he is right there. If not for a final round 77 at Cog Hill last year, he could have won the BMW.

Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at the BMW Championship – All for 1 Unit

Tiger Woods (+600)

Luke Donald (+2500)

Matt Kuchar (+2500)

Geoff Ogilvy (+3000)

Hunter Mahan (+4000)

John Senden (+8000)

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