2022 BMW Championship Picks, Predictions & Best Bets
I continuously touted on these pages all season long that it was just a matter of if, not when, before Will Zalatoris eventually would break through and get his elusive first PGA Tour win. And he finally did just that on Sunday — winning the FedEx St. Jude in dramatic fashion as he narrowly edged out Sepp Straka in a three-hole playoff.
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That was our ninth outright winner on these pages this season and we will look to make it number 10 and two in a row as the PGA Tour heads to Wilmingham, Delaware for the penultimate FedEx Cup Playoff event at the BMW Open.
PGA YTD: +84.66 units, 34.03% ROI
This week’s track is at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware.
It is a par-71 that measures in at 7,534 yards.
It is a Robert Trent Jone design that features narrow fairways, thick rough and massive greens with a fast bentgrass surface.
It will be an unseen course to just about everyone in the field which is typical of the BMW Championship, as it has traveled to a new site every year since 2016.
We don’t have any course history with it being a brand new course on the PGA Tour, but we can base our key metrics this week off of course comparisons and two of the most similar courses to Wilmington Country Club are Quail Hollow and Caves Valley.
Wilmington Country Club is a long course measuring in at over 7,500 yards, but the majority of the length comes from two six hundred plus yard par 5’s and all three of the par 3’s are over 200 yards. The par 4’s are not exceptionally lengthy — with six of them being between 400-450 yards.
The PGA likes to make the BMW Championship an exciting and low-scoring event, so we anticipate it being another birdie fest where the winner will have to finish around 20-under par.
Statistics to Look At
The long bombers will be at a big advantage this week as two of the three par 5s will not be reachable in two for the majority of the field.
The greens are massive so greens in regulation will not mean much this week. Instead we will be looking at three-putt avoidance because many approach shots will be on the green but be 100 or more feet from the cup.
Driving distance while staying in the fairway, proximity to the cup on the approach, and efficiently putting on the bentgrass greens will be critical for amassing birdies this week so we are targeting strong ball-strikers who have elite approach play and the ability to get hot with the flatstick.
For those reasons, the key metrics that our model is using to compile our portfolio this week are: driving distance, good drives gained, SG: Ball Striking, SG: Approach, birdie or better percentage, three putt avoidance, SG: Par 4s, SG: putting bentgrass greens and three putt avoidance.
Last week we totally faded Rory McIlory and didn’t play him in any market, and it came as no surprise when he underwhelmed and missed the cut.
That was his first event since his disappointing finish at The Open Championship and he admitted that he was using it as a tune up to get back into form.
A missed cut is very rare for McIlory who has only failed to play over the weekend 10 times over the last four years.
Every time after he has missed a cut during that span he responded in spades the following week, finishing in the top 10 every tournament — including three straight up victories.
McIlory has great course history playing on Robert Trent Jones designs and is one of the best Bentgrass putters in the field, ranking third in strokes gained putting on that surface. He is also No. 1 in driving distance and number four in birdies or better gained.
It’s been a month since his heartbreak at St. Andrew’s and after missing the cut last week we love for him to come out fresh and motivated and make a strong run to add to his FedEx Cup career earnings.
This season has been a big disappointment for the former No. 1 Jon Rahm who only has one victory the entire season and it was at the Mexico Open, which was a glorified Korn Ferry event.
He failed to contend in any of the majors and hasn’t come close to winning any other tournaments. But Rahm is still one of the best players in the world and we love the course fit for him this week.
He ranks highly in just about every key metric we are targeting this week — first in strokes gained ball striking, second in driving distance, third in strokes gained on bentgrass greens and eighth in good drives gained and birdies or better gained.
Rahm has a sour taste in his mouth over this season but he can save the season by winning the FedEx Cup and a win this week would go a long way in helping him achieve that goal.
He finally flashed some great form with a 66 in the final round last week which helped him finish T-5. His wife also just gave birth to his second child and he famously won the U.S. Open last year after his wife gave birth to his first child the week before.
Rahm is our top choice to win this week and him finishing in the top 10 is the best bet of the week.
Xander Schauffele was on quite the tear, placing in the top 20 in 10 straight events before an ugly 57th-place finish last week at the St. Judes.
I’m willing to give him a mulligan for that though as he has been the model of consistency outside of that one road bump.
Schauffele is one of the rare players who are elite with both accuracy and length off the tee. He has no flaws in his game, ranking second in strokes gained on par 4s, third in three putt avoidance, fifth in birdies or better gained and ball striking.
He is the model’s No. 1 ranked player so he is a must-play at +2000 odds not to mention he has a great history of contending in no-cut events in the past.
He had a disappointing T-31 finish last week at the FedEx St. Jude but that was because he was a complete disaster on the greens — losing 5.5 strokes to the field with his putter. If it wasn’t for his horrific putting he would have been right there in contention on Sunday as he gained nine strokes ball striking — only Will Zalatoris had better.
And it’s not like Young is a bad putter, far from it. He has gained strokes putting in each of the previous five events before last week and let’s not forget how well he putted a mere month ago at the British Open at St. Andrews — another course with massive greens.
As long as Young can lag putt like he did at The Open Championship, he can follow in his old Wake Forest roommate’s footsteps and finally notch that long-awaited first victory.
Viktor Hovland was a potential sleeper last week, and while he wasn’t spectacular and never had a chance to truly contend, he still played very solidly en route to a T-20 finish.
We love his chances again this week and his skillset is an even better fit for Wilmington Country Club this week.
Hovland’s biggest weakness in his game is his putrid around the green game but that will be heavily mitigated this week due to the monstrous greens at Wilmington.
The greens are over double the size of what they played last week at TPC Southwind so with his elite approach game he will be able to hit the majority of the greens which will allow him to avoid having to worry about losing strokes around the green.
St. Andrew’s is a great comparison for how the greens will be this week, and Hovland parlayed hitting 90% of the greens in regulations at The Open Championship into an impressive fourth-place finish.
With his form trending in the right direction and the course tailoring to his strengths, we love Hovland’s chances to contend once again this week in Delaware.