Golfers to watch at the BMW Championship

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This week’s BMW Championship field is whittled down to the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup Playoff standings. World No. 1 Jon Rahm (13/2) was the leader or co-leader after the first three rounds last weekend at The Northern Trust, at which he led the field for both Stokes Gained: Approach and SG: Tee-To-Green, but carded bogeys on two of his last four holes Monday and dropped to third.

Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele (18/1) is back in his wheelhouse in a shorter field with a no-cut event. Justin Thomas (18/1) was the first-round co-leader and his T-4 finish was his first top-five anywhere since winning The Players in March. Collin Morikawa (20/1) did not practice at all last week leading into The Northern Trust due to a pinched nerve in his back, and it showed as he missed the cut.

Here are some players who are worth a wager at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., a Tom Fazio design and first-time venue on the PGA Tour.

Justin Thomas (18/1)

Shared the first-round lead last week with Rahm but settled for a T-4 finish. He found something with his putter, however, and was 11th-best in the field for SG: Putting. His approach game was also solid at The Northern Trust, and he also has the best Total Strokes Gained mark on Fazio designs over the past 36 rounds, and he has won on a Fazio design at Quail Hollow in 2017.

Bryson DeChambeau (25/1)

He has been struggling of late with his wedge game, but DeChambeau showed signs of life last week in Jersey City. He was fourth for SG: Off the Tee and 20th for SG: Approach. DeChambeau has always been good with the longer irons — ninth for Greens in Regulation of 200-plus yards and second for Proximity from 200-plus yards on the season. His putter did not fire last week, but all other facets of his game looked good last week, and he still the biggest hitter in the game (first in Driving Distance; first in SG: Off The Tee) and that will play well on this week’s big-boy golf course.

Patrick Cantlay at The Northern Trust in Jersey City.
EPA

Patrick Cantlay (25/1)

Though he is likely to make the team, Cantlay surely has some motivation to lock up a Ryder Cup spot this week. He also ranks first in Scrambling and second in GIR Gained to go along with top-five marks in SG: Tee To Green, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Off The Tee over the past 24 rounds.

Hideki Matsuyama (40/1)

Finished runner-up three weeks ago in Memphis, just one week after the disappointment of not earning a medal in Tokyo. He also has good enough form on Fazio designs, most notably fourth at the Olympics just four starts ago and a seventh in the 2015 BMW Championship at Conway Farms.

Paul Casey (40/1)

Has been the model of consistency with nine top-10s in 18 starts, including a win in Dubai for us earlier this year. He was brutal on the greens last week at Liberty National, but tends to rebound in tournaments following dreadful putting and scrambling. His ball striking was near the top of the field, though, in New Jersey.

Keegan Bradley (80/1)

Has a lot to play for this week. A top-seven finish would get him into The Tour Championship and earn himself invitations to the 2022 Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. He also ranks fourth for Total Driving and first for Greens in Regulation from 200-plus yards.

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