Welcome to a new feature here at SwingU, Three Shots at the Green, where each week I’ll use my experience as a PGA Tour caddie and golf writer to identify the three best bets on the board.
Let’s keep rolling into week two of the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Del.
We’re down to 69 elite players and the host course is Wilmington Country Club, a 7,533-yard, par-71 Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. The layout is what you’d expect as we venture into the country’s Mid-Atlantic region.
Dogleg par-4s and par-5s, bentgrass fairways lined with thick bluegrass rough (4”) and, in Trent Jones style, massive bentgrass greens, averaging 8,100 square feet. Arnold Palmer, who played an exhibition here in the 60s, said he could land his plane on one of the larger ones.
While this tournament has rotated sites in recent years, scoring has been low and the game’s stars, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm have claimed the trophy. Patrick Cantlay defeated Bryson DeChambeau in a thrilling playoff last year in Maryland after both golfers torched Caves Valley in 27-under.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 16, 2022
In building my card, I looked for players in good form with a strong Tee-to-Green game on longer courses that had thick rough while also emphasizing driving distance, bunker play and 3-putt avoidance on bentgrass surfaces. Hitting precise iron shots will be helpful this week. Besides being huge, the greens also have large tiers and steep slopes, so placing the approach shot properly is critical to set up birdie opportunities.
Now for this week’s shots at the green …
Cam Davis Top 20 +175 (bet $1 to win $1.75 or $2.75 total)
The powerful Australian arrives in Delaware in the most consistently excellent form of his career. Not only has he recorded five consecutive top-20s, he’s gained more than 27 shots Tee-to-Green in the last four measured events.
Davis has outstanding proximity stats over the last 100 rounds from 75-150 yards, 150-175 and 200 or longer.
Cameron Young Top 10 +225
I felt good about Zalatoris’ chances of winning the FedEx last week because of course fit and have the same feelings about Young, who has routinely risen to the challenge in loaded fields (Genesis, RBC Heritage, PGA Championship, The Open).
Young struck the ball beautifully again last week in Memphis but floundered on the Bermuda greens, losing 5.5 shots to the field, and settled for a tie for 31st. Back on his native turf this week, the New York native’s combination of power and touch should be lethal around Wilmington CC.
Nobody has played this course in competition under its current routing, putting a rookie like Young on even footing with the Tour’s veteran stars.
Justin Thomas Top 10 +145
This feels like the safest bet on the board. Thomas can spray his tee shots from time-to-time but penalty shots should be rare at Wilmington CC. He’s had a terrific season, winning a major and finishing in the top-10 on eight other occasions but has his sights on taking the FedEx Cup for the second time in his brilliant career.
He played his way into form last week after a three-week layoff, closing with 66 and gaining 8.3 shots Tee-to-Green. His upright swing easily excavates the ball from the long rough and he’s among the best on Tour at avoiding 3-putts and saving shots from the sand.
Good luck, as always.
Last week (FedEx St Jude): Almost a clean sweep. Will Zalatoris easily finished inside the top-10 at +240, Sam Burns slipped into the top-20 at +175 and Mito Pereira missed the top-40 by one shot for our only loss (+125). Wagering one unit on each bet produced a 3.15 unit profit.