2022 BMW Championship Fantasy Golf Power Rankings and Picks
The first PGA Tour tournament ever in Delaware serves as the second leg of this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
Wilmington Country Club, a 7,534-yard, par-71 layout on rolling terrain is the host for a 69-man BMW Championship field fighting to earn a ticket to next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the course in 1959 and Andrew Green renovated it last year, adding bunkers (there are 91 total) and tee boxes to lengthen several holes.
Wilmington CC has massive greens. Measuring 8,100 square feet, they are second only to the Plantation course at Kapalua. The fairways are narrow and most of the par-4s and par-5s are doglegs. Power is always useful but even with 4” bluegrass rough it feels like the bombers can let it rip with only four water hazards, minimal out-of-bounds and such large putting surfaces they can find from any lie.
A tornado swept through the property in 2020, toppling 300 trees in five minutes. Green and his crew added some long, nasty fescue and natural areas to the course during the redesign but course videos and other research reveal it shouldn’t be a significant issue for players of this caliber.
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Here are a few other things to note as you set your lineups and cards this week
- Yes, the course is long but even medium-length drivers could have a short iron or wedge in their hands on half the holes.
- While the bombers have an edge (don’t they always?) the course can also be attacked by precise drivers who are dialed in with their irons. The problem is, some of the fairways are so narrow in spots (20-25 yards) that if everyone is playing from the rough the man with the more lofted club for his approach has an edge.
- There are three par-4s longer than 490 yards – all on the front nine – and the routing of the course has been altered significantly for the tournament.
- The 16th is 393 yards, but the tees could be moved forward in at least one round, making it a driveable par-4.
- There are two 630-yard par-5s in a three-hole stretch midway through the back nine. Still, assuming the course has a little firmness (there’s light rain in the forecast off and on through Thursday) those fairways run downhill and the longer hitters may be able to at least consider taking a whack at the green.
- By this point in the year, any model is going to mirror the FedEx standings and world rankings. When you factor long rough into the mix the advantage grows in favor of the superstars. What separates the touring professional from the scratch or plus handicap amateur? The ability to play out of the rough, for one. And it also stretches the gap on Tour because for the most part the best players hit their tee shots the farthest.
- Avoiding 3-putts and sand saves also got my attention this week and as always, elite iron play. Just hitting the greens in regulation won’t be good enough at Wilmington CC.
BMW Championship Fantasy Golf Power Rankings
25. Davis Riley – Couple of water balls hurt his SG: Approach stats in Memphis but gained 4.1 shots Off the Tee in a T-31. It was the fifth consecutive week he’s bettered the field average in the metric.
24. Mito Pereira – Gained 3.5 shots on approach at TPC-Southwind and the rest of his game was just slightly off. Top-25 in Opportunities Gained on 7,400 yard plus courses with long rough.
23. Shane Lowry – Feels like his best golf is behind him in the 2021-22 season but he’s a better than average driver on similar tests, sixth in in SG: Approach and an elite bunker player (5th in the field).
22. Keegan Bradley – Always open to playing him in the Northeast on a ballstriking course. Top-20 in SG: Tee-to-Green on longer courses with long rough and seventh in 3-putt avoidance.
21. Sahith Theegala – Feels like a steal in the fantasy markets with his proven ability to hop on the leaderboard Thursday and hang around all week. Finished T-25 earlier this season at Torrey Pines on a long, rough-lined course and has more seasoning now. Bunker game is a weakness but is 13th in 3-putt avoidance.
20. Keith Mitchell – Elite driver should have plentiful opportunities to score. Iron play is inconsistent but never awful, posted three top-20s on bentgrass earlier this year. Ranks 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green on longer courses.
19. Max Homa – Can see some similarities between Wilmington CC and TPC Avenel Farm where Homa won earlier this season. Top-25 in SG: Approach, Driving on difficult courses and 3-putt avoidance.
18. Matt Fitzpatrick – Might be too low for a player who has finished in the top-10 in six of his last eight starts. Numbers aren’t great on longer courses and has a tendency to 3-putt on bentgrass greens. But he’s hot.
17. Patrick Cantlay – Terrific putter on fast bentgrass greens and also top-10 in sand saves. Wasn’t sharp tee-to-green last week and ranks just 35th in SG: Approach over the last 50 rounds.
16. Cam Davis – Any way I sliced the field this week, Davis is underrated in the fantasy and betting markets. Proximity numbers are terrific through the bag. Bombs it, doesn’t 3-putt often, elite sand game, terrific wedge player. In excellent form (five straight top-20s gaining 27 shots Tee-to-Green in the last four tournaments).
15. Taylor Pendrith – He’s 69th in the FedEx Cup standings with nothing to lose. Will rip the driver everywhere and last time he played on his native northern grasses finished T-2 in Detroit. Great bentgrass putter, good sand game.
14. Aaron Wise – Holes more mid-range putts on bentgrass than on any other surface. Top-25 in the field in all the significant ballstriking categories for this course. He’s 32nd in the FedEx Cup standings.
13. Will Zalatoris – Great to see him win the first of many PGA Tour titles last week in a dramatic playoff. Joel Stock did a tremendous job shepherding him around in the final hours. If you want to ride him again, don’t let me stop you.
12. Tony Finau – Finished fifth in Memphis. Must have been an off week. A closer look reveals he gained shots through the bag and now he comes to a course where his driver should be a greater weapon. Love the way he’s putting.
11. Joaquin Niemann – Always looking for any excuse to put him on a roster and the 5.8 shots he gained on approach in Memphis is a good start. It was his best effort with the irons since a T-3 at Memorial.
BMW Championship Fantasy Golf Best Bets
10. Sam Burns – The man known for his prowess on Bermuda greens lost 1.7 shots on those surfaces last week, wasting the 4.4 shots he gained on approach. Swing looks fluid and easy at the moment. It was his best ballstriking since mid-June.
9. Xander Schauffele – I’m not too concerned by his T-57 last week. He’s never had much luck at TPC-Southwind. Regardless, he’s seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green over the last 50 rounds on longer courses and 13th in the same category over the last 24 rounds anywhere (not counting the unmeasured Scottish Open). Good time to hop back on.
8. Viktor Hovland – He’s on the prowl again. He’s putted consistently better in 2022 than any previous year. Solid Off the Tee and on Approach last week. It all comes down to the sand game for the Norwegian Forest Cat, interestingly enough.
7. Scottie Scheffler – Lost almost four shots on the greens, spent Saturday practicing at TPC-Southwind then he and caddie Ted Scott headed to Pine Valley for a casual round. I expect him to rebound and put himself in position to win the $18 million FedEx Cup.
6. Corey Conners – He’s third in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green on longer courses and leads the field in Good Drives Gained when finding fairways is difficult. Gained 25 shots Tee-to-Green over the last four measured starts and should feel comfortable on the bentgrass.
5. Jon Rahm – Arrived in Memphis fresh off the birth of his second son, chipped away the rust and finished fifth despite losing 0.1 shots on the greens and waving or pointing his hand at the green or his line after seemingly every missed putt. Surely wants to salvage a lackluster season.
4. Rory McIlroy – Admitted he didn’t practice or exercise or do much else for weeks following his heartbreaking near-miss at St. Andrews. Played like it also. Still, the look and feel of Wilmington CC is similar to the other tree-lined, parkland courses where McIlroy is often in the mix. If he can avoid 3-putts, he’ll be in the hunt late Sunday.
3. Justin Thomas – Gonna be real, real popular. Creates the most opportunities on longer courses when scoring is easy (the over / under for winning score is 21.5 under). Bombs and wedges effectively. Top-10 short game and fifth in 3-putt avoidance. He can turn a good year into a great year in the next two weeks.
2. Collin Morikawa – After struggling to strike the ball to his standards most of the season, he’s in a good place entering this week. Not gonna show particularly well in short-term models but his long-range skillset is ideal for Wilmington CC. Used a conventional grip and putted well in Memphis (+2.6 shots). Approach game will be there and even not having his best stuff, consistently gains off the tee.
1. Cameron Young – LIV rumors distracted him to begin last week and his former college teammate winning the tournament surely motivated him at the end. Bunker game has improved in recent months and the New York native has conquered many courses similar to Wilmington CC. Lost 5.5 shots on the greens last week and still managed a T-31. Watching flyover videos of this course, it just looks like a place where he’ll let driver rip and take his chances if he ends up in the rough. Let’s stay hot.
BMW Championship Fantasy Golf Picks: Bargain Bin
Emiliano Grillo, Chris Kirk, Luke List, Taylor Moore, Alex Smalley, Brendan Steele, Harold Varner III