Everyone knows Maryland loves golf. It’s just behind Sailing, Yachting, Lacrosse, Bocce Ball, Billiards, Fishing, Croquet, Polo, Horse Racing, and Dog Racing for Maryland’s favorite sport. This week, Maryland gets to host the PGA’s BMW Championship in Owings Mills (Caves Valley Golf Club).
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The Caves Valley Golf Club is a Tom Fazio course with the standard numerous bunkers and raised Greens. It was constructed in 1991 and once named within the Top 50 of the best courses in America back in 1997. Each year, the BMW rotates to another course, and it’s not a regional thing.
This year is the furthest east it’s ever been, as the tournament typically goes to a course in Illinois or Indiana. Pay no attention to previous finishes by players at this tournament, because the player history here on the PGA level is extremely limited.
Last week, we hit on two picks (Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm). Xander came up short for our possible third cash, missing the Top 5 by a few strokes. It wasn’t much of a smash week overall, but at least we didn’t leave any money on the board with Rahm and Cantlay (they finished within their bracket but not higher).
This week, we’re going with guys who are accurate off the tee and on approach. Raised greens can create issues for a lot of guys, so hitting those greens accurately is crucial:
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee
- Recent form
- Strokes Gained: Total
Good luck this week as we take a look at the best lines from the DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
Middle of the fairway – Two players to finish in the Top 20
Webb Simpson +120
Webb Simpson is among the most balanced in the Strokes Gained categories. He’s 22nd in Strokes Gained: Total, but 30th in Putting, 33rd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green, and 11th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-green. Simpson is also playing well lately, finishing inside the Top 20 in three of his last four events.
I don’t love the two-over-par rounds last week at the Northern Trust, but this is a nice bounce-back opportunity for Simpson this week.
Harris English +100
Harris English is nearly identical to Webb Simpson in the Strokes Gained categories, as well as recent strong finishes. Harris has finished inside the top five three times over his last five events. He’s 28th in Strokes Gained: Total. Harris is 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 28th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-green, but just 8th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee.
Like Simpson, if English can put together some solid days off-the-tee, he should be an easy bet to finish inside the Top 20.
Edge of the green – Three players to finish in the Top 10
Keith Mitchell +1200
Kevin Mitchell is our longshot pick this week. He’s among the best in Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee (11th) but is lacking in most other areas. We like Mitchell this week for his outstanding form of late. At the Northern Trust last week, Mitchell finished 8th.
Two events prior to that, Mitchell finished 5th at the 3M Open in Minnesota. Mitchell has had a very streaky season. Through his first seven events, his best finish was 44th. Following an up and down early spring, Mitchell finished 17th at the Valero, 4th at Zurich, and 3rd at Wells Fargo.
He failed to make the cut in his next five events until the 5th place finish at the 3M. Let’s hope we are catching Mitchell on a heater and not one week too late.
Harold Varner +800
Earlier in the season, we moved away from Varner after some shaky play. Recently, Varner has finished inside the Top 15 in three of his last five events. Varner profiles well, given the type of course. Varner is 37th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 44th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-green, and 40th in Strokes Gained: Total.
Overall, Varner doesn’t necessarily jump off the page, but he’s been playing so well lately, a +800 return would be a nice hit for a guy in his current form.
Scottie Scheffler +230
Scheffler is getting better and better over time, which is good because he’s only 25. He’s another rising Texas golfer on the tour and he’s on the cusp of a Ryder Cup invitation. Despite the lack of experience of the vast majority of PGA golfers on this course, it’s important to branch out a little in our approach.
In case this course plays to the more opportunistic golfers on tour, Scheffler will be well-suited. He’s 4th in Birdie average this season, 24th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green, and 14th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee. Scheffler has four Top 10 finishes over the past six events, so he’s checking all the boxes this week (and the strong odds reinforce that).
Short Putt – Two Players to finish in the top 5
Jon Rahm +130
Jon Rahm is officially on fire. Last week, he cashed for us with a Top 5 finish. Rahm now has three consecutive Top 5 finishes since being forced to withdraw at the Memorial. What else is there I need to say about Rahm that I haven’t said when he’s been winning for us each week?
He’s in the top 6 in four Strokes Gained categories (Off-the-tee, Approach, Tee-to-green, and Strokes Gained: Total). He’s 1st in scoring average and 2nd in Birdie average on the season. As much as some people don’t want to admit it, Rahm is the best golfer on tour this season.
Tony Finau +550
This pick is more out of curiosity than anything else. Tony Finau finally got the monkey off his back this last week at the Northern Trust. Finau fired a -6 on his final round and then took down Cameron Smith in the playoff.
It was a remarkable finish for a guy who has struggled down the stretch of events since his first PGA Tour win in 2016. Finau in 19th in Strokes Gained: Total, and coming off a gutsy, come-from-behind victory to break his drought. I think Tony will play pressure-free this week and put on another strong performance.