BMW Championship Tips: Cantlay Primed to Strike

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It's the penultimate event of the PGA Tour this week and there is a star-studded field ready to do battle at the BMW Championship!

Patrick Cantlay

The field in the FedEx Cup playoffs has been cut to 70 from 125 for this week’s BMW Championship and all eyes will be on which 30 players will qualify for next week’s climax in the Tour Championship, where a $15million first prize will be up for grabs at East Lake.

Tony Finau sits at the top of the rankings after he won his first tournament since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open by beating Australian Cameron Smith in a playoff at The Northern Trust and the American is 28/1 to make a swift return to the winners’ circle.

Spain’s Jon Rahm, who finished two shots behind in third, is 11/2 this week after his 14th top-10 finish of the year and defends the crown he won at Olympia Fields, Illinois last year, but he looks a short price for a player whose US Open win has been his only victory since then.

There are reservations too about former world number one Dustin Johnson (22/1) who missed the cut at the Liberty National and Open champion Collin Morikawa (18/1), who also had the weekend off and has been struggling with a neck injury.

Cantlay Should Not be Ignored

This will be the first time many of the field will have seen Caves Valley Golf Club which makes its main tour debut, but strong tee-to-green players should flourish on the Baltimore track and it is worth chancing that Patrick Cantlay (25/1) will be one of them.

The Californian has triumphed at both the Zozo Championship and the Memorial this season and has shown great consistency of late – he has carded just one round of more than 71 in his last 20 efforts in America.

The bentgrass greens at the Maryland venue are similar to the ones on which he triumphed at Muirfield Village and there is still plenty of motivation for him to do well this week.

He is fourth in the FedEx standings which means victory here would put him in a great position to win the big prize and it would also promote his case for Steve Stricker to include him in the US team for next month’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Cantlay’s 11th place last week shows he is in good form and that makes him a strong proposition for glory on Sunday.

Conners Can be a Threat

Another player to look out for is Canadian challenger Corey Conners, who is 45/1 to win this week.

He finished eighth at Liberty National last week and he has the potential to build on that strong performance as he is ranked seventh in strokes gained: off-the-tee on the PGA Tour and was fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green at The Northern Trust.

His 15th place at The Open and 13th at the Olympics in Tokyo demonstrate that he is completely at home against elite company and the fact his effort last week included a third-round 62 should give him great confidence.

Better Fortunes Likely for Hovland

Viktor Hovland’s challenge crashed at The Northern Trust on Monday but the Norwegian, who is available at 30/1 at Caves Valley, should be able to bounce back.

He carded a fourth-round 77 in New Jersey after a couple of disastrous holes on the front nine and then, in his frustration, he broke his putter which meant that he had to use his wedge on the greens on the back half.

Opening rounds of 68, 67 and 65 at the Liberty National should not be forgotten, though, and this quality ball-striker, who is available at 30/1, can put that manic Monday behind him.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post

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