2021 BMW Championship odds, preview, and course notes
A wild, Monday playoff crowned Tony Finau the 2021 Northern Trust champion and pushed him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, ahead of this week’s BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Finau sank an eagle and three birdies on the back nine in the final round and finished 20-under, in a tie with Cameron Smith, at the end of regulation.
Just one extra hole was required to determine the winner, as Finau made par on the par-4 18th to secure his first PGA Tour win in 1,975 days.
Last year’s BMW Championship winner, Jon Rahm, bogeyed two of the last four holes in the final round to fall to third place.
This weekend, Rahm enters as a +550 favorite to triumph at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland.
BMW Championship 2021
Sun, August 29 2021, 8:00 PM
Other top contenders among the 70-player, no-cut field are Xander Schauffele (+1400), 2017 FedEx Cup champ Justin Thomas (+1800), 2021 Open Championship victor Collin Morikawa (+2000), Jordan Spieth (+2000), and Patrick Cantlay (+2200).
Caves Valley Golf Club course notes and relevant statistics
Built in 1991, Caves Valley is a par-72, 7,542-yard Tom Fazio design that features bentgrass greens, rolling fairways, and elevation changes.
Previous events hosted at the course include the 2005 NCAA men’s championship — which Dustin Johnson (+2200), Webb Simpson (+2800), Kevin Kisner (+12500), and Chris Kirk (+15000) appeared in — as well as the 2007 Palmer Cup.
Johnson, Kirk, and Simpson, along with Brian Harman (+10000) and Billy Horschel (+6600), competed in the latter, which is an annual team golf competition for college players.
While prior experience at Caves Valley may provide those golfers a slight advantage, the course has undergone quite a few changes to become PGA Tour-ready.
Bunkers were rebuilt, and a few were added, plus new tee boxes were created. The bluegrass/fescue rough will also be cut to about three inches, and water is in play on five holes.
The 10 par 4s measure between 356 yards and 495, and three should be drivable. Four par 3s range from 192 to 224 yards, while the par 5s stretch 568 to 596 and will offer scoring opportunities.
With a first-time PGA Tour course, one of the first statistics to look to is strokes gained approaching the green. Strokes gained tee to green, par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards, birdie or better percentage, and strokes gained putting on bentgrass will also help narrow down a potential winner.
Best bets for 2021 BMW Championship
With back-to-back third-place finishes, at the Northern Trust and Open Championship, plus a win at the U.S. Open, Rahm is on a red-hot streak.
His odds supply little value, but if you’re looking for a sure bet on a top five finish, Rahm is as close as you’re going to get.
Another player capable of topping the leaderboard is Patrick Cantlay, who finished 11th at last week’s Northern Trust.
The 29-year-old has found his form, after a string of missed cuts in early spring, and has posted four top 15 finishes since June, including a win at the Memorial Tournament.
Featured groups for this week's @BMWChamps:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 24, 2021
🏌️♂️ Jordan Spieth
🏌️♂️ Harris English
🏌️♂️ Bryson DeChambeau
⛳ Patrick Cantlay
⛳ Justin Thomas
⛳ Collin Morikawa
🏌️♂️ Abraham Ancer
🏌️♂️ Louis Oosthuizen
🏌️♂️ Sam Burns
⛳ Tony Finau
⛳ Jon Rahm
⛳ Cameron Smith
(presented by @ROLEX) pic.twitter.com/xFID0K0VFr
The Memorial is one of two PGA Tour events Cantlay won (the other the Zozo Championship) this season, and both featured bentgrass greens.
Cantlay ranks 12th on tour in par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards, 13th in strokes gained off the tee, and 31st in strokes gained approaching the green and birdie or better percentage.
For a longshot play, look to Charley Hoffman (+8000) for a top 10 finish. The 44-year-old ranks just inside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings and landed 21st at the Northern Trust.
One of his best finishes this season was a third at the Charles Schwab Challenge, a bentgrass course. He also ranks 10th in strokes gained approaching the green, 15th in par 4 scoring from 450-500 yards, 20th in birdies or better gained, and is in the top 50 in strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained putting, and ball striking.
How to watch the 2021 BMW Championship
The winner of the 2021 BMW Championship will receive $1.71 million of a $9.5 million purse, plus 2,000 FedEx Cup points. The top 30 in the FedEx Cup rankings at the conclusion of the tournament will advance to the Tour Championship, the final leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The FedEx Cup points leader will begin the Tour Championship at 10-under par.
You can catch all the action of the BMW Championship Thursday and Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET, Saturday, noon-3 p.m. ET, and Sunday, noon-2 p.m., on the Golf Channel. CBS will provide live coverage from 3-6 p.m. ET Saturday and 2-6 p.m. ET Sunday.