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Justin Thomas is Knocking on the Door: PGA Plays and Pivots for the BMW Championship on DraftKings

We’re off and running in the sprint to the FedEx Cup with the second leg of the playoffs.1 The BMW Championship will be held at Medinah Country Club No. 3 this year. It has been the host of its fair share of majors and even a Ryder Cup.

Medinah plays as a Par 72 and the scorecard this week has it at over 7,600 yards. With three of the four par 5s playing over 575 yards and each of the par 3s playing over 190 yards, distance will be important this week. Golfers will contend with average sized bentgrass greens that are set to run around 12 on the stimp. They’ll also have to deal with 71 bunkers and two water hazards. 

Checking the Chalk

Justin Thomas ($10,000) continues knocking on the door lately. His ball-striking has really picked up over his past four starts. Over that span, he has gained nearly 5.5 strokes on approach and 7.7 from tee to green.

His 36th-place finish at the Traveler Championship may have resulted from losing nearly eight strokes on the greens. In his past three starts, he has finished no worse than 12th place. When J.T. inevitably catches a hot putter, it’ll be hard for the field to keep up due to his excellent ball-striking. 

Besides a two-week hiccup, Adam Scott ($9,200) has been excellent since March. He’s made six-of-seven cuts, including four top-10 finishes, since missing the cut at the Honda Classic. He finished in fifth place last week at The Northern Trust while gaining strokes in every category. Since 2014, Scott has made 11 starts on courses longer than 7,500 yards. He has gained nearly an extra full stroke tee to green in those events compared to shorter courses. 

GPP Plays

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Joaquin Niemann ($7,300) would be more expensive and more highly owned if not for one bad round at Royal Portrush. Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Niemann has been on with his ball-striking. Over his past nine events, he has gained an average of 4.22 strokes tee to green compared to 3.1 in his career heading into that stretch, per the RotoViz Splits App.

After three missed cuts in June, Tony Finau ($8,500) bounced back nicely through July and is setting his sights on a strong finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Finau gained strokes in every category except for putting last week.

Over his past three starts, he’s right at his baseline for strokes gained tee to green (3.01) but is over 2.5 strokes below his putting baseline. That leads me to believe that he’s due for some positive regression with the flatstick. If he can get to field average putting and keeps up his ball-striking, he could pay off handsomely this weekend. 

Cash Locks

So far this season, the totals for cash locks include 55 of 60 (91.7%) made cuts, 41 of 60 (68.3%) top-30 finishes, and 17 of 60 (28.3%) top-10 finishes. Here are this week’s cash locks:

  • Justin Thomas ($10,000)
  • Joaquin Niemann ($7,300)

Model Results and Ownership Projections - BMW Championship

NameDK SalaryOwnership ProjectionsPower Ranking
Brooks Koepka1180011.9-1.77
Rory McIlroy1150017.4-2.59
Jon Rahm1090021.0-1.76
Dustin Johnson1070012.0-1.61
Justin Rose1020011.6-1.74
Justin Thomas1000023.5-1.35
Patrick Cantlay980021.0-1.90
Patrick Reed960012.0-1.14
Webb Simpson940014.8-2.05
Adam Scott920021.0-1.32
Tommy Fleetwood90009.0-1.66
Jordan Spieth89007.0-0.58
Rickie Fowler880011.7-1.34
Louis Oosthuizen870014.0-0.66
Xander Schauffele860016.1-1.21
Tony Finau850019.1-0.81
Paul Casey840013.1-1.70
Bryson DeChambeau83009.0-0.80
Billy Horschel83003.4-1.24
Hideki Matsuyama82009.0-1.31
Matt Kuchar82008.0-1.37
Jason Day81006.9-0.79
Brandt Snedeker81008.2-0.89
Ian Poulter800016.3-0.30
Tiger Woods800016.6-1.37
Gary Woodland790013.4-0.48
Collin Morikawa79005.0-2.47
Francesco Molinari780010.0-0.68
Jason Kokrak780018.8-0.91
Abraham Ancer77008.9-0.44
Ryan Moore770012.4-0.45
Kevin Kisner76005.5-0.58
Shane Lowry76003.1-1.20
Rafa Cabrera Bello75004.8-0.28
Marc Leishman750012.9-0.82
Byeong Hun An740015.8-1.03
Rory Sabbatini74006.3-1.42
Andrew Putnam73009.7-0.43
Joaquin Niemann730010.2-1.20
Harold Varner III72006.3-0.06
Sungjae Im720015.6-0.95
Lucas Glover71006.1-0.86
Charles Howell III71002.9-1.05
Chez Reavie70006.8-0.88
Scott Piercy70002.6-1.11
J.T. Poston69000.7-0.75
Adam Hadwin69002.3-0.57
Keegan Bradley68009.20.04
Troy Merritt68001.3-0.62
Emiliano Grillo670010.1-0.59
Jim Furyk67004.4-0.93
Corey Conners66008.8-0.35
Dylan Frittelli66001.9-0.60
Phil Mickelson65003.30.83
Si Woo Kim65003.1-0.24
C.T. Pan64002.00.05
Wyndham Clark64008.6-0.50
Vaughn Taylor64004.8-0.89
Keith Mitchell63005.5-0.15
Graeme McDowell63001.0-0.62
Cameron Champ62005.01.49
Kevin Tway62001.10.50
Ryan Palmer62005.3-0.67
Sung Kang61001.90.18
Max Homa61002.1-0.02
Nate Lashley61000.8-0.87
J.B. Holmes60002.60.48
Adam Long60001.10.26
Joel Dahmen60002.4-0.02
Image Credit: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

  1. It’s worth noting, too, that this is a smaller field with only 70 golfers and there will be no cut this week.  (back)

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