BMW Championship 2015: In-form Furyk can make hay at Farms

Gentleman Jim is in good recent form and knows hot to get it done in the FedEx Cup
Gentleman Jim is in good recent form and knows hot to get it done in the FedEx Cup

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and each-way tips for the third FedEx Cup playoff event - the BMW Championship at Conway Farms...

Favourites: Back Jim Furyk @ 21.020/1

"Furyk will arrive at Conway having finshed 4th (Deutsche Bank) and 11th (The Barclays) in the first two FedEx Cup play-off events. Stretching further back he's posted a win and five other top fives in his last 12 starts so that's a 50% strike-rate for each-way backers."

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Favourites: Back Jim Furyk @ 21.020/1

There's 10 players at 25/1 or less this week so it's no easy task trying to pick out just one from the front end of the betting.

But, at 20/1, Jim Furyk's price has a bit of each-way juice in it and a top five would virtually put us level for the week if he gets no help from the other two selections.

However, don't rule out the veteran landing the top prize.

This week, the BMW Championship returns to the Tom Fazio-designed Conway Farms in Illinois for just the second time and on the last occasion it was held there in 2013 Furyk shot a sensational 59 in the second round.

Perhaps, with all the magic used up, he couldn't turn that 12-under-par round into victory but breaking 60 and finishing third still meant it was a very special week for the Ryder Cup star.

In fact, Furyk's mind should be flooded with positive vibes this week. As he was reminded in press conferences two years ago, Illinois is where he won his only major (Olympia Fields in 2003). He also captured the Western Open there in 2005 and if you want his full Illinois finishes from this event in 2013 back to 1997 they read: 3-22-15-2-14-29-4-1-7-3-1-3-8-34-7-6.

Of course, he's also pretty good in these FedEx Cup play-offs having won the massive $10m jackpot in 2010.

Talking about Conway Farms, Furyk said: "I play a Fazio course at home. It reminded me of a very typical Fazio. You know, generous off the fairway I will say (he was 1st in Driving Accuracy there in 2013), I think I had a streak of like 32 fairways in a row. You should be able to hit a lot of fairways out here. It's really a second shot golf course in that the greens are very severe."

The stats back that up as hitting greens in regulation did look key, as Steve Rawlings points out in his preview. Zach Johnson, who won that 2013 edition, was third in GIR, Furyk was 7th, while Luke Donald and Hunter Mahan (both tied for fourth) were 5th in that category.

Driving Distance was the least significant category while most of the leaders had strong GIR, Scrambling and Putting Average figures.

Furyk will arrive at Conway having finshed 4th (Deutsche Bank) and 11th (The Barclays) in the first two FedEx Cup play-off events. Stretching further back he's posted a win and five other top fives in his last 12 starts so that's a 50% strike-rate for each-way backers.

He topped the GIR stats in Boston two weeks ago and was 4th in Scrambling so he looks to have the perfect profile to run a big race.

Mid-range: Back Hunter Mahan @ 51.050/1

Who is the only golfer to have played in every FedEx Cup event? That question was doing the rounds a couple of weeks ago and, to the surprise of many, the answer was Hunter Mahan.

That's partly because it seems his form can often be in and out and that's especially true this year.

However, with his record under threat, Mahan came out and finished fourth in the Deutsche Bank Championship last time to continue his streak.

He left TPC Boston telling reporters: "I'm excited about my game. What I'm doing. I played good at Conway Farms last time I was there. Great golf course. It's a great test. Really looking forward it."

The American also admitted that he'd had to "take a step back" after the US Open to try and figure out where he was going. The results weren't coming and didn't for some time but hopefully his fourth spot at the Deutsche Bank can prove the turning point.

Momentum is huge in the play-offs and Mahan jumped to 52nd with that high finish. He's still got to throw in another big performance to make it to Atlanta, though, so you can guarantee that he'll be going for it at Conway Farms.

Looking at recent stats, Mahan was 19th for GIR at TPC Boston and 2nd for Scrambling so that has to bode well. He also hit over 70% of greens in regulation at the USPGA so his iron play is returning to a level we've come to expect from him.

Mahan, who had a hole-in-one at Conway Farms in 2013, can create more good memories there this week so take him at 50/1.

Other contenders for the mid-price category are Matt Kuchar at 33/1 and Matt Jones at 66/1. Kuchar was T9 at the Deutsche Bank and carded a 61 when T24 at Conway Farms two years ago. Jones was fourth at the Deutsche Bank and closed with a pair of 67s to finish T8 at Conway in 2013.

Long-shot: Back Bill Haas @ 101.0100/1

Many times down the years we've seen golfers excel after they've just been given a captain's pick for a big event. It's part excitement but also there's the extra desire to prove that their call-up was justified.

Perhaps, more than anyone in history, Bill Haas will be trying to prove he's worth his place having just been selected for the forthcoming Presidents Cup team by none other than his Dad!

Haas junior has been aware of this rather awkward situation for some time and Jay revealed that Bill had put himself under a lot of self-induced pressure trying to make the team automatically.

That probably had an adverse effect on his form and both will be relieved the situation has now been resolved.

As Bill finished 11th on the points list (i.e. the first man outside the 10 who automatically qualified), Jay had a get-out clause about any accusations of nepotism but there were certainly lots of knowing nods when he called out his son's name.

The best way of silencing the doubters who thought Brooks Koepka should have been given a pick is to go out and win at Conway Farms this week and, at 100/1, I'm going to back Bill to do so.

It's not that he was playing badly anyway. He managed a T4 (Quicken Loans) and a T6 (Wyndham Championship) in August despite some iffy results in other events either side, and I'm not quite sure why he's out at 100/1.

Two years ago, Haas finished with a 67 to finish T28 at Conway Farms while he was T16 in this event 12 months ago.

Haas is 29th in GIR this season and 31st in Scrambling so has the skill-sets to perform well this week.


Follow Dave on Twitter @DaveTindallGolf

Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £930
Returned: £843.75
P/L: -£86.25

(After the Deutsche Bank Championship)

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