Golf Preview: BMW Championship & KLM Open

The BMW Championship is the penultimate leg of the FedEX Cup and takes centre stage on the golfing calendar this week, with the KLM Open on offer in Europe.

The BMW is the final qualifier ahead of next week’s Tour Championship finale, and sees the top-70 golfers on the FedEx Cup Power Rankings feature.

So as well as playing for the tournament itself, most of the field are looking to book their place into making the finale next week with the top-30 going on to play at East Lake in Georgia next week.

The BMW Championship has become one of the top events on the PGA calendar in recent years and last year was won by Dustin Johnson, who set a course record on his way to victory at Crooked Stick and with his excellent form in recent weeks, he is again amongst the favourites.

Indeed, the grouping for the opening rounds is the three favourites with Johnson playing alongside Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – with all three showing great form over the opening two rounds of the FedEx Cup – indeed between the three of them, they have filled the top two spots in each of the last two tournaments.

Back at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest this year for a third time, the last winner here back in 2015 was Jason Day – who is back in Illinois looking for victory.

All 12 members of the U.S. Presidents Cup team are entered, but only 10 from the International squad. Adam Scott and Branden Grace were eliminated in Boston.

Away from America, the European Tour is in Holland for the KLM Open at the Dutch course in Gorinchem.

First played for in 1912, and won by some of the biggest names in golf history such as Bobby Locke, Roberto De Vicenzo, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer, the Dutch Open is a huge popular event.

The KLM Open features a “Beat the Pro” hole on the par-3 14th hole, each group will be joined by an amateur for the tee shot who will attempt to get inside the professionals to win a prize.

Home favourite Joost Luiten is the favourite as he looks for back-to-back wins in-front of an expectant home crowd.

Luiten won the Dutch title for a second time last year, and now he is hoping for a third success.

“I am really looking forward to this, I feel good and hopefully something can happen with the help of the fans,” he said.

Luiten is regarded as favourite but some of Europe’s big names will be present with Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Ross Fisher and Andy Sullivan in the field.

15 winners from the 2017 season including three of the last five champions – Adrian Otaegui, Jason Norris and Julian Suri are also in the field.

The pro’s point of view…

Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.

I like the look of Ross Fisher in Holland and I think his odds are very generous indeed. In America, I think Paul Casey is doing very well – it is hard to look past the big three in Johnson, Thomas and Spieth, but Casey has a real shot.

The Bookie says…

We caught up with BetVictor’s Jack Milner – an expert in the golfing markets

All of golf’s heavy-hitters are out for the BMW Championship with Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, winners of the first two tournaments in the play-offs, and 11/1 and 7s respectively to follow-up and win a second play-off event before next week’s finale.

BetVictor make Jordan Spieth the 13/2 favourite and it’s easy to see why, with the ‘Championship Golfer’ brilliant in defeats behind his two Presidents Cup colleagues at the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies respectively.

The course has played to the strengths of those who hit it a bomb in 2015 and those who are more accurate off the tee in 2013 so it will be fascinating to see how the course plays during this year’s renewal. Hideki Matsuyama hits it both long and straight and looks a fair price at 14/1 to win a first play-off event. Despite missing the cut last week he still has three T5 finishes from his last six events, including winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, and remains so very dangerous if he gets hot with the flat-stick.

Another man who is dangerous once he gets going with his putter is Justin Rose who looked back to his best last week at TPC Boston. Rose finished with rounds of 69 and 69 to finish T10 and looks a fair price at 28/1 and each-way five places.

I remain adamant there’s a big tournament in both the pair of Daniel Berger and Jason Dufner and will continue to back them until they come good! Berger in particular played brilliantly when second behind Jason Day in 2015 and looks a fair price at 60/1 to each-way punters, and Dufner likewise 125/1.

BMW Championship picks:
Hideki Matsuyama           14/1
Justin Rose                        28/1
Daniel Berger                    60/1
Jason Dufner                     125/1

The European Tour moves onto Holland for a terrific renewal of the KLM Open where reigning Champions, and proud Dutchman, Joost Luiten is the 16/1 favourite to win his home tournament for a third time. Luiten played well in snatches last week in Switzerland but looks short enough as the 16/1 market leader with BetVictor and others are preferred elsewhere.

Nevertheless, he is clearly too short as the 16/1 market leader and, given the recent poor performances from the likes Bernd Wiesberger, Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood they can all be swerved at the head of the market at 25/1 and shorter.

Recent Made in Denmark winner Julian Suri showed it was no fluke by finishing T20 last week in The Alps and looks a fair price at 28/1 for each-way players. I worry about his temperament however, and would much prefer the chances of Englishman Eddie Pepperell.

He did column readers with a T5 finish a fortnight back and, after missing last week’s Omega Masters due to his dislike of the course, will be fresh and raring to go in Holland. BetVictor are top price at 50/1 and he is a confident selection to reward each-way support.

At bigger prices, I remain convinced there’s another tournament in Padraig Harrington somewhere and would be loathed to miss the 66s if the Dubliner were to come good. Paddy played well at his home tournament when finishing T42, and followed-up with an excellent T4 at the Scottish Open in Aberdeen. He disappointed in the final two majors of the season but back in calmer waters should give a solid account.

A lot of the juice has gone from Fabrizio Zannoti’s price but he still probably worth a few quid at 33s. Last week’s T3 was better than the bare result, when forced to play in the worsening conditions Saturday evening, and he must go close to completing a second win of the season at some stage this autumn.

KLM Open picks:
Fabrizio Zanotti                33/1
Eddie Pepperell                 50/1
Padraig Harrington          66/1

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