The only off week on the PGA TOUR schedule serves as a halftime. Two FedExCup Playoffs events are in the books; two remain.
On tap this week is the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. A field of 70 will descend on the northern suburb of Chicago to give Luke Donald's home track a spin. The Tom Fazio-design circa 1991 has served as host for of a number of prestigious amateur competitions, including the 1997 NCAA Championship, the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 2009 Western Amateur and the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur. It was also used as the site of a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in 2008.
Fazio's creation will play to a par of 35-36--71. Not long at a maximum of 7,149 yards, its primary defense is the wind, which is expected to blow a bit. Otherwise, precision off many tees is required to thread through fescue and heather grass. Greens average a relatively small 5,000 square feet and will be prepped to run 12 on the Stimpmeter.
The field of 70 won't encounter the first of the three par 5s until the 600-yard eighth hole. The remaining two par 5s at Nos. 14 and 18 sandwich the potential of a drivable, par-4 15th (334 yards). And don't rule out the par-3 17th at 207 yards as a difference-maker. Donald tweeted that he aced it last week.
With no cut and a new course (to the PGA TOUR) that should set up to encourage positive reviews from the world's elite, Conway Farms figures offer a blend of scoring opportunities with an appropriate amount of challenge. The top 30 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the BMW Championship will advance to next week's finale at East Lake.
In addition to moderate breezes, the air temperature will invoke many a reference to the advent of autumn after a cold front slides through midweek. After a seasonable temp in the mid-70s on Thursday, it may not reach 70 degrees again all week. A threat of rain and thunderstorms enters the picture on Sunday.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners of the BMW Championship, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report later in the week.
|Power Rankings: BMW Championship|