Emergency 9: BMW Championship, Round 1
September 06, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Tony Finau talks fatigue and excitement before BMW
Here are nine tidbits from the first round of the BMW Championship gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. Aronimink Golf Club just outside Philadelphia plays 7,267 yards to Par-70.
Know Thy Enemy
These were the top-10 selected, plus TWO, golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game presented by SERVPRO. I included all players who were owned by 20 percent or more.
Big temperatures, big landing areas, big greens and big amounts of birdies welcomed the remaining 69 players in the FedExCup Playoffs at Aronimink Golf Club. The wind was non-existent so fairways and greens were to be had. Perfect greens were running at around 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter that rounded out perfect scoring conditions.
#59Watch was in full effect as Tiger Woods went out in 29 to kick-start the buzz for the week. His four birdies and an eagle set the tone but he couldn't keep up the pace on his final nine (front nine). His 33 included his only bogey of the day plus three more birdies. It was by far his best opening round in sometime and it tied the course record. Gamers will point out it wasn't based smoke or mirrors. He checked in second in Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green, third in proximity and sixth in Strokes-Gained: Putting with old favorite Scotty Cameron bag in the bag. Not bad for a guy who didn't break par here in four rounds in 2010!
62 No. 2
After hearing the roars all afternoon in front of him, Rory McIlroy didn't exactly back down from the challenge in the opening round. After making eight birdies in a row in his pro-am round on Wednesday, he added 10 more in Round 1 to share the course record with Woods and Nick Watney (2011). After five consecutive birdies to open his final nine (front nine), the 2014 BMW champ was nine-under with four holes to play. Our second #59Watch ended with bogeys Nos. 16* and 17* before a final birdie added up to 62.
I was surprised that Bryson DeChambeau didn't grace more than 70 percent of the rosters this week but the contrarian in me made me see the light. Winning two FedExCup Playoff events in one year is pretty astounding; winning two events in a row is even crazier. He hit it great and is T20 after three birdies against only one bogey with a chilly putter.
It was pointed out by colleague Sean Martin that Tony Finau has been in pretty elite company despite not winning this season.
Only six players have finished in the top-10 in more than 33% of their starts this season:— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) September 5, 2018
1. Dustin Johnson, 61%
2. Justin Rose, 56%
3. Justin Thomas, 43%
4. Brooks Koepka, 40%
5. Tony Finau, 38%
6. Bryson DeChambeau, 38%
The big hitter opened with 68, another round in the red, and sits T30. He's posted four rounds above par since Shinnecock Hills. That's insane. He's collected cash for solo second and T4 to open the FedExCup Playoffs and should be awarded the final spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Returning to Action
Rickie Fowler suggested that in a long season his injury was probably fortunate as he was forced to recharge his battery. He took his time coming back and the patience was rewarded with a bogey-free 65. The iron play was rusty but his trusty short game (5 for 5 scrambling) and smooth putting stroke kept him in the top 10.
No player in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs has defended an event title. Marc Leishman is the defending champion of the event but Aronimink is hosting for the first time. The Aussie, along with countryman Adam Scott, looked anything but comfortable on the new digs as they joined Brendan Steele T67 (last) on four-over 74.
The top 30 will advance to the next round of the FedExCup Playoffs next week at East Lake Golf Club. Here's how the guys under the gun are performing:
Round 1 played under-par at 68.130 (-1.870) with 48 of 69 rounds under-par. ... Fowler was joined in the bogey-free department by Brian Gay, Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson. ... Billy Horschel (T4) and Xander Schauffele (3rd) made eight birdies, two shy of McIlroy's 10. ... Of the top 10 players in Strokes-Gained: Approach-the-Green seven are T12 or better. ... Gamers will need to adjust their lineups ASAP as tee times have been moved up Friday to avoid afternoon storms. Round 2 will tee off from both tees between 7 and 9 am.