The house lights are flashing to signify that intermission is over. Yes! Intermission is over!
What a first half of the FedExCup Playoffs it was. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas captured victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell Technologies Championship, respectively, but it's Jordan Spieth atop the standings with consecutive runner-up finishes. He's the first non-winner of the first two FedExCup Playoffs events in history to sit No. 1 entering the BMW Championship, a feat even more unfathomable given he started the series third in points.
Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, hosts the third leg for the third time. Of this week's field of 70, 42 competed either in 2013 or in 2015. Twenty-three played in both editions.
Power Rankings: BMW Championship
1 Justin Thomas 2 Jordan Spieth 3 Dustin Johnson 4 Hideki Matsuyama 5 Paul Casey 6 Rickie Fowler 7 Jon Rahm 8 Patrick Reed 9 Justin Rose 10 Henrik Stenson 11 Marc Leishman 12 Jason Day 13 Rory McIlroy 14 Patrick Cantlay 15 Matt Kuchar 16 Daniel Berger 17 Brooks Koepka 18 Zach Johnson 19 Kevin Na 20 Bill Haas
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson will be among the notables included in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Zach Johnson came from behind to prevail in 2013 and Jason Day cruised to a wire-to-wire title in 2015 at the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, but the Tom Fazio design also is remembered as the site of Jim Furyk's 59 (with a bogey) in the second round of 2013. Yet, the field averaged 70.811 in its first look as compared to 69.489 in its return.
Comparably, the 2015 field missed more fairways (63.72 percent vs. 66.73 percent in 2013), but it stacked up better on average in an array of scoring measurements:
• Green in Regulation: 66.26 percent (vs. 62.94 percent in 2013)
• Proximity to the Hole: 32 feet, one inch (vs. 33 feet, four inches)
• Birdie-or-Better Conversion Percentage: 33.98 percent (vs. 30.24 percent)
• Scrambling: 64.02 percent (vs. 59.90 percent)
Rain softened Conway Farms in 2015, but not to the extent that anyone would have foreseen such a measurable drop in scoring on the par 35-36=71. So, with little chance of rain until Sunday during this week's tournament, this year's scoring average should land in between the two in the books. Daytimes highs in the mid-to-upper 70s are forecast. Mother Nature's greatest challenge figures to be a moderate wind mid-tournament.
Since Conway Farms hosted in 2015, several areas of the course were upgraded, many of which to improve drainage. The only change in overall yardage occurred at the par-5 18th hole, which is now up 10 yards, boosting the aggregate to 7,208 yards. Bentgrass greens are maintained at 12-and-a-half feet on the Stimpmeter. The longest rough is allowed to grow three-and-a-half inches.
Those who advanced to the BMW Championship are not only chasing one of 30 berths into the TOUR Championship but also a carte-blanche schedule in 2017-18. In additions to exemptions already secured for finishing inside the top 70 of the FedExCup standings, the top 30 are granted exemptions into each of the first three majors in 2018 as well as spots in the first two World Golf Championships (HSBC, Mexico).
The Confidence Factor on Tuesday will focus on specific statistics to identify would-be contenders as well as list all results of golfers in the field who competed at Conway Farms in 2013 and/or 2015.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Reshuffle, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, The Confidence Factor, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.