The PGA Tour season rolls on and the FedExCup Playoffs are 50 percent complete with only two events remaining. The field of 125 perspective championship contenders has been widdled down to 70 eligible players with a shot at becoming the FedExCup champion and $10 million richer. Adam Scott won The Barclays at Liberty National and Henrik Stenson won the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. This week the tour has pulled into Conway Farm GC in Lake Forest Illinois for the BMW Championship. Stenson’s victory took over the number one spot in the FedExCup standings knocking Tiger to number two for the first time since March.
Conway Farms is a Tom Fazio designed course that has been open since 1991. The course will play 7,149 yards and a par of 71 this week. Fazio used traditional links golf as a template for the award winning course and players can expect wind to play a huge factor in the third tournament of the FedExCup playoff series. Of course the wind will not be the onyl determining factor. There are a few holes at Conway Farms that will require special attention by players and fans alike this week.
The Par-3 196 yard second hole will challenge players throughout all four rounds of this no cut event. The green on the second hole could be the most unique and challenging at Conway Farms. This green slopes from back to front with the back half of the green playing narrower than the front. Players will stare at four bunkers and challenging deep rough around this challenging green. If a player can get through all four rounds at even par here then they will most likely gain at least a shot or two on the field.
The fourth and fifth holes are probably the most challenging back-to-back holes at Conway Farms. The Par-4, 485 yard fourth hole presents a deceptive tee shot for the players. It seems benign but a tee shot to the right side of this fairway could make challenging this green almost impossible. If placed correctly the players will have a long approach into a green protected by a water hazard that waits to catch any long approach shots.
The Par-4, 469 yard fifth hole is a mental and physical test for the players. Water is in play off the tee in the form a long carry to uphill dry land. If players are positioned correctly they can expect a long approach into a green that slopes away from center in all directions. Players can love their approaches in flight here until their ball is funneled right off the green. Focus is key at number five and the only the mentally strong will play this hole well throughout the week.
As the players make the turn they approach the demanding Par-4, 458 yard 10th hole. A combination of accuracy and reasonable length are required to tame the 10th. Water in the form of a creek challenges the right side of the hole with nasty heather challenging the left. A striped tee shot is crucial to miss these hazards. The green is not surrounded by bunkers but the creek on the right side will persist and a clean runoff area on the left side of the green is sure to frustrate many players this week.
The closing hole at Conway Farms is spectacular. The Par-5, 570 18th hole will prove to be a crucial hole at the completion of the BMW Championship. This hole plays uphill from tee to green and a creek crosses this fairway twice on the 18th. The first time at 350 yards and the second 60 yards to the green. The tee shot must avoid a deep bunker on the left and a massive oak on the right for players to have any shot at getting home in two. If forced to layup players will have to be mindful of multiple trees and the bothersome creek when choosing their ideal yardage. A couple of bunkers around the green, the creek and water to the right all play a factor in the frustration level as players attempt to close their rounds. You will see anything from eagle to triple-bogey at the glorious finishing hole of the BMW Championship this week.
Can Henrik Stenson continue his incredible play after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship or will the Tours only bye week cool him down? Can Tiger rebound after a poor weekend last time out? Can Jordan Spieth continue his magical ride? With only 30 spots available for the Tour Championship you can bet all 70 players will be ready to play this week. There can be only one winner but who will that be? Let’s take a look.