It’s a quick turnaround on the PGA Tour this week. After an exciting finish on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings travel all the way to Cherry Hills Village, Colorado to play the BMW Championship.
For this year’s edition of the BMW Championship it will take place at Cherry Hills Country Club for the first time and it’s the first time Cherry Hills Country Club has hosted a PGA Tour event since 1985. While it hasn’t been featured lately, it has a lot of history and is most famously recognized as the tournament that hosted the 1960 U.S. Open.
The tournament was a passing of the torch, if you will. It was Ben Hogan’s last hurrah, Arnold Palmer was just hitting his peak, and a young amateur by the name of Jack Nicklaus competed and was right there until the end.
Heading into the 17th hole, Hogan was tied with Palmer, but Hogan bogeyed 17 and triple-bogeyed 18 which effectively ended his chances at winning his 10th major championship.
Nicklaus, who was playing with Hogan, bogeyed the 18th hole and finished runner-up two shots behind the eventual winner in Palmer.
I don’t know, I find that interesting that the U.S. Open in 1960 happened to go that way. Three all-time greats in three different-ish eras playing and competing in a major championship. That’s just good stuff.
Anyway, getting back to 2014, there’s not much course history to go on this week as, again, Cherry Hills C.C. hasn’t hosted a 1985 PGA Tour event, but it has hosted some very significant amateur tournaments.
In 2012, Cherry Hills hosted the U.S. Amateur Championship which featured Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama. Matusyama didn’t make the cut, but Spieth played very well and finished T-7.
In 1990, Phil Mickelson won the U.S. Amateur Championship and has already stated that he is extremely pumped and excited to get back to Cherry Hills. When Mickelson is 100% focused and ready to go, watch out.
Mickelson isn’t exactly a sleeper pick, but as we just shoot the breeze here talking about the upcoming tournament, Mickelson might be one to watch out for. And while he’s not a sleeper pick, he does have some value.
Anyway, let’s get into the true fantasy sleeper picks this week at the 2014 BMW Championship. What I’m looking for this week are ball strikers. Over the past few months the area got a lot of rain and the rough is supposedly going to play very rough. Hitting fairways will be a big key and if you don’t, well, you have to scramble well.
Also, given the elevation the shorter hitters aren’t really at a disadvantage this week. So, with all that said here are my BMW Championship fantasy sleeper picks and as a note, if you’ve been checking out these articles for the past couple of weeks, the names might look very familiar and might not be that much of a surprise.
John Senden- John Senden keeps getting way undervalued and that’s not too much of a surprise. Senden isn’t a big name. When you have a limited field the bigger names are going to cost more because that’s who the casual fan will recognize.
Nevertheless, Senden has been performing like a high price golfer. Senden has been a smashing hit at The Barclays and at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Let’s see if he can make it three in a row this week. At a course that is going to reward ball striking you can’t go wrong taking a golfer that is 48th on Tour in driving accuracy and 21st in Green In Regulation…and he just so happens to be one of the cheapest golfers. Once again, another fantastic value play.
Kevin Stadler- Had Kevin Stadler last week as well and again, not a big name player, but Stadler is very good striker of the ball and is starting to play some good golf again. He had that slump in the middle of the season, but is slowly starting to turn it around.
Stadler has now made seven straight cuts and in the playoffs finished T-46 at The Barclays and last week a T-16 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Plus, this is a home-ish course for Stadler as he grew up in the area during.
Graham DeLaet- The great advantage this week at the BMW Championship is that you don’t have to worry about a cut. Whoever you take, more than likely, they will play all four rounds (unless, of course, they withdraw). And so, with that said, that’s why I’m putting Graham DeLaet on my sleeper picks list this week.
As we keep harping on, the thing to look for is ball striking. Superb ball striking from tee-to-green. And that’s DeLaet’s bread and butter. His ball striking is superb. He is so good that he should be a multiple time winner on the PGA Tour, but putting – like so many others – has held him back.
DeLaet bombs it a long ways: 302.2 yards off the tee which is good for 16th on Tour, he hits 62% of Fairways and is 3rd in GIR. What’s holding him back is around the green. DeLaet is 87th in scrambling – a key we also mentioned atop – and he is 130th in Strokes Gained: Putting which is extremely bad.
If DeLaet strikes the ball well, which he usually does, he has a good chance this week. The greens won’t be the toughest and that will play to his advantage. All in all, if you want to take a flyer, you might want to give DeLaet a look.
Martin Kaymer- I’m throwing on Martin Kaymer here at the last minute just because, hey, whenever you can get The PLAYERS champion and the U.S. Open champion at below average, well, you can’t help but mention him.
Not only that, but Kaymer has fallen below the radar of late. Kaymer has struggled since winning the U.S. Open and with Rory McIlroy getting all the attention, Kaymer has drifted back into the crowd. A place where Kaymer is very comfortable being.
Kaymer finished T-7 at Deutsche Bank last week and nobody talked about him. It was a very stealth like top 10 finish and he may very quietly be getting back on track. Last week may just be the start. I would keep an eye on Kaymer this week.