2021 BMW Championship Round 3 Picks, Buys & Fades: Back Sungjae Im to Make Move

2021 BMW Championship Round 3 Picks, Buys & Fades: Back Sungjae Im to Make Move article feature image

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Sungjae Im.

Ever since Bryson DeChambeau spoke publicly about his pursuit for hitting it longer than anyone ever has on the PGA TOUR, we have been waiting for a round to come together for him like it did Friday at the BMW Championship. DeChambeau was dialed in and it was fun to follow, as he ripped apart the course at Caves Valley Golf Club en route to a near sub-60 round.

He was six under through his first seven holes as he made the turn in just 29 strokes, ten added five more capped by his second eagle of the day on the Par 5 16th hole. DeChambeau wasn't done there, as he gave himself good  looks on both 17 and 18, but was unable to capitalize to break 60 for his round.

Still, the 12-under effort shot him up the leaderboard into the solo lead, with only Jon Rahm still on the course and within striking distance to match or pass his 16 under through two rounds.

While much of the attention was understandably around DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay was matching him hole by hole for a long stretch and having  an incredible round. He added five more strokes putting to the six he gained Thursday, posting a 9-under 63 to go into the weekend a shot behind.

Rahm, Cantlay, and DeChambeau have separated themselves from the rest of the field, as they're all three or more shots ahead of the next best golfers. However, I wouldn't let that deter you from taking a chance down the board as we have clearly seen there are some really low rounds available. And as the old adage goes, it's hard to follow up a great round with another.

Let's take a look at the data from Friday's round to see who stands out so far.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3

There is still some golf to be finished from the second round, most notably by world No. 1-ranked golfer. Rahm has a 15-foot birdie look on the 16th to tie the lead when he resumes play Saturday morning. His finish will go a long way to setting the markets into Round 3 at the tournament.

Right now, I'm not going to chase anyone at the top. I took DeChambeau as my favorite bet to win pre-tournament, and both Cantlay and Rahm are just at too short of odds to consider adding at this stage. I'll instead drop down one spot, but three strokes to Sungjae Im.

I have been waiting for Im to really close out a strong week, as he's putting together some really strong weeks ball striking, but hasn't been able to finish well due to a balky putter. Round 2 was a similar story, but he was able to find  ways to score and might be another hot putting round similar to Thursday from putting his name fully in the mix. He would be the name I would be willing to consider at +2500 to press those leaders.

Sam Burns plays a shot during the second round of the BMW Championship on Thursday at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. Photo credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Based on the strokes gained numbers, I'm really not sure how Sam Burns is 3-under through 17 holes on his second round. He lost 1.41 strokes to the field ball striking Friday, with 1.48 of those coming on approach. Looking back, this is a bit of a trend for Burns who has struggled of late on Fridays, but as we know he has bounced back for some really strong finishes.

I am going to take a bit of different stance, as I take it as a positive that could be his poor round of the week. It could still be posted in the 60s with a good final hole Saturday morning. He will go into the weekend at least six shots back, which will be hard to overcome for his second win. However, I like him in a number of other markets going into the third round.

If you gave me 20 guesses at who has the longest current streak on TOUR of sub-70 rounds, I would probably need 20 more before I got to Sebastian Munoz. He would be the correct answer, as he closed out his 11th consecutive tournament round in the 60s. If you counted the Olympics, you'd add four more to that stretch.

I have always thought of Munoz as an extremely volatile and hard-to-predict player, but he has been as consistently good as could be asked for during this stretch of golf. The Colombian will go into the weekend at least seven shots back of the lead. I'm not necessarily buying him to make a run for the win, but it wouldn't cost you much at +25000 on DraftKings.

Instead, I'll focus on riding the hot hand in DFS, matchups and in the Top 10 market if we can get odds before they tee it up.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3

This didn't work out at all the first time, but I've always been one where if at first you don't succeed, try to fade Patrick Cantlay again or something like that.

As I noted in the summary, Cantlay has put together the best two putting rounds that I can find on record for him in back-to-back days. He has gained an absurd 11.15 strokes on the greens through 36 holes at Caves Valley.

Cantlay did finally find his approach play, which helped to boost him to that round of 63, but I just can't believe what I'm seeing. I'll go here once again knowing that if he keeps up a pace anywhere near this, he's the one that might be most likely to run away from the others.

The next player on the block is also putting out of his mind, but we know that will come to an end sooner than later. Sergio Garcia has gained more than 4.6 shots on the greens this week. His two rounds of just simply positive strokes putting match the two he has had in his last 10 measured rounds.

I am generally a Sergio guy, but the ship has sailed to get on board here and I can only see it taking on waterTim Nwachukwu/Getty Images after he lost some of his ball-striking form Friday.

It pains me to make this play as I bought in on Rory McIlroy right as he teed off Thursday and was rewarded with one of his best rounds of the season. I saw then that he gained three strokes on the greens, but hoped it was just a blip on the radar and he would hone in on his ball striking to carry him to the weekend.

Unfortunately, he really struggled in the second round, losing strokes to the field tee to green. His biggest issue was on approach, where he lost 1.8 strokes to the field with his irons. McIlroy will need to find it all again and go really low in consecutive rounds this weekend to get back in the mix, but I'm fading him based on the inconsistencies he continues to show on a weekly basis.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 2

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