2021 BMW Championship Round 4 Buys & Fades: Stick with Bryson DeChambeau to Win Second FedExCup Playoffs Event
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau.
Early in the round on Saturday it looked like Bryson DeChambeau was going to run away from the field. He carded back-to-back eagles at the 4th and 5th holes to take a three-shot lead over his playing partners, and he added another birdie before the turn.
Bryson stumbled on the back nine though with two bogeys and a double in a four-hole stretch. During those struggles, Patrick Cantlay was making up ground fast, as he had three birdies during those struggles and eventually took the lead into the closing hole. A final-hole bogey would ruin Cantlay’s bogey-free card and drop him back into a tie with DeChambeau going into Sunday, setting up for a great battle.
The leaders won’t be able to focus just on themselves though, as Sungjae Im is three shots back, and a group of four led by Rory McIlroy is just four back. Even with playing the ball down on Saturday, scores were still 2.77 shots under par on average and showed that it could be possible for someone to go really low and steal this thing on Sunday.
I’ll be sticking with my pre-tournament pick to win in the final round, but I will also look at some chasers behind that final pairing as we break down the Strokes Gained data from the third round at Caves Valley.
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 4
I was really hoping for a cozy little Sunday watching my pre-tournament pick Bryson DeChambeau cruise to victory. It seemed like we were heading in that direction through the front nine, but he collapsed a bit on the back and gave up his lead in full. Frankly, he’s lucky to be tied going into the final round.
Still, I am sticking by my guy and expecting him to bring home the win. He has been really clutch on Sundays when in contention, with his recent struggles at the WGC St. Jude a real outlier. It may be to his advantage that he was able to have such issues on Saturday and still be right there as the favorite in the final round. He is certainly the guy to beat on Sunday in Baltimore, and Vegas agrees, as DeChambeau leads the way at +125 across most of the major sportsbooks.
If I am dropping down the leaderboard for someone to run down Cantlay and Bryson, it’s going to be with Jon Rahm. He’s +1800, and honestly that feels like a good number for a player that could go low at any given moment.
Saturday at Caves Valley was just the second round in the last 13 where Rahm has lost strokes on approach, and the other time was in Round 3 last week where he bounced back with 3.4 Strokes Gained: Approach the next day. I think we will see a highly-motivated Spaniard on Sunday, ready to be aggressive and chase down this win. He’s the guy that I will be most fearful of stealing this thing from Bryson, if not Cantlay.
One off-the-radar player that could sneak his way into the top 10 or even better on Sunday is my guy, K.H. Lee. He was the best player in the field on approach on Saturday, gaining 4.05 shots on the field with his irons. The South Korean will also need a strong finish to gain his way into the field at East Lake next week, so we can anticipate him being aggressive.
I have usually targeted Lee on TPC courses, but we also know he can go low as he won his first TOUR event earlier this year with a score in the mid 20s under par. I will latch onto Lee in a number of markets on Sunday, especially in final-round showdown on DraftKings.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
Abraham Ancer is the Sunday fade by the numbers. He gained 3.84 shots on the greens, as every time they showed him in the third round it seemed he was dropping a long putt. The Mexican really didn’t have his game tee to green on Saturday as he lost .61 strokes to the field in that metric, with his only other positive category being .60 strokes gained on approach.
I admittedly have longstanding biases against Ancer and his flat stick that date back to 2019 when he ranked 113th on TOUR in that category. He has always been a poor putter in my mind, but the reality is he has been top 50 in that metric for two straight seasons. I still like the fade for Sunday because he now has back-to-back rounds losing strokes tee to green, and in this scoring environment, he won’t be able to stay in the top five without that part of his game.
We have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the breakthrough from Dustin Johnson. It appears it’ll be next season before anything of that sort happens, as he will need to win during the fall swing to capture a TOUR win in 2021.
DJ has not been able to build upon his green jacket from November, as his only win this year came at the Saudi International. He has been wildly inconsistent this year, and that has continued this week as he has lost strokes on approach in two of his three rounds. The putter saved him on Saturday at Caves Valley as he gained 3.24 strokes on the greens, but we know that isn’t a reliable resource for him to make a move on Sunday.
I said all of those good things about Sebastian Munoz yesterday and formally jinxed him into breaking his streak of sub-70 rounds. He scrambled to an even-par Saturday at Caves Valley, as he simply didn’t have his game and was merely field average on the day.
My fade for Sunday is as much about his third-round falloff as it is that he has played a ton of golf as of late, and Sundays haven’t been very kind to him. I am going on the flyer that this historically inconsistent player has gotten off kilter a bit with his poor third round and may struggle to find it again on Sunday at the BMW Championship.