BMW Championship Round 2 Best Bets: Scott, Fitzpatrick Could Provide Value
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Scott.
- Round 1 of the BMW Championship provided a stiff challenge to the PGA TOUR's best players on Thursday.
- Considering those conditions, Jason Sobel makes a case that Adam Scott and Matthew Fitzpatrick could be good outright bets before Round 2 begins on Friday.
Since 2003, there’s been a women’s major championship, a U.S. Amateur and an annual college tournament held at Olympia Fields, but the world’s best men’s professional golfers hadn’t returned in 17 years — until this week.
That U.S. Open somehow left a bad taste in our mouths. For whatever reasons — a relatively benign first few rounds, an uninspired leaderboard, a less-than-thrilling finish — the course has received unfavorable reviews ever since, yielding a collective yawn from the masses when it was announced it would be hosting this year’s BMW Championship.
One round into this week’s event, perhaps a single question is more relevant than any other: Have we gotten it wrong all these years?
With 69 of the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings in the field, a grand total of three were able to break par on Thursday, led by Hideki Matsuyama’s 3-under 67, which was nearly a half-dozen strokes better than the field average.
A few things we learned during the first round, one of which will lead to the idea for the other: Don’t bank on another 30-under winner this week, as we’re already looking at a U.S. Open-ish total if conditions remain similar for three more days. All of which means most of the field is still very much in contention for this title.
Let’s take a look at four live outrights who could make a run at this thing come Sunday afternoon.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2000)
I didn’t write about Fitz in any of my early-week preview content, but as soon as I heard the likes of Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas speaking about how brutal this course was going to play during their pre-tournament press conferences, I added him to my card. On multiple occasions over the last few years — including the recent Memorial Tournament, when he finished solo third — Fitz has shown a propensity for playing well when scoring is closer to par. Throw in the fact that he should have some good vibes back in his college town of Chicago — even if he didn’t stay very long — and he’s my favorite add entering the second round.
Adam Scott (+4500)
As strange as it sounds after the sports world was shut down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the world’s elite-level golfers have actually played more competitive golf this summer than they usually do. Playing, say, eight or nine weeks out of the last 11 or 12 doesn’t take such a physical and mental toll on the body when there’s a four-round birdie-fest going on, as we witnessed last week. But a long stretch of golf that culminates in a brutally difficult test should have many players feeling exhausted in more ways than one going into this weekend. Enter Scott, who is competing in only his third event in the past four months. If anyone has a full tank and enough in reserve to chase a title this weekend, it should be him.
Xander Schauffele (+2800)
Patrick Reed (+5000)
I can’t say there are many weeks out of the year when I’m backing a player who opened with a 3-over score in the first round, but this isn’t like very many other weeks. Reed and Schauffele ranked eighth and 10th, respectively, in strokes gained on approach shots Thursday, which could portend better things for them moving forward. Sure, they’re each six shots off the pace, but they’re also just three shots out of fourth. Both of these guys — like most of the field — are still very much in this thing, and you can get ‘em for a discounted price of their original odds.