As the warm weather fades into autumn, as does golf season. As a consolation, this also means the FedEx Cup Playoffs are here and the BMW Championship is making its way back to Lake Forest. Returning back to Conway Farms for the third time since 2013, the BMW brings many terrific golfers in tow. The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup Standings will be battling in west Lake Forest during another round of the playoffs this weekend. The top 30 players on the points list will then compete for the Tour Championship the following week.
There’s certainly a lot to watch for this weekend due to the high stakes. Best friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas lead the FedEx Cup standings at the #1 and #2 slots respectively. Spieth and Thomas both have a major to their name this year and have been playing as well as anyone. The powerful Dustin Johnson rounds out the top 3, and will also be playing alongside Thomas and Spieth on Thursday and Friday. Hideki Matsuyama, rookie Jon Rahm, and Rickie Fowler complete the top 6 and also find themselves in an entertaining pairing. Heralded golfers Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy all sit outside the cut line for the Tour Championship, so look for them to make a push this week to get inside the top 30. Keep an eye on 2015 BMW winner Jason Day, and Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who both sit on the top 30 border.
In 2015, the BMW at Conway Farms was rated “Tournament of the Year” by the PGA Tour. Jason Day took home the hardware that year, and Zach Johnson won the first time the prized tournament was played in Lake Forest. The sunny forecast for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday ushers in a possibility for some low scores, and Sunday morning showers should make for an awesome finale as the course dampens. The weekend of golf should bring in many spectators as the City of Lake Forest has done a great job of preparing for this fantastic event.
According to the City of Lake Forest, the proceeds from the championship benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation, an organization that focus on sending caddies to college. As a branch of the Western Golf Association, the tournament has raised more than $19.6 million. This spectacle is a great concept and Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents should do their best to attend. For those on their way to the tournament, parking will be available at both the east and west train stations in Lake Forest, along with lots open at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. Complimentary shuttles will be very busy as they’ll travel back and forth from Conway to the various lots.
As is the case with any major professional sports spectacle, it is necessary for journalists and experts alike to call their shots on who will be crowned the tournament’s winner.
Bobby Winebrenner – Rickie Fowler (-16)
Fowler has been playing great recently, shooting under par in his past four tournaments and has made seven straight cuts. Look for him to break through in the BMW and hoist the trophy alongside his trademark Sunday orange Puma outfit.
Kyle Wix (Lake Forest Scouts Golf beat writer) – Justin Thomas (-17)
“Conway is a crafty course, but will yield solid scoring opportunities with the nice weather expected for this weekend. Expect to see some big names battling at the top of the leaderboard, but in the end, the red hot Thomas will prevail on Sunday.”
Coach Jim Matheson (Lake Forest Scouts Head Golf Coach) – Jordan Spieth (-14)
“The course is going to play short because it’s so firm and Spieth will have the ability for a lot of short irons in.”
Coach Graham O’Connor-Brooks (Lake Forest Scouts Assistant Golf Coach)
Favorite: Jordan Spieth
“Spieth has been on fire lately….he was in position to win the last 2 playoff events, but failed to finish the job. With that said, he’s got to be pretty fired up to tee it this week. He also has a decent history at Conway with 13th and 16th place finishes.”
Dark Horse: Kevin Kisner
“Kisner has a very similar game to Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk, both of whom have won at Conway in the past. He was able build some confidence earlier this year as he had a shot to win his first major championship at Quail Hollow for the PGA. The guy has some serious grit and can get himself in the top 5 of the FedEx Cup standings with a win. A top 5 in the standings is the ultimate goal as then you are able to control your own destiny at the Tour Championship.”
Winning Score: (-19) “Without a lot of wind in the forecast there will be birdies in bunches out at Conway.”