This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Course: Wilmington Country Club South Course (7,534 yards, par 71)
Winner: $2,700,000 and 2,000 FedExCup points
One leg down, two to go in the race for the FedExCup. It came down to the wire for a number of players, but the top 70 is now finalized and all of those players will be guaranteed four rounds of golf at the BMW Championship to try to crack the top 30 that make it to the TOUR Championship. Just getting to that final event of the playoffs is huge because it assures you a spot in all the majors next season. Those closer to the top of the standings will be more focused on trying to improve their seed, which is important with the TOUR Championship and FedExCup adopting the staggered start system back in 2019. The No. 1 seed, which begins the tournament at 10-under-par and two strokes clear of the No. 2 seed, won it all each of the last two seasons.
The BMW Championship was formerly known as the Western Open, which dates back to 1899, making it the third-longest running PGA Tour event behind only the Open Championship (1860) and U.S. Open (1895). Now holding a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs since its inception in 2007, the event has normally been hosted near the Chicago area but in recent years it has moved all over the place. Last year's edition at Caves Valley in Maryland saw one of the epic playoff duels of the last decade between Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau. Cantlay wound on top after pouring in some brilliant putts and parlayed that into the FedExCup the very next week at East Lake. In 2022 the BMW Championship will be heading to Wilmington Country Club. This club has been around for more than a century and has hosted some high-level tournaments, but this will be the first time the PGA Tour heads to Wilmington. The most notable recent event at Wilmington CC was the 2013 Palmer Cup where the U.S. team, led by Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Patrick Rodgers, dominated the European team 20.5 to 9.5.
After finally breaking through for his first career victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship last week, Will Zalatoris now holds the top spot in the standings thanks to the quadruple points which will be in effect once again at the BMW Championship. Scottie Scheffler loses the top spot in the standings for the first time in months following his missed cut in Memphis. No. 3 in the standings coming into the week is Cameron Smith, and there's certainly been a lot of things swirling around with the Champion Golfer of the Year over the last month. Following a T13 in Memphis he announced that he was going to skip the BMW Championship due to ongoing hip discomfort. This shouldn't really affect his seeding too much going into the TOUR Championship if he does decide to compete at East Lake and doesn't have too much attention on the LIV Golf event in Boston the week after. Sam Burns and Tony Finau round out of the current top five in the standings, and both will be looking to add another win to their season total and potentially take over the No. 1 seed.
It will be dry and mid-80s for the practice rounds and first two tournament rounds. That should put a lot of fire and spring into the course early on, but there is a decent chance of rainfall on both Saturday and Sunday, which should make scoring a little easier over the weekend. Winds are projected to be pretty mild throughout the event similar to last week in Memphis. Other than when a mini U.S. Open broke out at a dried out Olympia Fields in 2020, the winning score has been on average 23.3-under-par in the last six BMW Championships at a variety of different courses. There are certainly some unknowns with Wilmington Country Club, but just based on recent history it's likely we see quite a few good scores this week.
2021 – Patrick Cantlay (Caves Valley)
2020 – Jon Rahm (Olympia Fields)
2019 – Justin Thomas (Medinah)
2018 – Keegan Bradley (Aronimink)
2017 – Marc Leishman (Conway Farms)
2016 – Dustin Johnson (Crooked Stick)
2015 – Jason Day (Conway Farms)
2014 – Billy Horschel (Cherry Hills)
2013 – Zach Johnson (Conway Farms)
2012 – Rory McIlroy (Crooked Stick)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- SG: Putting
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- Sand Save Percentage
Other than the majors, the BMW Championship appears to be the only PGA Tour event that will rotate courses moving forward. It makes it a bit trickier from a fantasy perspective, but it's always fun to try to find out as much as you can about a mostly unknown course to most fans. The first thing you'll notice about Wilmington Country Club is the massive greens. They average over 8,000 square feet, which makes it nearly double the average green size of TPC Southwind last week. There are very defined tiers in a number of these greens at Wilmington, which allow for a ton of different hole locations.
A player's driving ability will also be tested here. The fairways are generally pretty wide, but missing them will come with a penalty. There are 91 total bunkers on the course with a fair amount of them sitting right in the landing areas. The rough is also no bargain with the bluegrass being allowed to grow to around four inches. This is not the week to be off with your driver given that most players will probably be looking to hit big stick on nearly every hole. Keeping your misses in play will be key to giving yourself a good look to try to attack the hole locations. We will see quite a few three-putts due to the size of these greens, but most of those will be because of a poor iron shot and leaving yourself 70 feet or more for birdie.
Lastly, there's a good chance that if you miss these large greens you will most likely end up in a bunker. Wilmington CC features some large greenside bunkers that can swallow up an errant iron shot. Players that are good out of the sand should be licking their chops this week.
FanDuel Value Picks
Rory McIlroy ($11,800)
The hope here is that people see the missed cut last week in Memphis and they look to someone else in the $11,000 range to take their money. Wilmington CC sets up much better for McIlroy's skillset than TPC Southwind. This is a long par-71 where you need to drive it well to set up the rest of the game. This has been the best putting season of the four-time major champion's career and one of his best approach-play seasons as well. On top of that he is also 11th in sand save percentage.
Tony Finau ($11,000)
Finau was squeezed by TPC Southwind's tight fairways and still was able to muster up a T5 finish behind some brilliant work with the flat stick yet again. Right now he is the best player in golf and he needs to be rostered until he is priced as such. Finau should love Wilmington CC, as it compares in some ways to Detroit Country Club, where the Utah native ran away from the field to win by five. Finau ranks top-13 on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, GIR percentage and birdie average.
Xander Schauffele ($10,700)
Last week's T57 in Memphis was the first time in eight previous starts that he has finished outside the top-20. I expect Schauffele to bounce back in a big way at Wilmington, a course that should be primed for his game. The seven-time Tour winner ranks 16th in SG: Approach, 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green, first in sand save percentage and 11th in three-putt avoidance. The numbers are just way too good for nine players to be priced ahead of him.
Cameron Young ($10,400)
Now that Will Zalatoris has broken through, all eyes turn to Young, who is the next youngster -- and the next Wake Forest alum -- destined to wind up in the winner's circle. Wilmington could be a very good chance for the rookie, who played great at Detroit Golf Club en route to a T2. Young ranks second in SG: Off-the-Tee, fifth in birdie average, 18th in proximity and sixth in putts per round this season. He was second in SG: Tee-to-Green in Memphis and should enjoy the shift from bermuda to bentgrass.
Longer Shots with Value
Aaron Wise ($9,000)
Wise has been one of my favorite plays throughout the season. His numbers across the board are so solid with no glaring weaknesses. The former Oregon standout ranks 28th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 23rd in SG: Approach, 40th in scrambling and 23rd in birdie average. Wise also leads the PGA Tour in par-3 scoring average, something that should come in handy on a course with a very difficult quartet of them. He's missed just one cut in his last nine starts.
Cam Davis ($8,900)
Davis has simply been playing too good to pass up on a price like this. His worst finish in his last five starts was a T16. Davis has driven it great over that stretch and gained nearly 27 strokes from Tee-to-Green. He's also 37th in sand save percentage and 26th in three-putt avoidance this season. Too many things are lining up for Davis not to have a great week at a course like Wilmington.
Scott Stallings ($8,200)
Stallings burned a lot of people last week with his missed cut, but the T8-T4-T10-T13 stretch prior to that still has me very interested this week with a price tag $700 cheaper. Over that extremely good stretch Stallings gained nearly 30 strokes just from Tee-to-Green. The Massachusetts native should also feel a lot more comfortable on these bentgrass greens in Wilmington.
Wyndham Clark ($7,600)
Clark has a terrific blend of power and putting ability that should pay off at Wilmington. On top of that he has a short game that grades out pretty nicely as well. Clark has gotten over the consistency issues of the past by making eight of his last nine cuts. One of his best finishes in that stretch was a T8 at Detroit Golf Club, which as we've mentioned before profiles as a nice comparison for Wilmington CC.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
This tournament is pretty comparable to a WGC event with 68 of the best players teeing it up in a no-cut format. That means you have the chance over the weekend to see a lot more fluctuation than the average 36-hole cut event. A really bad Sunday like J.J. Spaun had last week can put you from cashing to on the outside looking in very quickly. The field is very deep once again, so if you want to stack a few players in the $11,000 range you can certainly do that. This is a week I'm staying away from Scottie Scheffler ($11,500) and Justin Thomas ($11,200) as both players have lost strokes putting in each of their last four events, which doesn't bode well going to a course with greens over 8,000 square feet. Taylor Pendrith ($8,700), Keith Mitchell ($8,600), J.T. Poston ($8,400), and Taylor Moore ($8,100) were some other good bargains not mentioned above that I think could have a good week at Wilmington Country Club.