The BMW Championship: Custom Model predicts a surprising result

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GOLF: MAY 27 PGA – Charles Schwab Challenge
FORTH WORTH, TX – MAY 27: Justin Thomas hits from the 6th tee during the second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge on May 27, 2022 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

The second leg of the Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs takes to Wilmington, Delaware, for The BMW Championship. With only 70 names and a no-cut stipulation ahead of next week, there could be some real value to be found in this week’s custom model.

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What goes into building a Custom Model for The BMW Championship

The first thing I do is look at stats that correlate to success at the course in question. In this case, there are a trio of long par 5’s and three excruciatingly long par 4’s. While water will be a non-factor, the course is littered with bunkers so scrambling will be a real asset, as will distance off the tee.

From there, I look at those stats over each Golfers last 24 rounds, and then those same stats when playing the course in question and others that have similar profiles. I place a value on each stat to bring a combined grade for every golfer in the field.

The Custom Model can’t even predict a winner for the BMW Championship!

For the first time in the six months I’ve been building this custom model, it’s not only predicted a tie, but a three-way one at that! The model has churned out a tie between Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, and Tony Finau.

If we’re to follow the rule of not backing a golfer the week after a win, that does, unfortunately, rule out Willy Z and brings it down to a head-to-head bout between Finau and JT for the value.

Finau does have the better form coming into the event, having won two of his last four starts and amassed an average finish of 9th place over his last 24 rounds. However, Justin Thomas ranks 2nd in both approach metrics, while Finau ranks 32nd and 19th. For this reason, I am going to back JT. The last time he sat atop my model, he won the PGA Championship, so sensing some good vibes here.

Sleeper picks for the BMW Championship

I made a real point in yesterday’s preview to back Hideki Matsuyama. After seeing him grade out 7th in my model, I am absolutely willing to take a +6500 shot on a golfer with 8 PGA wins to his name who has been haunted by injury this year. After a week of rest, he may be well poised to make a run at the BMW Championship. You will rarely see Hideki this highly-priced, so it’s better to be early.

It may also be worth taking a flyer on Scott Stallings at +15000. For a top-10 finish, his odds would be +800. He ranks 17th in my model and has an average finishing position of 27th. With no cut and only 70 in the field, his well-rounded play could absolutely see him vying for a spot inside the top-10, and maybe even more on Sunday at the BMW Championship.

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Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire

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