It's another new venue on the BMW Championship rotation and this week Cherry Hills CC emulates the European Tour event in Crans in terms of playing at altitude. Straight away attention turns to those proficient in the approach shot accuracy and distance control departments. I've read a great article from a local Denver Paper and only a handful of players have even seen the course before this week and we can try and exploit an angle here.
Jimmy Walker - 41.00 - is one of those players: Jimmy did a recce on the course earlier in the year and feels he has a bit of an advantage because of it. Phil Mickelson - 21.00 - won the US Amateur here back in 1990 while more recently, young Jordan Spieth - 41.00 - tested the waters in the 2012 edition of that event. Cameron Tringale and Morgan Hoffman played the Palmer Cup here.
Rory McIlroy leads the market at 6.00 with Aussies Adam Scott and Jason Day tucked in behind at 13.00 and 15.00 respectively. One completely off the radar player is Erik Compton who has been involved at the top of some big leaderboards of late and he could be worth siding with in some of the sub markets. Compton has been practicing here since Monday and is a day further on in prep.
The top 30 in the Fedex Cup standings at the end of play will advance to the Playoff finale in Atlanta.
The course - Cherry Hills CC
This old school style, classic Parkland course stretches 7,352 yards in length to a par of 70, but it's at altitude, meaning in reality it plays a lot shorter. Cherry Hills is all about accuracy from tee to green and plotting your way around. Similar to Memorial, greens are small and surrounded by thick rough and short siding yourself has to be avoided. Approaches should be left under the hole on greens set to run just under 12 feet on the stimp. The tree line and sticky rough awaits those errant from the tee. Water hazards feature throughout and the par 5 island green down the stretch could prove pivotal.
"It flows, but you can get in trouble quickly. You have to know where you're going. I know playing at altitude, guys are going to want to be more aggressive, but the rough is penal if you miss the fairway. So it's going to reward the accurate player." - Former local resident Kevin Stadler
Three from the pack
Martin Kaymer - 41.00 or 8.00 - returned to the spotlight at the Deutsche Bank last week with a T7. A fine win at Sawgrass was quickly followed up by a masterclass in tee to green play by the German at the US Open during the summer. Kaymer is renowned for his distance control with the irons when on top form and Martin ranks 18th in total driving and 25th in the all round. He looks decent value relative to those above him in the market to make it a hat-trick of season wins this week.
Graeme McDowell wasn't originally in the staking plan until I became armed with the excerpts from the pros re the track, and I've concluded that the term "horse for course" couldn't be more fitting. The Irishman ranks 15th in driving accuracy, 33rd in scrambling and tops the charts in strokes gained putting. Gmac took a self imposed absence from the Deutsche Bank last week as a new member was brought into the McDowell household. Regular followers will know I'm a big believer in the nappy factor theory and we will test it out again this week at 41.00 or 8.00 the place
The aforementioned local knowledge angle could be optimised by including Kevin Stadler - 81.00 or 16.00 - in the staking plan. The "Smallrus" is now a resident of Phoenix, Arizona and he showed us what he can do at one of his home tracks when winning his first PGA Tour event at TPC Scottsdale earlier in the year. The big man grew up and went to school close to Cherry Hills in Englewood. He didn't play it often as a teenager but mentioned he returned for a few recent visits in preparation for the BMW Championship. Stadler was also born in Reno Nevada where the Barracuda Championships is held. This is another event famous for playing well above sea level and Stadler has a good record there with a 2nd, 5th and 11th place to his name. If you look at the quotes above, Stadler knows exactly how to play this course and ranking 34th in total driving, 18th in ball striking and 14th in GIR%, he has all the tools needed.
Kevin Streelman - 101.00 or 18.00 - came onto the radar last week in round 3 at the Deutsche Bank where a run of 6 birdies in 7 propelled him towards the top of the leaderboard. Streelman carded 7-in-a-row en route to winning at The Travelers Championship on what seems a not too dissimilar course. Kevin went all the way to Atlanta in 2010 and 2013 so tends to excel at this time of year. Ranking 18th in driving accuracy, the American hit 76% of greens in reg in Boston last week with a fairways hit clip of 75%, averaging out at nearly 300 yards.