If you want to win the BMW Championship on Sunday, there’s one thing you’ll have to do: Go low. In its debut as a PGA Tour venue, Caves Valley Golf Club has proven little match against the PGA Tour’s elite, the 7,542-yard, par-72 layout yielding a stroke average of 69.454 for 54 holes. That’s not an indictment necessarily on the Tom Fazio design; tour pros usually have their way with any course that’s playing as soft as Caves is thanks to the hot, humid conditions in the Baltimore area this week. But it will take a score in the 60s—and probably the low to mid-60s—to walk off with the title.
Since really red numbers are out there, the three-shot edge Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay share at 21 under on Sungjae Im, and the four-shot margin on Abe Ancer, Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns and Sergio Garcia, doesn’t feel quite so large. Any minor stumble at the start of the round from either of the leaders will give hope to the chasers and make for an even more dramatic Sunday.
There’s also everybody’s favorite crazy summer statistic lurking: It’s been 13 weeks and counting since a 54-hole leader has closed out a victory on tour, Phil Mickelson being the last to do it at the PGA Championship in May. And just 15 of 45 stroke-play events during the 2020-21 season have been won by somebody who led after three rounds (33 percent) compared to 19 of 35 (54 percent) in the 2019-20 season. For the record, DeChambeau has won three of the four times he has led entering the final round in his career, so potentially he’s the guy to break the streak. Cantlay, meanwhile, is 0-for-1 when he’s held a 54-hole lead.
Incidentally, should either DeChambeau or Cantlay win, they’d be the first player on tour to have three victories this season and would hold the No. 1 spot in the FedEx Cup standings entering the Tour Championship—an important distinction given the staggered start for players next week at East Lake. And so long as DeChambeau doesn’t completely implode on Sunday (not out of the realm of possibility given his shaky finishes at the U.S. Open and WGC-FedEx St. Jude), he will become the 64th player in PGA Tour history to crack $25 million in career earnings, as he is $27K shy of that mark entering the week.
OK, speaking of money, the overall prize money payout at the BMW is $9.5 million with the winner grabbing another $1.71 million. Here’s the prize money payout for each golfer competing. Check back after the end of the tournament and we’ll update the list with individual names and how much they earned.