The penultimate tournament of the 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season is underway just outside Chicago, as 70 players hope to clear one final playoff hurdle at the BMW Championship on the road to the season-ending TOUR Championship.
Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. is hosting this third leg of the four FedExCup Playoff events, marking the third time in five years that the BMW Championship will be contested on its rolling par-71, 7,233-yard layout.
After Round 1, several Titleist players have jockeyed their way onto page one of the leaderboard, including Titleist Brand Ambassador Charley Hoffman (Pro V1), who is just two shots off the lead following an opening 7-under-par 64.
Entering the event in the No.12 position in FedExCup point standings, Hoffman is one of just two players to qualify for every BMW Championship since 2007. That's top-70 in every year of the FedExCup. Charley hinted that he might benefit this week from the unusually dry conditions that favor his accurate ball-striking.
"The course is in perfect shape," Hoffman said. "Conditions are going to be probably pretty firm and fast. I don't remember this golf course being that firm. So, you're going to have to hit the fairways to be able to attack this golf course. It's going to be a great competition."
Another player who go out of the gates quickly at Conway Farms was Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (Pro V1x), who fired a 6-under-par 65 on Thursday. Spieth currently sits tied for 5th with four other players, including Titleist golf ball loyalist Rickie Fowler (Pro V1) and fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Rafa Cabrera Bello (Pro V1x).
Spieth comes into the BMW Championship in the FedExCup pole position, just 27 points in the satndings ahead of his good friend and fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x), who won the last playoff event, the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston. Spieth finished second in Boston (his second consecutive runner-up finish in this year's playoffs) and he has a plan for holding on to that No. 1 spot.
"I'm in a great position," Spieth said, "looking to obviously stay in the No. 1 spot. That's my best chance to win the FedExCup starting in Atlanta. I've been through this process before which is nice. We've got a routine we like to go through and know how to kind of conserve energy."
"There's been times I've shot 81 at East Lake and I probably shot 65 at East Lake. I was certainly tired out by the time I reached there in '14 and '16. So, it's a matter of conserving as much energy as possible, limit the reps on the range and really focus on the short game. And next week, approach it like a Major."
Critical playoff points are on the line this week and players will have to be on point with every shot in order to secure a spot in next week's season finale.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist in Chicago!
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TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
This week at the BMW Championship, Titleist is once again the golf ball of choice, with 63% of players in the limited field of 70 trusting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, four times the nearest competitor with 16% and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist was also the top choice among players in the hybrids category (10) as well as the irons category with 18 sets in play. Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (90) category and Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice among players with 28 putters in play.
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- The top-70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Dell Technologies Championship have
advanced to the BMW Championship. The top-30 players following the BMW Championship will qualify for the TOUR Championship. Prior to the TOUR Championship, a points reset will take place, giving all players in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup title. The top-five players control their own destiny and would claim the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake.
- In addition to hosting its third BMW Championship this week, Conway Farms GC has served as the host site of the 1997 NCAA Division I Championship, the 1998 U.S Junior Amateur, the 2009 Western Amateur and the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
- Dating back to the 2014 Dell Technologies Championship, 11 of the last 13 winners in the FedExCup Playoffs have been under the age of 30, and the last three FedExCup champions, including Titleist Pro V1x golf ball loyalist Billy Horschel (2014) and Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (2015) are in their 20s. These trends coincide with the overall youth movement on the PGA TOUR – this season, 19 different players have captured 27 of the 45 PGA TOUR events.
- Twelve rookies finished the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season ranked within the top 125 in FedExCup points and earned their first start at The Northern Trust. Of that group, six have advanced to this week’s BMW Championship and are still alive in the FedExCup Playoffs, including Titleist Pro V1 golf ball loyalist Mackenzie Hughes (No. 31) and Titleist Brand Ambassador Patrick Cantlay (No.41).
- Five players, including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Titleist golf ball loyalist Paul Casey (Pro V1) have recorded top-10 finishes in the first two FedExCup Playoffs events this season. Only four players have finished inside the top 10 in all four FedExCup Playoffs events in a single season including Titleist golf ball loyalists Rory Sabbatini in 2007 and Padraig Harrington in 2009 as well as Titleist Brand Ambassadors Adam Scott in 2016.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
- With runner-up finishes in his the first two FedExCup Playoffs events of the season, Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (Pro V1x) enters the BMW Championship ranked first in the standings. The 11-time PGA TOUR winner reclaimed the No. 1 position in the FedExCup standings two weeks ago at TPC Boston. He is seeking to become only the second multiple winner of the FedExCup. His FedExCup finishes: 2013 (7), 2014 (15), 2015 (1), 2016 (9), 2017 (currently 1st).
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x), currently No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, claimed his sixth PGA TOUR victory (including a TOUR-best five this season) at the Dell Technologies Championship. By doing so, he became the fourth player since 1960 to capture five wins, including a major, in a season before the age of 25. Here’s a look at Thomas’ year-by-year FedExCup finishes: 2015 (No. 32), 2016 (No. 12).
- Titleist golf ball loyalist Rickie Fowler (Pro V1) recorded nine top-10 finishes in 17 starts in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, tied for most top-10s for the season with Justin Thomas heading into the FedExCup Playoffs. Fowler won The Honda Classic for his fourth PGA TOUR title and enters this week at No. 6 in FedExCup points standings. He's made 25 playoff starts and is looking to advance to the Tour Championship for the fourth time in his career after competing at Eastlake in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
- The T4 finish by Titleist golf ball loyalist Paul Casey (Pro V1) at the Dell Technologies Championship marked his ninth top-10 result in his 17th FedExCup Playoffs event and his sixth in his last seven Playoffs starts (T4/2017 Dell Technologies Championship, 5th/2017 Northern Trust, 4th/2016 TOUR Championship, 2nd/2016 BMW Championship, 2nd/2016 Dell Technologies Championship, T31/2016 Northern Trust, T5/2015 TOUR Championship). Casey had back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Playoffs last season (Dell Technologies Championship, BMW Championship) on his way to a career-best fifth-place showing in the FedExCup. He is currently ranked No. 8.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Charley Hoffman (Pro V1) climbed to No. 9 in the FedExCup points standings following his T17 finish at The Northern Trust. He closed with a 5-under-par 65 at the event. Hoffman posted seven top-ten finishes in 2017, including a runner-up finish at the RBC Canadian open, a T2 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a 3rd place showing at the WGC Championship at Firestone. Hoffman's best finish in Boston came in 2010, when he carded a career-low 62, including 11 birdies, en route to a five-stroke win at this event, then named the Deutsche Bank Championship.
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Welcome to the BMW Championship…
…and Lake Forest’s Conway Farms Golf Club, host course for this final playoff event before the TOUR Championship.
Check out this cool video from CDW as they visit with Titleist’s Chis Tuten on board the Titleist Tour Van.
The #1 gift in golf, even for Tour players.
And Jordan Spieth made sure to pay the gift forward!
Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x) is firing on all cylinders as he looks to capture his sixth win this season.
Shortly after this year's PGA Championship, PGATour.com’s Jonathan Wall sat down with Justin to talk about the 14 Titleist clubs that he has relied on this season.
Congratulations to Titleist Brand Ambassador Charley Hoffman, who was one of two players selected as a President’s Cup Captain’s pick by U.S. Captain and fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Steve Stricker!
Earlier this week, Team Titleist spent some time with a number of Titleist Brand Ambassadors and golf ball loyalists during a film shoot in Chicago:
Titleist golf ball loyalist Henrik Stenson (Pro V1) shared this image from behind the scenes.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Bud Cauley (Pro V1x) has come a long way since he played at Conway Farms GC in the Western Amateur. Bud is currently No. 68 in the FedExCup points standings and is looking for a high finish to vault him into the TOUR Championship.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist this weekend!