The top-70 players on the FedEx Cup rankings head for Conway Farms GC in Illinois this week to contest the BMW Championship where Rory McIlroy defends the title.

After his victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship, Henrik Stenson has taken the lead on the FedEx Cup standings. He’s narrowly ahead of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.

With only 30 players going through to contest the Tour Championship, competition in this event will be intense. Lee Westwood currently sits on the bubble in 30th place with the likes of Rory McIlroy (41st), Graeme McDowell (48th) and Luke Donald (54th) needing good results to move up the standings.

Up until 2007 this event was known as the Western Open and it has a long, distinguished history. The first Western Open was contested in 1899 and was won by Willie Smith. Since then, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nick Price and Tiger Woods have all been champions.

In last year’s event at Crooked Stick, Rory McIlroy took a second straight FedEx Cup playoff event, beating Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood by two strokes.

The tournament, and the PGA Tour, visits a new course for this event. Conway Farms in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest opened for play in 1991 and was designed by renowned course architect Tom Fazio. It has been used as host venue for numerous amateur events.

It’s a windswept layout delivering good variety and a number of risk, reward holes. Luke Donald regards this track as a home course so watch out for him to do well this week. He has pledged $1,000 for every birdie and $2,000 for every eagle he makes in the tournament to the First Tee of Greater Chicago Charity.

Venue: Conway Farms GC, Lake Forest, Illinois
Date: Sep 12-15
Course stats: par 71, 7,149 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy (-20)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 12 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 13 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 15 – Sky Sports 3 from 5pm

Player Watch:
Justin Rose – He was tied second in The Barclays and tied 16th in the Deutsche Bank. He’s enjoyed a stellar season and a victory here would give him a chance of capping it with the FedEx Cup title. This layout should suit his game.

Graham DeLaet – The Canadian has been second and third so far in the FedEx Cup playoff events. He’ll be looking to go one better this time out.

Brian Davis – The Englishman was eighth in the Deutsche Bank to secure his place this week. He’ll be determined to finish well again and make it to the Tour Champs.

Key Hole: 15th. Just 334 yards there are a number of options on this par 4. With a favourable wind, the green is driveable but, with water all down the left side, it’s a risky shot. Three testing pot bunkers also protect the green. The players will feel this is a birdie chance but it could also witness a few disasters.

Where next?
European Tour –
KLM Open preview