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Get the best golf betting tips from Sam Harrop of Golf Punters Guide, who will post his PGA tour picks on Tuesday or Wednesday every week of the US season.

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14:00 Thursday 4th September

The third event of the FedEx Cup playoffs gets underway on Thursday and the top-70 in the FedEx Cup standings (minus Dustin Johnson, of course) make the trip to Denver, Colorado for the BMW Championship.

The host course is Cherry Hills Country Club – a course we know little about with the most recent significant event hosted here being the 1985 PGA Championship. William Flynn is the course designer, however, so we can look at other courses to which he is credited including the East Course at Merion (host of last year’s US Open) and Westchester Country Club (which hosted The Barclays up until 2007).

The course is a 7,352 Par 70 layout which may sound lengthy – but we should take into account an altitude of over 5,000 feet which makes the course a more ‘average’ yardage in real terms. Steven Fox won the 2012 US Amateur Championship here at Cherry Hills, and he tells me on Twitter that "the rough is nasty and greens are firm and fast! Fairways are key" which confirms my suspicions that accuracy is more important than distance here.

Having turned in a supreme display to win the recent Barclays event, Hunter Mahan was never likely to be far from my thoughts this week, and I’m unperturbed by his mediocre showing in Boston last week as a hangover from victory is incredibly common in golf. Provided he can shake of the hangover this week, Mahan ticks all the right boxes for Cherry Hills. First and foremost, he is one of the best drivers of the ball on the PGA tour, currently ranking 3rd in Driving Accuracy, secondly he’s comfortable on Poa Annua greens as proven by his win at Ridgewood Country Club, and lastly he played very well at the aforementioned Merion in last year’s US Open where he finished in a tie for 4th.

Having scraped into the top-100 to progress to last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, Geoff Ogilvy certainly made the most of this with an excellent showing at TPC Boston where he eventually finished in a tie for 2nd. Ogilvy may not be straight as an arrow off the tee, but he’s not wild either, and encouragingly, he’s one of the best at getting the ball near the hole when he does find himself in the long stuff – ranking 8th on tour in Rough Proximity. Ogilvy has previous form at Westchester Country Club - another William Flynn design – where he tied for 4th in the 2007 Barclays tournament. Furthermore, Ogilvy is comfortable playing at high altitude having won the Barracuda Championship in Reno just a few weeks ago.

My research of William Flynn courses has revealed two veritable experts on such designs – one is Phil Mickelson who won the US Amateur here at Cherry Hills in 1990 (but whose game looks worryingly out of sorts) and the other is Ernie Els who has been playing some solid golf over the last few weeks. Indeed, having failed to notch a single strokeplay top-10 until August, the veteran has two to his name in his last four starts – a tie for 7th in the PGA Championship and a tie for 5th at The Barclays (on similar Poa Annua greens to that of Cherry Hills). Els may not have played his best golf last week at TPC Boston, but recent top-5s at both Merion and Westchester suggest that Cherry Hills should be right up his street.

Local knowledge is never a bad thing, and Kevin Stadler is one of very few players in the field who will have played a decent number of rounds at Cherry Hills ahead of this week’s event. The 34-year-old is a resident of Denver and admits to having played several practice rounds here on his weeks off from competitive golf. Being accustomed to playing at altitude is just as valuable as knowledge of Cherry Hills itself in my mind, and there were positive signs last week that a big week could be round the corner for Stadler as he ranked joint 1st in GIR at TPC Boston.

Sam Harrop
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