The Drama at The BMW Championship
Much of the headlines following last week’s BMW Championship at Conway Farms will go to Jason Day and rightly so. Day, dominated the field this week and continues to be the favorite heading into the Tour Championship at East Lake Country Club. Day’s performance catapulted him into the #1 spot in the FedEx Cup Playoff picture, but the real excitement could be found closer to the #30 spot and cutoff point.
As play started on Thursday morning, the teams of Daniel Berger/Grant Berry, Scott Piercy/Travis Perkins, Kevin Na/Kenny Harms, and Harris English/Brian Smith were all sitting outside the Top 30 and looking at spending this coming week at home.
Berger/Berry Move from 46th to 9th
The biggest move of the week went to Daniel Berger and Grant Berry. Entering last week at 46th, both player and caddie understood a Top 5 finish was their only way to continue playing. Berry described his back 9 on Sunday as one of the most bizarre 9 holes he has ever been a part of. Understanding the importance of a Top 5 finish, there was definitely a lot of pressure to close strong. Their 2nd place finish has positioned the duo in 9th place going into the Tour Championship.
Piercy/Perkins Move from 44th to 20th
The team of Scott Piercy and Travis Perkins made the second largest move up the FexEx Cup standings, beginning the week at 44th and finishing at 20th place. The jump was made possible by shooting a 15 Under Par, 3rd place finish. It was this approach shot and putt on the Par 5 18th during Sunday’s round that vaulted the Piercy/Perkins team into that 3rd place finish.
NA/Harms Move from 34th to 27th
Kevin Na has been a consistent performer all season, and has 4 Top 10 finishes in his last 7 BMW Championships. As of Thursday, the Na/Harms team was sitting in 34th place not really knowing what it would take to jump into the Top 30. We had a chance to sit down with Kenny Harms to discuss Sunday’s round and the mentality this team takes into every tournament. Unlike some player/caddie teams, Harms believes he and Kevin go in with the same mindset every week. Channeling their inner Herm Edwars, “we play to win the tournament,” Harms did not want his player thinking about all the different scenarios needed to advance. Throughout the week, if the topic was approached by family, friends, media, or anyone else, Kenny advised Kevin to immediately change the subject. As Harms stated, “we have no control over anyone else in the field,” so lets not worry about it.
The duo approached the 18th hole on Saturday looking to make par and took the conservative route by laying up. That changed when Kevin’s lay up ended up 20 yards further than expected leaving the team with 73 yards to the hole. Kevin’s 3rd shot ended up going 40 yards leaving him with a difficult 4th. Harms remarked that Kevin hit “an amazing flop shot” to put them 10 feet from par and a spot in the Tour Championship. Without hesitation and showing why he is one of the top caddies on Tour, Harms advice to Kevin, was simple, “You’re one of the best putter out here. Knock it in.”
English/Smith Move from 32nd to 30th
Harris English has finished the BMW Championship in 31st place in 2013 and 32nd place in 2014. So heading into last week’s tournament in 32nd place, he and caddie Brian Smith were in a very familiar spot. Needing to finish strong and play their way into the Tour Championship. Unlike the last two years, the Harris/Smith team finished the day in 30th place, and inked their place in this week’s tournament.
As the two stood on the 18th tee box, Smith said to English, “just finish the week on a high note. Make a birdie and let the chips fall where they fall.” And as any good player will do, Harris did exactly what his caddie asked him to do. Closing out his round with a 19 foot birdie putt. This was obviously a enormous putt for the team, but speaking to Smith, he commended Harris, stating “One great thing about Harris, is there is never any give up… This was a big hurdle to get over.”
Although the tournament as a whole was dominated by Jason Day’s 22 Under Par, it was the drama of these 4 teams that excited the crowds at Conway Farms on Sunday. Next stop is Atlanta and anything can happen.