(Reuters) – Dustin Johnson takes red-hot form into the penultimate event of the PGA Tour season at this week’s BMW Championship outside Chicago where Tiger Woods needs a solid showing to reach the Tour Championship.
Johnson, fresh off an 11-shot victory in the FedExCup Playoffs opener, leads the season-long standings and will now play at Olympia Fields Country Club where the 30-player field for the Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship will be determined.
“Still working on exactly the same things as I was doing last week, just making sure everything is staying consistent, got the same feels,” said twice BMW Championship winner Johnson.
“The ball is just starting on my lines and I’m hitting the same shots. That’s what I’ve been working on this week is just kind of going through the same routines I did last week just to keep the swing in check.”
While Johnson is in solid position, there is still plenty at stake this week as the player who leads the standings going into the final event, where a $15 million prize is awarded to the FedExCup champion, begins at 10-under par with scores increasing through the 30th player.
Defending BMW Championship winner Justin Thomas, who is second in the standings, knows what challenge awaits.
“In terms of strategy, there’s really — I mean, this sounds bad, but there’s really not much strategy other than you just need to hit the fairway,” said Thomas. “You need to figure out what puts the ball there.”
Twice FedExCup champion Woods is coming off a share of 58th place last week and likely needs a fourth-place finish or better to advance to the Tour Championship.
Woods expects a course set up more like a U.S. Open than a regular PGA Tour event where pars will be at a premium.
“I have to get the ball in play here and put the ball in the right spots,” said Woods.
“This golf course is set up more towards an Open than it is anything else, and with the weather supposed to be as hot as it is today and tomorrow and probably Friday, this rough is only going to get more difficult.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)