This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Bellerive Country Club (7,317 yards, par 70)
$1,890,000 and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Setting the Stage
TOWN AND COUNTRY, MISSOURI – In the suburbs just southwest of St. Louis resides a true classic. The club's roots date back to 1897 where the "Field Club" was established as a place for golf and leisure activities for St. Louis sportsmen, but Bellerive's current site as we know it was established in 1959 and designed by Robert Trent Jones. Since then the venue has hosted the 1965 U.S. Open and 1992 PGA Championship, and it will host its third major this week. Those aren't the only professional events Bellerive has hosted, though. Most recently on the PGA Tour it held the 2008 BMW Championship, and it also dabbled on the Champions Tour with the 2004 U.S. Senior Open and 2013 Senior PGA Championship. The course itself is long, narrow, and built around a large creek that comes into play on 11 holes. In 2005-06 Bellerive received a $9.5M renovation from Rees Jones, which saw many strategic changes. Still, the notably large and undulating greens with deep bunkering continue to be the course's defining features. In some ways, the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive stands as the final edition of "Glory's Last Shot," as this event will no longer be the last major of the season given its move to May in 2019.
2017 – Justin Thomas
2016 – Jimmy Walker
2015 – Jason Day
2014 – Rory McIlroy
2013 – Jason Dufner
2012 – Rory McIlroy
2011 – Keegan Bradley
2010 – Martin Kaymer
2009 – Y.E. Yang
2008 – Padraig Harrington
Key Stats to Victory
• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Par-4 Scoring Average
• Bogey Avoidance
Position Yourself to Succeed
Though the greens are large at Bellerive, many holes virtually require players to hit the fairway to have any chance at holding the green on the approach. Bellerive is not a forgiving course, and increasing the challenge more are many strategically-placed fairway bunkers that create an illusion of further narrowness. With 12 par-4 holes – six of them over 450 yards – players will be holding on for dear life and taking a grinding mentality to avoid the lethal big numbers. What it amounts to is this: to be successful at Bellerive, players will need to hit the fairway on certain holes, whereas other holes will require length off the tee to create a reasonable scoring opportunity. Straight hitters who are also long will have the distinct advantage of attacking some pins that are inaccessible to others. It's nearly impossible to grind the entire week without folding at some point, which leads us to believe great ball strikers who position themselves well most of the week will have the best chance to triumph.
Yahoo Value Picks
Best of the Best
Dustin Johnson, $50 – Johnson is tearing it up lately with a win two weeks ago and a top-3 at Firestone last week. If he can get off to a good start and put himself in position on the weekend, major No. 2 might be in his future. His lethal combination of distance and accuracy should give him a big advantage most of the week.
Justin Thomas, $46 – An impressive four-shot victory last week put Thomas into the conversation for back-to-back Player of the Year honors. Now with three wins this year, Thomas will defend his title at the PGA Championship this week with all the needed tools to win at Bellerive.
Tommy Fleetwood, $42 – The "Fairway Jesus" produced top-20s in the first three majors this season, including a runner-up at the U.S. Open after tying the single-round scoring record. Fleetwood struggled over the weekend last week with 74-71 to finish, but his innate ball striking will fit will with the demanding Bellerive Country Club. If his putter remains true he is a good bet for fourth straight major top-20.
Louis Oosthuizen, $28 – The South African has posted five-straight top-30s at the PGA Championship dating back to 2012, so it's clear his great driving ability is favored at this championship. Oosthuizen tied for runner-up honors at Quail Hollow last season, so he will be hungry to get into the major mix again and try to collect his second major title.
Kevin Chappell, $25 – Chappell recently impressed with a sixth-place effort at the Open Championship, proving yet again his ball striking is world class. Though his putting is suspect at times, his ability to hit fairways and greens with regularity will keep him out of trouble more often than others at Bellerive. There aren't many ball strikers better than him in the $25 price range.
Kyle Stanley, $24 – A solo second at Firestone last week proved he can play with the best in the world, but his major championship record contradicts this. I'm inclined to side with his recent form over his historical results, especially given the tee-to-green challenge Bellerive represents. The last 24 months Stanley has been top-20 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green which should bode well for him if he can make a few key putts.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week (based on $200 standard salary cap)
The season's final major is arguably the strongest field of the year with 110 of the top 112 in the world rankings teeing it up, making it incredibly hard to win, even for the elite talents. As such, take a mix of favorites and long shots, but avoid the 20 club professionals in the field this week. Club professionals are a major step below the Tour regulars in ability.