We’ve made it through the four majors and there’s now five tournaments left on the official schedule for the 2017 season. The Wyndham Championship is the last “regular season” event before the playoffs start, and for many of the players in the field this means that a big week will be needed if they are going to be playing in next week’s event. The tournament will be played at Sedgefield CC in North Carolina, and as of now the weather is looking very similar to last week in that there is a threat of some rain every day, but it’s not assured we’ll get a ton. The course itself is 7,000-7,100 yard setup which plays as a par 70 and generally gives up a lot birdies through the week. Si Woo Kim won here with a score of 21 under par last year and nearly shot a 59 one of the days en route to victory.
Course Setup: Sedgefield is definitely a venue which places more emphasis on accuracy. The course was reno’d back in 2008 and the greens were replaced with Bermuda before 2012, so that is something to take into consideration when looking at course history. The course has 12-par 4’s and eight of them fall in the 400-450 yard range. The two par 5’s are very easy, and need to be taken advantage of, but the finishing two holes (nearly 500 yard par 4’s) are generally two of the hardest on the course. With some rain in the forecast we could see a soft and very score-able course, similar to last season when Si Woo Kim cruised to 21 under par for his win. Emphasizing good Bermuda putters, decent off the tee accuracy and good par 4 scoring in your research seems like the way to go.
Webb Simpson ($10,000): Simpson barely gets the nod here for me over the top salaried players on DraftKings. I don’t necessarily love Stenson on a course he rarely plays or has never done well at and Kisner is coming off a long week. Webb has played sneakily well of late, posting eight straight made cuts and a top ten at another shorter par 70 (TPC River Highlands) around eight weeks ago. While playing at Quail is somewhat of a home game for Webb, this event will always be special as it’s the place of his first PGA win. He ranks 40th in Driving Accuracy and 8th in par 4 scoring which sets him up well for a venue he’s dominated at over his career. I don’t mind paying up here.
Ryan Moore ($9,600): Moore posted an under the radar T13 last week, off the back of another decent T28 the week prior. He ranked second in accuracy off the Tee at Quail and also seventh in tee to green stats as well. Only a balky putter held him back from possibly getting in the mix at Quail, which is a very good sign for his chances at this week’s event. Moore won this event back in 2009 before they changed the greens to Bermuda, but has putted well on many surfaces throughout his career and was T10 here back in 2015. Now that he’s found some form, Moore is good value at under 10k this week.
Bud Cauley ($9,200): Cauley hasn’t played much of late, but a T33 last week at the year’s final major certainly isn’t a bad way to shake off some rust. In four appearances at Sedgefield, Cauley has certainly shown upside with a T10 from last season and a T3 on his fist appearances in 2012. Cauley’s approach game is still up there with the best on the season and if he stays out of the rough off the tee, he should give himself plenty of birdie chances this week and a shot at taking home his first win on tour.
Others: Ben Martin
Emiliano Grillo ($7,500): A disappointing season thus far for sure, but Grillo’s stats do speak to this being a place where he could show up with a big week. He’s still top 50 in SG: Off the Tee and in Driving Accuracy. While he’s been no better than T43 in his last five starts, Grillo’s tee to green stats have not been bad, and in a weaker field he should be able to take fuller advantage of that fact this week. At any rate, Grillo should be motivated to put a slow year behind him here with a big finish and should also be motivated by seeing a peer win his first major last week. Too much talent in a field like this to pass up.
Blayne Barber ($7,400): Barber is a nice blend of recent form and course fit this week. Not the longest hitter, Barber is still at least fairly accurate off the tee and also has some surprisingly good birdie or better numbers on the season, including ranking 27th in BoB on par 4’s. What should set him apart this week however is the putter as he ranks 11th in SG: Putting on the season and is statistically, much better on Bermuda grass (check out @FGMetrics putting analyser here). Barber played great here last season finishing in T14 and is coming in off three decent starts . He’s worth the price on DraftKings this week.
Rory Sabbatini ($7,200): Sabbatini comes into the week after posting four top 25 finishes in his last five starts. The 41 year-old hasn’t been heard from much in the last couple of seasons but has been playing inspired golf of late and is making a late season push to keep his tour card. He’s currently top 50 on the season in Driving Accuracy, Birdie or Better percentage and par 4 BoB % too, making him a nice statistical fit. On his last visit to Sedgefield in 2013, Rory shot three rounds of 67 or better and went on to finish T8. If he keeps up his recent form, don’t be shocked if he’s in the hunt on the weekend.
Others: Ben Crane
High-upside GPP Picks
Shane Lowry ($8,400): Lowry has not had an ideal season by any stretch of the imagination, but the Irishman still has a few chances left to salvage his year. He did make the cut last season here, his only appearance at this event, and at 36th on the season in Driving Accuracy, Lowry should fit fairly well at Sedgefield, at least off the tee. Iron play and a poor short game have given him issues of late, but his putter worked well last week and if that carries over, he’s got the talent and drive to post a big finish in this weaker field.
Sam Saunders ($8,100): Saunders has been trending nicely of late, with three top 25 finishes in his last four starts. “Arnie’s grandson”, is now 49th on tour in Driving Accuracy and 28th in Birdie or Better percentage, making him a nice fit for the venue on paper. Saunders has played well at Sedgefield the past two seasons too though, posting three rounds of 67 or better in that span, and was T14 here back in 2015. At a tournament where many first timers have clocked their first win, Saunders is certainly trending like a player who could do the same this week.
Kevin Na ($7,500): Na hasn’t been very consistent of late, and that will hopefully keep his ownership levels down. He was T10 at this venue however last season and spoke of how the course was a good fit for his game. While inaccuracy off the tee is always a concern, Na has putted much better on Bermuda over his career and should be motivated to turn his end of season slump around with a big week here. We don’t usually see him at a price like this in a field this week so the savings are definitely worth the risk.
Other: Anirban Lahiri, Matt Every
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson, Bud Cauley, Ben Martin, Blayne Barber, Sam Saunders, Emiliano Grillo
– Rory Sabbatini, Ben Crane, Kevin Na, Shane Lowry, Matt Every, Anirban Lahiri
Bud Cauley 45-1
Emiliano Grillo 67-1 EW
Sam Saunders 80-1 EW
Anirban Lahiri 100-1 EW
Blayne Barber 125-1 EW
Rory Sabbatini 150-1 (now 100-1) EW