PGA Hot Picks for The 2021 Wyndham Championship

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Most of the PGA’s finest golfers were in action for the World Golf Classic FedEx-St. Jude last week in Memphis, Tennessee. It was a wild back nine in which 63-hole leaders Harris English and Bryson DeChambeau combined to go 11-over down the stretch to cost both a shot at victory. Abrham Ancer eventually edged out Hideki Matsuyama and Sam Burns in two playoff holes to secure his first PGA Tour victory. The PGA Tour also had a first-time winner at the Barracuda Championship with Erik Van Rooyen winning the only points-based event the Tour has on its schedule.

Now the attention shifts to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club, the Tour’s final event before the playoffs begin with The Northern Trust in two weeks. This is the final opportunity for many golfers in the field to qualify for the playoffs by getting inside the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings, or for others to solidify their current positions.

Course Breakdown and Weather

Sedgefield Country Club has hosted the Wyndham Championship every year since 2008. It measures out to roughly 7,100 yards as a par-70. The Donald Ross design does not feature many par-five holes, but that has not stopped the winner from eclipsing 20-under more often than not. The course places a premium on accuracy off the tee as well as consistent iron play, with driving distance playing a minimal factor.

Webb Simpson has a couple of runner-up finishes to go along with his 2011 win, with Henrik Stenson, Brandt Snedeker and Si Woo Kim also collecting wins here in recent seasons. The golfers to target are those who are not known as great putters, but can get hot from time to time and make their fair share of birdies. The forecast calls for perfect weather up until the weekend, when scattered thunderstorms are expected to come into play.  Wind is not expected to play a factor at all this week, which should lead to yet another birdie-fest at Sedgefield Country Club.

The Favorites

The favorite this week is Simpson (+1200), who just so happened to win his title sponsor’s event back in 2011. He loves the event so much that he named one of his four daughters Wyndham. Simpson has found success at Donald Ross-designed golf courses throughout his career, but his recent form does not suggest that he can win this tournament, with his last top-10 finish coming at the beginning of April.

Hideki Matsuyama (+1400) bounced back from a disappointing final round at the Olympics by shooting a final round 63 to earn his spot in the playoff on Sunday at the FedEx St. Jude. However, that marked his first top 20 in a PGA Tour event since his win at Augusta and at 14-1, it is not smart to back him for another solid showing again this week — considering his focus is on the playoffs in the near future.

Louis Oosthuizen (+1800) is next on the odds board and probably will play solid golf again. But with zero career PGA Tour wins in the United States and a track record of coming close but faling to finish the deal to win in the U.S., there is no reason to believe this is finally the week that he gets it done.

Patrick Reed (+2200), Brian Harman (+2800), and Jason Kokrak (+3300) are interesting candidates for bets this week, but with a weaker playing field this week, the most value is on obscure names. Russell Henley (+3300) is the first golfer and only one under 50-1 that is worth a bet. Henley ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in strokes gained on approach in the 2021 season, which has proven to be a valuable metric here in past seasons. He had three straight top-20 finishes prior to The Open Championship when he missed the cut, but with a tie for 13th at the U.S. Open, he is playing with plenty of confidence. Henley has three career wins on the PGA Tour, so he will not be fazed if he finds himself in contention coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon.

Bovada Pick
Russell Henley

Best Value Plays

Past champions Brandt Snedeker (+4000) and Si Woo Kim (+4000) headline the middle tier of the odds board for this event, but digging out the best bet requires a deeper dive. Former Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel (+5000), who took the green jacket at Augusta in 2011, is worth a look in this range to collect his third career PGA Tour win and first since the 2016 Valspar Championship. The South African who also has 11 European Tour victories to his credit has had a career resurgence in 2021, ranking 45th in the FedEx Cup standings after a runner-up finish at the 3M Open in July.

The 36-year-old has had success here in the past, finishing third in 2015. The biggest weakness of his game throughout his career has been his putting. But he is slightly above PGA Tour average on fast Bermuda grass greens in his career and that is exactly what he’ll be rolling his putts on this week at Sedgefield. Defending champion Jim Herman found a career-reviving victory here last year and it is set up perfectly for Schwartzel to do the same.

Another golfer at 50-1 worth a bet this week is Jhonattan Vegas (+5000), who is playing his best golf of 2021. Vegas owns four top-20 finishes in his last five starts over the past couple months. He finished tied for 16th at the Olympics and sat out last week, so he should be rested and ready to compete this week. He has three runner-up finishes this season and has been known to succeed at tournaments that require birdies to be poured in at a higher rate than normal.

He is a notoriously bad putter, but if he can get hot for a couple of days this week, he will go low and climb his way up the leaderboard. He owns three PGA Tour victories and has been knocking at the door of win No. 4 all season. At 50-1, Vegas is worth a bet to get the job done this week.

Bovada Pick
Charl Schwartzel
Jhonattan Vegas

The Longshots

This is a great event to look for value in the longshot department and it kicks off with Branden Grace (+8000). Grace is in the midst of one of the best seasons in his career, with a win at the Puerto Rico Open to go along with top-10 finishes at The Memorial and the U.S. Open. The 33-year-old has the game that seems to produce winners here, being a short hitter that tends to struggle with the putter. He has gotten hot with the flat stick at a few events this season and was even able to take down a weaker field for his PR Open win.

He won at Harbour Town back in 2016 at the RBC Heritage, which measures out as a similar comparison for Sedgefield Country Club, being that it also is a short course with smaller greens. At 80-1, Grace has too much win equity to pass up on his potential to find his second victory of the season.

The next golfer worth a bet this week is Adam Schenk (+1000). Schenk owns just two top-10 finishes this season, but both were fourth-place efforts within the past month, offering evidence that he has figured something out in his game. He has been atrocious around the green throughout his young career, but when he finds a way to gain strokes around the green or with his putter, he has shown that he can post low scores. Schenk has made nine of his last 10 cuts and is playing with more confidence than he ever has in his career, which makes him the perfect 100-1 longshot to take this week.

Bovada Pick
Branden Grace
Adam Schenk

Top-10 Play of the Week

The top-10 play of the week is Bo Hoag (+10000). Hoag sits at 124th in the FedEx Cup standings, which means with a solid showing this week, he qualifies for the FedEx playoffs. If he finds himself in contention late on Sunday afternoon that will surely be on his mind.

Please Note:
His position in the standings will hinder his value on pulling out the win, but potentially conservative play inside the top 10 on Sunday could lead to a solid finish while others are fading down the leaderboard.

He has made five cuts in a row, including top-20 finishes in two of his last three starts. He hits fairways in abundance with little driving distance, but has been stellar with his approach game all season and that could provide him with plenty of scoring chances this week. At 9-1 odds, there is no reason not to give him a look for a top-10 finish.

The Betonline Pick
Bo Hoag

Matchup Play of the Week

The matchup play of the week is Talor Gooch (-127) over Erik Van Rooyen. Gooch has made seven consecutive cuts and has the perfect golf game for Sedgefield. He does not do much damage with his driver, but he ranks 38th on the Tour in strokes gained on approach and strokes gained around the green. Those are skills that could pair with a hot putter to secure a top-20 finish.

Meanwhile, Van Rooyen became the sixth consecutive first-time Tour winner to take home the Barracuda Championship last weekend. And while that is a sign of playing great golf, there is reason to believe he could be on a first-win hangover this week. The South African has missed the cut in six of his last nine starts and is not exactly the model of consistency.

He jumped up to 74th in the FedEx Cup standings and no longer needs a strong performance this week to make the playoffs, which could take away from his focus a tad. Not to mention, Van Rooyen ranks 36th on the PGA Tour in driving distance and that will be neutralized by the course this week. The best bet is for Gooch to continue playing his brand of consistent golf while Van Rooyen struggles to find the fairway and misses the weekend altogether.

The Betonline Pick
Talor Gooch over Erik Van Rooyen

One Golfer to Avoid

Will Zalatoris (+2500) is going to be one of the most popular public plays this week considering he needs to win to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

That added pressure is exactly why he is a golfer that needs to be avoided. He has the approach game that will make plenty of bettors blindly back him here, but he will be looking to take every risky chance possible to get him the win this week and pressing does not suit his style of play.

Zalatoris has a bright future on the PGA Tour with multiple wins likely in his future, but he should be avoided this week as too much is on the line for him.

The Golfer to Avoid:
Will Zalatoris

*Odds courtesy of Betonline and Bovada.

Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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