This is the final full-field event before the PGA TOUR playoffs officially start. The field is scheduled to include 150+ starters and many of them will be anxious to improve their standing in the current FedEx Cup ranks. For reference, the top 125 in the FedEx Cup race will gain admittance to next week’s tournament (The Northern Trust) and also automatically get full PGA TOUR status for next season. After that, players will only receive conditional status and/or be relegated to the Korn Ferry playoffs for the rest of the season.
It’s a huge week for players on the bubble with names like Rickie Fowler (133), Doc Redman (141) and Webb Simpson (126) all currently on the outside of the top 125. Players like John Huh (120) and Tyler Duncan (122) have moved themselves up of late but will need good weeks to secure a spot for next year. There are three players from the top 25 of the OWGR in the field this week: Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris and Shane Lowry. They've all chosen to get in the extra start before the playoffs and will play four weeks in a row if they make it to East Lake.
Sedgefield Country Club—Greensboro, North Carolina
Par 70, 7127 yards; Greens: Champion Bermuda
Sedgefield Country Club is a Donald Ross-designed course that’s hidden inside the suburbs of Greensboro, North Carolina and has been the host of this event since 2007. Sedgefield isn’t long at around 7100 or so yards, and in past years it’s yielded some low scores—including recently in 2018 when the winner (Brandt Snedeker) shot 59 in round one. The greens are Bermuda (since 2012) and they can be slightly tricky, but it should be noted that as they have matured, scores here have gotten lower. Of the last six winners, five have reached 21-under-par or better at this event. This is important to note as players with affinities for Bermuda grass tend to have a big advantage as the green complexes always yield some monster putting weeks.
The course itself is a nice mix of semi-challenging holes and some extremely moderate-to-easy ones. As a traditional par 70, there are two very reachable and very birdie-able par 5s on this track and any player hoping to be in the mix will have to play these two well under-par for the week. The last five winners all played these holes with scoring averages of 4.13 or better.
Eight of the 12 par 4s on the course measure in at under 450 yards in length and can be had for birdies by players going well with their irons. Sedgefield will be less about pure length or power, and more about getting the ball in the correct position in the fairways, as past winners have almost always found themselves in the top 20 in fairways hit for the week and in approaches. As for how important iron play is at Sedgefield, four of the participants from last year's six-man playoff gained over 5.0 strokes for the week on approach, but none of the last three winners at Sedgefield have gained over 2.0 strokes around the greens. Approach and putting is pretty much all that matters this week for the pros.
Finally, if you’re looking for course comparisons, another Ross-designed course on the PGA TOUR at the moment is Detroit Golf Club, host of the recent Rocket Mortgage Classic from last week. Other comparable venues with tighter fairways and Bermuda greens include Harbour Town Golf Links, Waialae Country Club and TPC Sawgrass. Leaderboards at those courses are at a decent starting point to see who might handle this week’s layout the best.
2021 Outlook: Last season the weather did cause scores to be much higher than normal at this event with the winner reaching just 15-under par. 2022 looks like it will revert back to better scoring conditions. The wind looks to hold steady around 7-9 mph for most of the week with minimal gusts. There's also the potential for some rain to fall in the evenings which would only soften up the course. If the gusts do indeed stay down and the greens don't firm up due to the rain, it's likely we'll see 21-under par or better again from the winner. As of now, wave stacking isn't likely to give us a huge split either way, and don't be shocked if someone threatens a 59 this week.
Last 5 winners
2021—Kevin Kisner -15 (six man playoff Kim, Scott, Na, Sloan, Grace)
2020—Jim Herman -21 (over Billy Horschel -20)
2019—JT Poston -22 (over Webb Simpson -21)
2018—Brandt Snedeker -21 (over Webb Simpson -18)
2017—Henrik Stenson -22 (over Ollie Schniederjans -21)
Seven of the last 11 winners of this event recorded a T12 or better at Sedgefield CC before their respective victory here.
Of the last 11 winners of this event, only two have finished outside the top 15 in Driving Accuracy on the week (Reed 2013 and Snedeker 2018).
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Jim Herman (2021—15-under-par)
Lead in form (T77-MC-MC-T33-MC)
Eight of the Par 4s measure in between (or very close) to 400-450 yards in length. With more shorter holes, the approach shot distribution tends to fall far more in the 150-175 yard range and 125-150 yard range.
Driving accuracy tends to be higher than normal with the field hitting over 65% of the fairways in 2019; four of the last five winners here have ranked top 10 in driving accuracy for the week.
- JT Poston led the field in SG: APP stats in the 2019 Wyndham Championship and was second in driving accuracy as well.
- Of the six men from the playoff in 2021, three of them gained over 5.0 strokes on approach for the week.
- None of the last three winners of this event gained over 1.5 strokes around the green, but they all gained well over 3.0 strokes putting and on approach.
- Staying consistent off the tee is important, but the need to hit a lot of greens and hit your irons close — and then have a great week with the putter — is paramount to success.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
- Kevin Kisner +4000 and $8,700
- Taylor Pendrith +4000 and $8,500
- Joohyung Kim +4000 and $8,600
- Davis Riley +5000 and $8,000
- Scott Stallings +7000 and $7,800
- Mark Hubbard +7000 and $7,900
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Webb Simpson (best finishes: win-2011, T2-2018, 2nd-2019) — On top of being the winner from 2011, Webb hasn’t missed the cut at Sedgefield in his last 11 starts and has finished T7, T3, 3rd, T2 and 2nd in the past five seasons. He quite literally named his daughter after this event (it’s true, her name is Wyndham Rose) and leads the field in SG: Total at this event over the last five years by a country mile. He gets lead horse privileges this week.
2. Bill Horschel (best finishes: 2nd-2020) — Horschel was deep in contention in 2020 at this event before getting piledrove by a hot fire Jim Herman on Sunday. He took last year off but returns this season and has finished T2 and T6 at this event in his last two appearances.
3. Si Woo Kim (best finishes: win-2016, T2-2021) — Kim won this event in dominant fashion back in 2016, shooting a 60 on his way to a five-shot win. His love for the venue was on display again in 2020 when he finished T3 and last year when he finished T2 (playoff). Overall, he has four top-5 finishes at this event in five career appearances.
4. Denny McCarthy (best finishes: T15-2021, T9-2020) — McCarthy has played this event each of the past four seasons and made the cut on each attempt. The American has shot some low rounds at Sedgefield including a final round 63 in 2020.
5. Kevin Kisner (best finishes: win-2021, T3-2020) — Kisner is the master of these short, quirky Bermuda grass tracks on the PGA TOUR. The veteran found his love for Sedgefield last year grabbing a win in a six-man playoff, but also finished T3 here in 2020.
1. Taylor Pendrith ($10,800; win-T8) — Pendrith has looked in fabulous form since returning from a rib injury, posting three top-15 finishes in a row. Only alpha prime Tony Finau stopped him from winning last week.
2. Joohyung Kim ($10,800; 4th-T51) — Kim looks like the newest sensation on the PGA TOUR and a player you need to remember for the fall. He leads the field in strokes gained total stats over the last six events and gained over 7.0 strokes ball-striking last week.
3. JT Poston ($10,800; T16-T2) — Poston remains in the mix for best recent form. He popped back in with a T11 in Minnesota after a missed cut at the Open and has scorched easier setups like Sedgefield of late.
4. Taylor Moore ($10,800; T59-T16) — Taylor Moore has quietly been racking up good finishes and now ranks third in strokes gained total stats over the last six events. He gained a solid 8.5 strokes ball-striking in Detroit.
5. Scott Stallings ($10,800; T59-T16) — Stallings bounced right back to form last week posting a T10 in Detroit after a two week break. He's gained over 3.0 strokes on approach in each of his last three starts and looks primed for success at this week's short-iron fest.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Trust the course horses
This week is one where simply looking at a little course history may be all the research you need to do. Players like Kevin Kisner ($8,700), Si Woo Kim ($8,800) and Brian Harman ($8,300) not only perform well at Sedgefield, but truly excel here year-after-year. It's rare we get players with great upside and safe floors in the 8k range, but we have a ton of like-minded plays this week to target. Up top is where you could perhaps be a little more fickle as the $10,700 price on Webb Simpson may be worth fading simply because of his poor recent form. Players like Russell Henley ($9,800) and Denny McCarthy ($8,900) are also good balanced lineup targets while the likes of Adam Svensson ($7,500) and JJ Spaun ($7,300) make for better values to mix in.
Tournaments: Get weird with Will Z. and Wise
Two young players who have the ammunition and elite approach play to go nuclear on this week's course (and perhaps neutralize the elite putters), are Will Zalatoris ($10,900) and Aaron Wise ($8,100). Zalatoris is coming off just a T20 in Detroit but did gain 8.2 strokes ball-striking. He gained over 2.0 strokes putting at Sedgefield last season, so the potential for a monster week is there. Wise is in a similar situation in that he's been great tee to green all season and just needs the putter to show up this week. He's spiked for over 4.0 strokes putting a couple of times this summer but has never finished inside the top 40 at this event in three tries, which should keep his ownership lower. Both men have looked on the verge of victory this season (on multiple occasions) and feel like great GPP targets for the regular season finale. Other potential names to consider here include CT Pan ($7,400), David Lipsky ($7,000), Brice Garnett ($6,800) and Kelly Kraft ($6,500 - see below).
MY PICK: Denny McCarthy ($8,900)
McCarthy spun out last week at the Rocket Mortgage, shooting even par over two rounds on an easier setup. That said, the American has been a consistent spike candidate this summer with three top-10 finishes over his last five starts, which makes him an attractive target this week in my eyes. McCarthy's recent form reminds me of another recent winner on the PGA TOUR, in JT Poston. Poston also racked up a few cuts this summer, but also put together some hot weeks before breaking through at the John Deere Classic.
McCarthy and Poston share similar style games (elite putters whose iron play can make them dangerous when in form) and McCarthy certainly has performed well at this week's shorter Donald Ross venue (see course horse section above) with four made cuts and a top 10 in four career starts at Sedgefield. Regardless, I love this lead-in for McCarthy for daily fantasy golf purposes as most of the general public, including myself, will be annoyed after he spurned us all with a lackluster effort last week. His $8,900 salary hasn't moved much from last week either, which means we should get lower ownership in bigger field contests. From a style perspective it's hard to find a better course for our player and he's shown enough upside for me of late to make him an outright target at +3500 or better on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
MY SLEEPER: Kelly Kraft ($6,500)
This week is fun as we not only get to sweat the winner on Sunday, but we also get to see where everyone will finish in the FedEx Cup standings. Kelly Kraft sits in a precarious position right now at 142nd. The veteran will need a monumental effort to move into the top 125 (likely a top 5 or better) and will need a solid week just to stay in the top 150 and get conditional status for 2023. Kraft has shown some signs of life lately, grabbing T11 and T24 finishes at the 3M Open and John Deere Classic. He gained 8.2 strokes putting alone against the field in Minnesota and will certainly be helped by the short setup in play this week.
From a style perspective, Sedgefield is the kind of course we'd expect Kraft to spike at given his game is predicated around precise iron play and putting. His ball-striking hasn't quite caught up with the spike putting he showcased in Minnesota, but he has gained strokes on approach in four straight starts and could be in line for a breakout kind of week in that regard as well. With his game showing signs of life and his immediate need for a solid week — due to his FedEx standing — I like looking to him as a low owned flyer in GPPs and potential top-40 play on DraftKings Sportsbook where he's +240 in that market as of writing.
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