One major down and one more “regular season” tournament until the FedExCup Playoffs. This week, the PGA TOUR travels to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. The course will play as a par 70, measuring 7,131 yards, and the putting will take place on bermuda greens.
The field will be slightly different from last week, but golfers like Patrick Reed ($10,700), Jordan Spieth ($9,000), Paul Casey ($10,300), Webb Simpson ($11,200), Tommy Fleetwood ($10,500) and Brooks Koepka ($11,400) will be making the cross-country trek to the Donald Ross designed Sedgefield Country Club. Other notable players in the field who are on the playoff “bubble” are Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,000), Matt Wallace ($7,400) and 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry ($8,700).
The course has played fairly straightforward in the past, ranking 12th easiest in scoring relative to par in 2018 and ninth easiest last season. Sedgefield Country Club recorded the eighth-most eagles and fourth-most birdies last season, which was much to do with the higher than average rate of hitting both the fairways and greens in regulation compared to the PGA TOUR average. Fairways hit in regulation recorded a seven percent higher hit rate over the PGA TOUR average with most golfers choosing to club down off-the-tee, getting their drives in the fairway and hitting the correct angles onto these smaller than average greens. There are eight par 4s measuring between 400 and 450 yards, which should be a nice change of pace for the players who competed last week at TPC Harding Park. The challenge at Sedgefield Country Club is staying away from the water hazards and avoiding the big numbers. Sedgefield Country Club will have six holes where water will be a factor.
Our approach this week should be rostering the players who can score at a high rate. Even though there are two less par 5s, both should be accessible to most of the field. Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green is the predominant stat on Ross courses and will be this week, but filtering approach proximity from 150 to 175 yards will also be necessary.
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Tommy Fleetwood ($10,500)
Tommy’s issues on the weekend are well documented, and he added to his proverbial file with another final round letdown at the PGA Championship. It was troubling to see him in the middle of the fairway with a short iron and miss the green altogether. Fleetwood played himself out of the major early on Sunday and still has yet to find his first win on the PGA TOUR. He’s been inconsistent with his irons since returning to the PGA TOUR in Minnesota, but he’s still one of the best ball-strikers in this field. The trust isn’t there when Fleetwood is coming down the stretch but there were, and still are, signs of great golf from Fleetwood. Only one bogey in Friday’s rounds catapulted Tommy to the top heading into the weekend, and his calm disposition should help him recover this week rather than hurt him on a course he can carve up. He is firmly inside the top 125 in FedExCup Standings (85), and the 3-over on Sunday should keep his ownership low.
Corey Conners ($8,000)
Conners made an early departure from California, which hopefully meant he made his way to Greensboro early to work on the greens. The Canadian lost a little more than 2.5 strokes on the greens in San Francisco but kept his streak of gaining with his ball-striking in every tournament since the shutdown. Conners finished in the top 25 at Sedgefield Country Club last year and ranks 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the previous three months. Hopefully, the switch to bermuda greens works in his favor this week.
Harold Varner III ($7,600)
Over the last three months, no one has been better in this field than Varner in greens in regulation, ranking first since coming back from the shutdown. Varner’s putting has been bad, losing strokes in every tournament since the Honda Classic, and he hasn’t been able to take advantage of the abundance of scoring opportunities. Varner should find some solace here, making his fifth start at the Wyndham Championship and only missing one cut (first appearance). “HV3” is coming off a top 30 at the year’s first major and ranks inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green even with three missed cuts.
Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,000)
The stats tell us to fade Rafa completely, but he’s got a top five and a top 11 in his last two starts at Sedgefield Country Club. He’s sitting 133rd in the FedExCup Standings and needs a solid outing to make it to TPC Boston. Rafa’s win equity is one of the best in this range, and he’ll need to lean on his five career victories worldwide and his back-to-back top 20s in February to keep his playoff bid alive.
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