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Wyndham Championship 2016 Preview
Our golf scribe gives his best tips for this week's PGA Tour event, the Wyndham Championship, being played at Sedgefield Country Club.
After a brief sabbatical to recharge the old batteries, I’m back this week and ready for the FedEx Playoffs. This is the final event before the season-ending finals begin next week with The Barclays, so expect those just outside the top-125 to pull out all the stops this week in a bid to secure their place on the Tour for next season.
It’s no coincidence that the last two winners – Davis Love III and Camilo Villegas – both began the week outside the top-125 on the FedEx Cup Standings. As such, I’ll be focusing my attention on those on the brink. Simply put, they want it more. They need it more. And their prices aren’t half bad either.
The Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club course should provide plenty of scoring opportunities over the week. Measuring 7,130 yards, the Par 70 layout isn’t the most taxing in terms of distance and while the greens are on the small side, they haven’t prevented players from going low across the board here. Love III won with a total of 17-under par last year, with two winners – Carl Pettersson and Arjun Atwal – both shooting course records of 61 on the way to victory.
Wyndham Championship | Thursday 18 August - Sunday 21 August | Sedgefield Country Club
2015 Davis Love III -17 | 2014 Camilo Villegas -17 | 2013 Patrick Reed -14 (playoff) | 2012 Sergio Garcia -18 | 2011 Webb Simpson -18
Patrick Reed 18/1 | Rickie Fowler 22/1 | Hideki Matsuyama 22/1 | Jim Furyk 25/1 | Ryan Moore 25/1 | Brandt Snedeker 25/1
Wesley Bryan (45/1 Win & 9/1 Place)
Bryan is somewhat of an unknown in this field and that’s exactly why I like him. While I’d prefer his odds to be a bit longer, I’m happy to get onside at 45/1 and see how it plays out. The former trick-shot master can actually play a decent round of golf. The latest player to join the Tour following his exploits on the Web.com tour, his last three starts read T2 - 1 - T8. He may be in the big leagues now, but form like that is hard to ignore. He also needs a top finish to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, so he’s worth a small each-way wager.
Graham DeLaet (90/1 Win & 18/1 Place)
It’s not often I back a Canadian golfer. Much like the country itself, they often play second fiddle to the Americans. However, DeLaet has been on my radar for a while and this week he cracks the nod. He fared quite well over in Rio, where a final round 69 saw him finish 20th. This will be his first trip to this event since 2012 when he finished a commendable T22. He’s currently just inside the top-125 so a strong finish should get him into the playoffs and keep him on Tour another season.
Martin Laird (70/1 Win & 14/1 Place)
Laird is another who has just missed out on selection in the past couple weeks, but the time has come to throw him in and see what he can do. The Scott comes in with some momentum after five straight made cuts, including a T2 at the RBC Canadian Open and T7 at the Barracuda Championship, albeit in slightly weaker fields. He’s also five-for-five making the cut in his five trips to Sedgefield since 2008, including a T4 and a T14 in that time. All that adds up to a decent each-way punt at 70/1.
Horse for the course.
Webb Simpson (28/1 & 56/10 Place)
Patrick Reed might have got the nod here, but the slightly longer odds on Simpson has swayed me. Simpson is also a former winner here and his form figures at Sedgefield are quite staggering. Since missing the cut on his first visit here, they read 8-1-22-11-5-6, and he was beaten by just two strokes last year, despite having a horror show with the putter. There will always be question marks regarding his ability with the short stick, but there have been some encouraging signs of late. He finished third at the Dean & Deluca invitational, sixth at the Quicken Loans National and 13th at the USPGA Championship, so he’s definitely on an upward trend.