Wyndham Championship Preview

This week the TOUR heads to Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC for the regular season finale.  This is the last chance for players outside the Top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings to make the playoffs, and an opportunity for those safely inside to bolster their position.  The field includes 37 of the Top 100 and 13 of the Top 50 in the OWGR, so it is an average at best collection of players this week.  

Sedgefield is a Par 70 that plays as a birdie fest, with the winning score usually being around -20.  It is not particularly long, but requires accuracy off the tee and on approach.  As usual, tournaments are won with the putter, and in a birdie fest like this, it is almost a glorified putting competition.  I will be looking to target players who can hit fairways, are solid on approach, and can make birdie with their putter.  

Top 20/10/5

Jason Kokrak (+135 to Top 20, +250 to Top 10)

Kokrak is a birdie machine this season after revolutionizing his putting stroke, ranking 13th and 5th on TOUR, respectively, in birdie percentage (ranks 1st in the field) and strokes gained putting this season.  He is also 28th on TOUR in greens in regulation (GIR) percentage and 22nd in SG:Off-The-Tee, so he should have plenty of looks at birdie this week.   

I am particularly fond of Kokrak because in addition to his ability to post low numbers, he is a grinder who makes cuts and gives you a shot on the weekend.  He is 16/17 in 2021 with seven Top 20s and has won twice this season.  He also plays well in tournaments that don’t contain an elite field, with an average finish of 20th in his eight non-Major/WGC starts in 2021.  His course form at Sedgefield is also appealing, finishing in the Top 20 three of the last four years, with a T15 last year and a T6 finish in 2019.  Kokrak just makes sense this week, and I like him across the board.

Sungjae Im (+140 to Top 20, +325 to Top 10)

No one has played more rounds on TOUR this season than Sungjae Im and I think this is the week he finally puts it all together at course he loves.  The Korean is 2/2 at Sedgefield with a T9 and T6 the last two years, and has all the tools to make it 3/3 this week.  He is 17th in SG: Off-The-Tee, 32nd in birdie percentage, 44th in SG: Putting, 45th in Par 4 scoring, and 34th in GIR percentage.  An added bonus—Sedgefield has Bermudagrass greens, a surface on which Sungjae ranks 4th in the field in strokes gained putting.  

Like Kokrak, he is a grinder, making 19/23 cuts in 2021, and has played the weekend in six straight events.  In his 17 non-Major/WGC starts, he has an average finish of 31.29, meaning that he gets up for every event regardless of the prestige.  Only five players in the field this week are ranked higher than Im in the OWGR, and I am very inclined to think he is worth an investment at +140 to Top 20 considering his class, current form, statistical fit, and course history.  

Webb Simpson (-160 to Top 20, +140 to Top 10)

Is this as square as it gets? Yes, most definitely.  Do I care? Absolutely not.  Webb Simpson is the class of Sedgefield and has finished in the Top 20 eight of the last ten years and inside the Top 10 seven of the last ten years, with four consecutive podium finishes (T3-2-T2-3).  His scoring average in his last 16 rounds at Sedgefield is nearly five under par at 65.31.  I think he’s worth an investment this week with his odds reflecting an implied probability of a 61.3% that he finishes inside the Top 20.  I am also very encouraged by his round of 64 on Sunday last week, giving him some momentum before his favorite tournament of the year, as he has now put together consecutive Top 20 finishes.  Webb currently ranks 48th in the FedEx Cup standings, so this is a perfect opportunity to catapult himself into the Top 30.  Additionally, he is the GolfStats.com top-ranked statistical fit of the week.  Buyer beware:  I have seen him priced as high as -200 to Top 20 this week, so shop around and avoid overpaying.

Brian Harman (+125 to Top 20, +250 to Top 10)

Harman checks every box this week and is a guy who I feel like always flies under the radar.  He has had an incredibly solid 2021 season going 15/17 with ten Top 20 finishes.  Harman also boasts an average finish of 27.27 at non-Majors/WGCs this year.  After struggling at Sedgefield early in his career, Harman took a two year hiatus and returned in 2019 to finish T6, followed by a T27 finish last year.  His statistical fit is a near perfect match as well, ranking 42nd in birdie percentage, 20th in SG: Putting, 45th in Par 4 scoring, and 58th in SG: Off-The-Tee.  While he struggles with GIR percentage, he compensates for it with his elite scrambling ability, ranking 14th in scrambling percentage.  Look for Harman’s big 2021 season to continue this week.  

Charl Schwartzel (+240 to Top 20, +420 to Top 10)

What if I told you that since the Masters, Schwartzel is 9/10 with an average finish of 23.70 and six Top 20 finishes?  Well, that would be reality.  The Bermudagrass specialist will look to continue his resurgent 2021 campaign at Sedgefield this week, where he boasts two Top 15 finishes in three appearances.  Sort of a gut play for me, but I just like him this week at a cheap price.  

Patton Kizzire (+270 to Top 20, +650 to Top 10)

This may seem redundant, but making birdies at a birdie fest is pretty important for success.  Trailing Jason Kokrak in birdie percentage by just 0.01% is Patton Kizzire, who thrives on Bermudagrass greens and is 4/4 at Sedgefield with two Top 25 finishes.  He is 33rd in GIR percentage, 16th in SG: Putting, and 12th in Par 4 scoring average. His lack of power off the tee is also mitigated by Sedgefield’s design.  Kizzire has now made three consecutive cuts, and is well rested since the 3M Open.  At nearly 3-1 odds to Top 20, Patton Kizzire is worth a look this week across the board, and I will be playing some at 70-1 to win outright hoping his putter gets hot.   

Bonus Pick:

Kevin Na (+225 to Top 20, +500 to Top 10)

This is a pure gut play.  Kevin Na has played the Wyndham Championship three times in the last decade, finishing T4-T10-T18, and is coming off consecutive Top 25 finishes.  He is 14/18 in 2021 with a win and a T2, but only has four finishes inside the Top 20.  I think he is going to have a good week at place where distance off the tee is not required for success.  An added bonus is that he is currently 29th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he will be looking to move up to ensure his spot in the TOUR Championship.  

Seamus Power

I personally do not play guys after a first career win, but Seamus is as good of a statistical match as there is this week.  I don’t love the three-week layoff and he has never cracked the Top 25 here in four tries, thus, I am not endorsing or fading, but if you’re a fan, fire away.

My Card:

Jason Kokrak (Total 1.75 Units)

1U to win 1.35U to Top 20

0.25U to win 0.6U to Top 10

0.5U to win 0.65U over Hideki Matsuyama

Sungjae Im (Total 1.1 Units)

0.8U to win 1.12U to Top 20

0.2U to win 0.65U to Top 10

0.1U to win 0.6U to Top 5

Webb Simpson (Total 2.45 Units)

1.6U to win 1U to Top 20

0.25U to win 0.35U to Top 10

0.6U to win 0.5U over Hideki Matsuyama

Brian Harman (Total 1 Unit)

0.8U to win 1U to Top 20

0.2U to win 0.5U to Top 10

Charl Schwartzel (Total 0.5 Units)

0.5U to win 1.2U to Top 20

Patton Kizzire (Total 0.9 Units)

0.5U to win 1.35U to Top 20

0.2U to win 1.3U to Top 10

0.1U to win 0.95U to Top 5

0.1U to win 7U to Win

Kevin Na (Total 0.5 Units)

0.4U to win 0.9U to Top 20

0.1U to win 0.5U to Top 10

Hank Lebioda (Total 0.55 units)

0.55U to win 0.5U over Erik van Rooyen

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