With the four majors done, and the Olympics completed with no Zika contracted, it’s back to the bread and butter at the Wyndham Championship. A couple of sub-plots are in play with a number of players hoping to either impress their respective Ryder Cup captain, or move into the top 125 to ensure their tour card for next year.
This week we go to a classical track, Sedgefield in North Carolina. Designed by Donald Ross, a 7,130 yard par 70 with small, undulating greens, and tough to hit fairways. The course has been used since 2008 with the greens being replaced in 2012 with Bermuda grass. The main focus will be on ball strikers, who can scramble. With such small greens, the likelihood is that players will miss a number of greens. A good putter from 5-10ft will be a bonus; however, previous winners have shown that you have to get onto the green first in order to have a good week on the greens!
A relatively weak field, there are players throughout who could make their mark. I’ll be taking a relatively balanced approach, using the bargains I’ve identified to help squeeze the expensive guys into my teams.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,400) – A hugely talented player who went through a mid-season slump. After missing the cut at The Memorial, he struggle to find his groove missing the next two cuts. He found his game again at the US PGA with a top five finish. There he was just 5% owned, and ended up 1st in SG:T2G. This season he sits 5th in SG:T2G showing his ball striking class. While a pretty poor putter, he can be streaky on his day, and should set up a lot of chances on this course ranking top 30 in proximity to the hole. Missed his last two cuts here but finished 15th on debut and hit a round of 65 last year so can play the course. Will likely be low owned, overshadowed by Furyk, Fowler and Reed.
Jim Furyk ($11,000) – Last we saw him, Jim Furyk was signing his card for a record breaking 58! If that’s not showing his game is in good shape, I don’t know what is! Has a great game for the course as an accurate driver, and someone who hits greens on a regular basis. While he’s only played here once in the last decade, he finished top 10 in that visit in 2011. Will be keen to show Davis Love he can add something to the Ryder Cup team.
Jon Rahm ($10,400) – Clearly the real deal. A superstar in the making with yet another top 20 at the John Deere last week. He will be highly owned but I think he’s one to ride in both cash and GPPs until he falters. Last week was top 15 off the tee, around the green and putting showing his games in good order. He had just two bogeys, but three double bogeys. If he can limit the big numbers he should go close here.
Webb Simpson ($10,200) – This is a home game for Webb as a North Carolina boy. His course form is outstanding. Since missing the cut on debut, he has six consecutive top 25s including a win. His recent form is great with four top 15s in his last seven tournaments. Was in fine fettle at the Travelers as despite finishing T34, he was ranked 1st in strokes gained approach the green. If he can get his putter going at all he should gain a strong finish again. A very confident cash play, but expect him to be highly owned in GPP.
Bill Haas ($9,600) – Another local boy who has great course form. In his last four visits, he has four top 20s including three top 10s. Has a tendency to thrive in tournaments where the top guys aren’t in the field just like this week. Has good recent form with his first major top 10 at The Open, and a T3 at Colonial. His game is a good fit for the course as he sits 21st in SG:T2G, and is strong putter on Bermuda greens. Another who is a confident cash play.
Russell Henley ($9,000) – With two PGA tour wins, both on par 70s, Henley is one to keep an eye on when they stop at a par 70. Has a solid tee to green game sitting 75th in SG:T2G and is 33rd in GIR. His recent form is progressive having finished T22-T11 at his last two tournaments. While he’s never played here before, but the course should suit as he sits top 10 in par 4 scoring and top 25 in proximity to hole. Likely to be low owned as is a streaky player but has a high upside. Perfect GPP play.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($8,900) – He may not win many tournaments, but he has turned into an elite player. Played 19 tournaments this year, has seven top 10s and just one missed cut. Is great tee to green so should suit this course well. Finished 5th last week in the Olympics so is still in good form. While I’m unsure the winning upside is there, he looks like a solid cash play.
Justin Thomas ($8,600) – A pure GPP play with definite upside. Played here last year and was 21st after three rounds before a disappointing 4th round saw him tumble down the leaderboard. Does have more positive experience here having won a junior tournament on course a few years ago. Despite only having eight top 25s from 23 tournaments this season, he has five top 3 finishes showing that he has great upside. Finished 3rd last time out at The Travelers finishing with a 62 showing he’s in good form. Sits outside Ryder Cup qualifying but another good showing could put him in the running for a Captain’s pick.
Ben Martin ($8,000) – Ben Martin is a player who comes alive on Bermuda greens. Bodes well as he hit form last week finishing runner up where he had not previously had top finishes. Finished 10th here last year with four rounds in the 60s. Another Carolina boy who will feel comfortable in these surroundings.
Robert Garrigus ($7,700) – Holding some great form with nine cuts from 10. In this streak has five top 25 finishes, including four top 11s. A massive hitter who is great approaching the green sitting 13th in GIR and 5th in SG:approach the green. Also scores a lot of birdies (11th in birdie average) which is very important for DK scoring. Hasn’t got great form here but finished T11 in 2013 which shows he can play the course.
Harris English ($7,500) – A great player of old style courses, he’s made the cut here on both appearances. Average tee to green but has one of the best short games on tour so should rack up the birdies here. Has made his last seven cuts, including a runner up in that period. The type of player who remains low owned, but should have upside.
Scott Brown ($7,200) – Another Carolina boy who should be comfortable in the surroundings. Finished 3rd here last year with four rounds in the 60s. His form has picked up in recent weeks with consecutive top 25 finishes. A GPP play.
Martin Laird ($6,900) – A solid all-around game, Laird has managed to tie up his card over the last few weeks with two top 10 finishes. He has a good record here having made all five cuts including a 4th on debut and T14 in 2014. Runner up two tournaments ago in Canada was 3rd in SG:T2G while last week was 6th in putting showing his whole game is in fine fettle.
Henrik Norlander ($6,600) – A great cash play as a cut maker having made his last nine cuts. Finished in the top 30 in his last two tournaments showing a little more upside. Has played this tournament once, in 2013, finishing in the top 20. Looks a good price based on his recent form. Sitting 163rd in the Fedex Cup rankings he will have more incentive than most to push for a top finish.
Matt Jones ($6,300) – Matt Jones is a proper bubble boy sitting 124th in the rankings at the moment. With five cuts made in a row, he’s started finding some form. Last week hit all four rounds in the 60s which bodes well for this week. Has a PGA Tour win so has shown his upside. Hasn’t played here since 2013, but finished in the top 5 so showed he can play well here.
Roberto Castro ($6,000) – Castro has had a strong season having made his last nine cuts including his last visit to North Carolina where he lost in a playoff at Quail Hollow. Sits top 30 in GIR, SG:T2G and driving accuracy so his game should suit the course. Is a stronger Bermuda green putter so will be happy to be back on them this week. Has made his last two cuts here including a top 20 in 2014.
Harold Varner III ($5,900) – With potential upside, HV3 looks very cheap. Another Carolina boy, he’ll be happy to be back close to home. Has hit a little bit of poor form over the last few weeks, but these are in his first taste of the majors so I’m happy to take these with a pinch of salt. Before this he had made eight cuts in a row including five top 25s. Finished top 25 in his last visit to North Carolina at Quail Hollow. A GPP play.
Bryce Molder ($5,700) – Another Bermuda green specialist who I’ve been fading since we left them a few weeks ago. Now we’re back on Bermuda, I’m back on Bryce Molder. Broke his slump last week making the cut having missed three in a row which is promising. Prior to this he had made nine consecutive cuts with four top 12 finishes showing his upside. Ranks 32nd in par 4 scoring, important on a par 70. Opened last year with 66-67 showing his promise on the course.
Stuart Appleby ($5,600) – Another player sitting outside the magic top 125. He has, however, started playing better making his last four cuts. Has solid course form having made his last four cuts here. A potential cash play.
The World Ranking Play:
JB Holmes ($8,100) – At 21st in the world, JB Holmes is an elite player in this field. However, he is priced up as a middling player. His form recently has dropped; however, it wasn’t long ago he was finishing in the top 5 at The Open. A bit of a boom or bust player, in 18 tournaments this year, Holmes has missed five cuts, but also has eight top 13 finishes. While I don’t think he course suits, he’s the type of player who could make a mockery of the price.
Ryan Moore ($10,600) – Having won last week and finished 10th last year, Moore will be a tempting play. I will, however, be fading him, particularly in GPPs as I feel he’ll be high owned. His previous wins have been followed by T70-28-50-28 showing that he may not be able to follow up a win with a top performance. For me, he’s a fade, despite the course suiting.