Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC plays host to this weekend’s Wyndham Championship. It was the easiest par-70 on Tour last summer for the second year in a row, with a cut line set at -3 just to get to the weekend. It’s not long, or particularly demanding when players are approaching the green, so the ability to stick irons close and drain putts will determine who reigns victorious at the end of the weekend.
Jim Furyk ($11,000) – He has to be mentioned here after firing an incredible 58 on Sunday at the Travelers Championship in his last appearance. After a 73 and a 72 earlier in the weekend, that score only left him at T5, but the barrage of birdies that day could bode well for another fantastic performance here at Sedgefield CC this weekend. On the easiest course on Tour for the past two seasons, opportunities will be there for players to fire at pins all day long, and Furyk showed again that he can do that with anyone when he is on his game.
Ryan Moore ($10,600) – He is a former champ here, in 2009, who also finished top-10 here last summer. He just won the John Deere on the back of only two bogeys for the tournament, but more important were his 22 birdies (and one eagle). He saw his GIR % ranking climb from 103rd to 75th on Tour on the merit of that one performance, and he should be in good shape if that kind of shot-making carries through to this weekend on a course that is likely to see a cut line at least two strokes under par.
Jon Rahm ($10,400) – I recommended the young Spaniard last week, and he came through somewhat with a T14 that was good for 102.0 fantasy points. He has now made all seven cuts he has tried for as a professional, and his Birdie or Better of 25.39 would be good for #1 on Tour if he had played enough holes to qualify, just edging out Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, the only two other players over 25.0. He is someone who feels like he could be poised for an early breakthrough win in his first season on Tour, and even if he doesn’t get to the very top of the leaderboard, he is capable of putting up a big fantasy number on one of the easiest courses he’ll see as a pro.
Webb Simpson ($10,200) – Simpson has been inside the top-25 here every year since 2010, including four top-10’s and a win (2011). He has averaged fewer than 67 strokes per over the course of those 24 rounds and will look to a course where he is obviously comfortable to help him build some momentum for the stretch run. Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, he has been a bit up a down, making four straight cuts, but with two finishes inside the top-15 and two outside the top-30. It was his putting that failed him two weekends ago. He will need to see improvement there to make a run this weekend, but with his past history on the course, it is not hard to see that happening.
Wesley Bryan ($9,300) – The second rookie mentioned already, these two guys seem intent on making a name for themselves, and quickly. After starting out the season on the Web.com Tour, Bryan made his PGA debut last weekend at the John Deere Classic. He got there by virtue of three wins on the Web.com Tour, which he accomplished in large part because of his putter. He led that tour in virtually all of the most important stats on the green when he was elevated. And then he responded to the promotion with a T8 last weekend, and the amazing thing was, his putter actually seemed to fail him at times. Instead, he finished the weekend fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – and if he can combine those two skills this weekend, he could be in for another impressive showing.
William McGirt ($8,700) – He has come through with a few solid performances here in the past, including a T14 last year in which he shot 62-70-68-68. That opening round 62 was clearly enough to propel him forward, and the 21 birdies he carded would have been plenty to make him a useful fantasy option. He is coming off a T10 at the PGA Championship in his last appearance, in which he played every round to par or better. He will definitely be looking at Sedgefield as a place to bring that kind of consistency and really capitalize on the scoring chances that should be prevalent.
Kevin Kisner ($8,300) – Coming in just inside the top-30 in Birdie or Better on Tour, Kisner struggled for a while through May and June, but has seemed to come on a bit lately, with a T26 at the RBC Canadian Open and a T18 at the PGA Championship. In that performance at Baltusrol, he brought his complete game to bear, hitting 72 of greens in regulation (GIR) and then converting those chances, finishing 12th for the weekend in Putts Per GIR. If he can bring those same weapons with him this weekend, that specific combination would play very well here at Sedgefield.
Ben Martin ($8,000) – Martin shot -20 last weekend to finish with a solo-2nd at the John Deere Classic. He shot no worse than a 68 in any round, and carded 25 birdies and an eagle – enough to propel him from 38th to 19th on Tour for his overall Birdie or Better . You know that birdie-bogey means more for fantasy purposes than par-par, a fact that elevates the fantasy value of a player like Martin as compared to his “real life” value. One way to identify this is simple: a player who ranks highly in Birdie or Better , like Martin, but who does not rank correspondingly high in Scoring Average (Martin comes in at just 103).
Adam Hadwin ($7,400) – Another top-10 finisher from last weekend, he shot a 64 on Sunday to get it done, riding a red-hot putter all day to finish with eight birdies. That kind of putting stroke could make all the difference on a course that should allow plenty of scoring chances for everyone in the field. After a really solid stretch of golf to begin the year, he has missed two of his last four cuts, so that performance last weekend had to put him in a better frame of mind entering this one. Currently 85th in the FedEx Cup Rankings, he will be looking to build some momentum for himself heading into the playoffs with a solid performance this weekend.
Alex Cejka ($6,600) – Coming off a weekend performing for Germany at the international games, Cejka will be looking to build on the T5 at Glen Abbey and T11 at River Highlands that he had leading up to the international games. He had four rounds in the sixties at the Travelers Championship, with only four bogeys for the weekend. He has never been a big scorer, which might make him more of a cash game option than a play for a bigger GPP, but he is also the kind of player who won’t be enticed by the easier course into taking risks and making mistakes. That should mean he, at the very least, stays alive into the weekend and can help your roster for four straight days.
Bud Cauley ($7,000) – He has made four straight cuts, capped off by one of his best performances, a T8 last weekend at the TPC Deere Run. He shot four rounds under 70 and carded a total of 17 birdies and two eagles. He was among the leaders for the weekend in both Strokes Gained (SG): Putting as well as SG: Tee to Green. This is a weekend, as golf fans turn their attention from the international games to the upcoming playoffs, where some young players could make a name for himself, and Cauley is among that group, and priced low enough that he could return value in any format contest.
Whee Kim ($5,700) – I bring him up here to point out one of the more interesting subplots of this weekend. Kim is currently ranked 125th in the official FedEx Cup rankings, and as you know, only the top 125 players advance on next weekend to the Barclays (and possibly beyond). Some of the players right behind him (Scott Stallings, Morgan Hoffman, and Nick Taylor, to name a few) will be looking to take this last opportunity to leapfrog a few players and run with it, while Kim will also be fighting to hold on to that final spot, or, ideally, even move up some. Coming off a T3 at the John Deere in which he was striking the ball extremely well, I like Kim’s chances of moving on into the playoffs once this one wraps up.
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