The PGA TOUR shifts gears this week as it heads down the road from Quail Hollow Club and travels to Sedgfield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, to host the Wyndham Championship.
Hats off to Justin Thomas as he finally proved his critics wrong, claiming his first major championship of his young career this past weekend. Putting four solid days together at Quail Hollow en route to victory. Surviving through the rain, pressure and Green Mile, Thomas struggled on the 72nd hole but held on to win by two strokes.
Afterwards, It was terrific to see Jordan Spieth, Bud Cauley, and Rickie Fowler come out of the crowd to congratulate Thomas and it speaks volumes about the type of people these young players are off the course. Again, Hideki Matsuyama failed to become the first Japanese player to win a major finishing T5 after hitting the ball in the water on the 72nd hole.
The Wyndham Championship was founded in 1938 as the Greater Greensboro Open, and Sedgefield Country Club, the tournament’s current home, was one of the original host courses.
Sedgefield Country Club is a Donald Ross design that was recently restored to its original design while being lengthened to meet PGA TOUR standards. In 2007 the course underwent an enormous 3-million dollar restoration project that took 10 months, resulting in a 7,127 yard course that plays to a par 70.
Since 2008, the event has been played at Sedgefield Country Club. The course is laid out with multiple blind tee shots with the addition of new bunkers and the added length during renovation. Undulating greens are flanked by danger including water on a few holes and looking at the course, every shot seems to be above/below the players feet so it will be a true ball-striking test. The rough doesn't look to long on the course so I don't think some of the big hitters will be as penalized and will use length to their advantage this week.
The forecast this week in Greensboro, North Carolina is calling for blue skies and hot temperatures on Thursday around 89 degrees and much of the same on Friday, leaning more to the cloudy side. The chance of storms continue to decline so the coast it clear for now.
2016 Leaderboard Snapshot
Course Specific Stats
The following stats look at performance since 2012 at Sedgefield Country Club, specificially. Using a minimum of 8 rounds to qualify. All stats are courtesy of fantasynational.com
I am making a case for Points to make the cut this week as he comes of a decent T33 finish at the PGA Championship. His form over his past 5 events isn't great(T54-MC-MC-MC-65) but clearly doesn't hit the ball far enough to contend with the young guys of some of the other long(er) courses. He finished T14 in 2016 and finished T7-T12-26-69 at Sedgefield in the past. I can see him make the cut and maybe squeak out a top 20 finish again this year.
Lee comes off the tails of a MC at the PGA Championship with course history at Sedgefield Country Club that isn't much to write home about. He has finished MC-MC-MC-T71-T20 here as this course doesn't seem to suit his game. It will be interesting to see if he can overcome the course and make it to the weekend especially after being rested and not having to travel far considering the event distance is very close (2 hours drive).
The Irishman is coming off a T53 showing at the PGA Championship and looks to try and better his T42 from last year. He has course form reading(T5-MC-T47-T46-T30). He has gained strokes over the field in five of his last eights PGA TOUR starts.
Reavie strolls into Greensboro this week after posting a T22 this past weekend at the PGA Championship. He has struggled on this course and has missed the cut three times in the past three years at Sedgefield. That said, he has two top 10 finishes dating back to 2009 and 2011 respectively. He is ranked T9 in bogey avoidance on the PGA TOUR and should be a decent punt for a GPP play this week.
One of the longer hitter on TOUR, Mullinax is one of the young guns who will use his length off the tee to take advantage of the par 5s this week. He's gained strokes over the field in six of his last eight starts and should be good for another cut made.
The Alabama product finished T33 at the PGA Championship and travels down the road where he left Greensboro North Carolina with a T10 finish, last year. He already had a solo third on his Wyndham resume (2012) so he clearly likes the layout. Depending on his price, I think he may be someone to keep an eye on this week.
Wagner has had some trouble lately as he played some courses that he had decent history on yet failed to find the top of the leaderboard or even make the cut. Hopefully with his week off, he can find his form and can go into Greensboro and earn a paycheck. Last year he finished T5 so he will have the confidence factor on his side. His course history reads: MC-T38-MC-T52-MC-T32-T20 so he is familiar with the course and I think he makes the cut this week.
Schniederjans appears on the scene after missing the cut in two of his last four starts. His length should help him tackle the short par 5s at Sedgefield Country Club. In a field devoid of the usual star power, Ollie stands out and should make the cut and potentially get himseld into contention.
McDowell has been shaky as of late with five missed cuts in his last six international starts. He has made 13-of-19 cuts, worldwide, this year and despite a weaker field, McDowell will look to get back on track and bank some much needed FedExCup points.
Brown finished T13 last weekend, which was his best finish in a major to date as he looks to continue his improving form: T13-MC-T25-MC-T52. Over his past five events, where he has been trending upwards, Brown has gaining an average of 1.1 total strokes over the field in those events. Just 16-for-25 on the season, it's always a roll of the dice when rostering Brown but he does love playing in near home on bermuda turf.
Campbell is well-rested and should be chomping at the bit to get back into the mix after a week off. Campbell has top 35s in seven of his last eight starts. At Sedgefield Country Club he is 4-for-6 with a T4 in 2012 being the clear highlight. Campbell is ranked number one in bogey avoidance on the PGA TOUR.
The 2016 Champion Golfer of the Year will look to continue his improved play as he posted a T13 this past weekend in Charlotte. After a slight mid-season slump, Stenson has rattled off top 30s in eight of his last nine starts, worldwide. The Swede is 0-for-3 at Sedgefield CC, making his first appearance since 2012.
Simpson has gained 3 or more strokes over the field in each of his last five starts. His short game has been magical lately, gaining strokes around-the-green in each of his last seven starts with ShotLink lasers. Even better, Sedgefield is a course that he seems to like, boasting six top-25 finishes with five in the top 11. His familiarity with the area and course that yielded is his PGA TOUR win is a big boost. He should be a strong play and find the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Bradley is playing Sedgefield Country Club for the second time, finishing T46 last year in his debut. He arrives with top 35s in four of his last five starts and during that time has gained a whopping 32.2 strokes over the field. He has gained three or more strokes off-the-tee in each of those five starts, which is a great indicator of his confidence right now.
Hagy hits the ball a mile and is chomping at the bit to record his first PGA TOUR win. His recent play has yielded top 20s in three of his last five starts. Some players who hit the ball far can be long and wrong, but Hagy has the all-around game to accompany his distance. That should help him fare well this week, especially when you consider the weaker-than-usual field he's facing. Hagy ranks 3rd on the PGA TOUR in total driving distance and has made 17-of-24 cuts on the season.
The Wake Forest product is coming off a T54 finish at the PGA Championships and now he heads to Sedgefield Country Club, near his old stomping grounds. Making the cut in seven of his last eight events, Haas arrives with a bit of confidence. He has solid course history at this event with top 30s in seven of his last eight appearances at Sedgedield. He will likely be one of the more popular plays as gamers look at these stats. I think he has the ability to play well here and should be around on the weekend.
Dufner is another who struggled at the PGA Championship, finishing T55 and never really getting anything going. He has played Sedgefield many times, collecting four top 35s in seven tries. He's finished T50 or worse in three of the four starts since winning at the Memorial, but this week's second-shot layout presents a good chance to get back on track.
After losing the lead on Sunday to the eventual winner, Justin Thomas, Kisner comes into Sedgefield looking to improve upon his T10 result from 2016. He has gained 17.2 strokes in his past five events with last week's near-win being a nice highlight. Kisner is a local from South Carolina who went to the University of Georgia so he has strong ties to the South and should be a fan favorite this week in Greensboro.
Stanley couldn't put it together for the PGA Championship as he failed to find the fairway and greens, missing the cut by multiple strokes. Having time to rest as he watched the weekend from afar, Stanley looks to take advantage as he takes on a course he finished T14 on last year. Riding a wave of confidence from his success this year, I like Stanley to bounce back from his MC with Clemson fans cheering him on all week. Stanley is ranked first in ball striking as well as 5th in strokes gained off the tee on the PGA TOUR and should make for a strong play this week.
After a T48 at the PGA last weekend, he heads down to play in the Wyndham Championship, a course he has played five times. Last year, Horschel had his best finish yet with a T5 after finishing MC-T47-T46-T30 the previous four years at this event. I think he can make the cut again, especially against the weaker field we see this week.
My Top 15 for the Wyndham Championship
1. Bill Haas
2. Webb Simpson
3. Brandon Hagy
4. Chad Campbell
5. Kevin Tway
6. Billy Horschel
7. Ollie Schniederjans
8. Henrik Stenson
9. Jason Dufner
10. Kevin Kisner
11. Ryan Moore
12. Byeong Hun An
13. Chez Reavie
14. Shane Lowry
15. Bud Cauley