The Wyndham Championship gives players a final chance to secure their full playing privileges on the PGA Tour for next season, with the top-125 also earning a spot in the 2019 FedEx Cup play-offs.
Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina is the host venue and it’s a relatively short par-70 at just 7,127 yards, where a mix of long hitters, accurate drivers, and hot putters have prevailed in the last few seasons. The list of winners since 2010 comprises Arjun Atwal, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Camillo Villegas, Davis Love III, Si Woo Kim, Henrik Stenson, and Brandt Snedeker, with winning scores varying between –14 and –22.
Sedgefield Country Club was established in 1926. The fairways, rough, and greens are all Bermuda grass, and the greens have been faster since they were re-laid in 2012. The course also features 13 water hazards, with 12 creeks and 1 pond strategically placed for players willing to take on the challenge of risk and reward golf.
Despite that, the course normally ranks in the top two easiest courses on the PGA Tour each year and that could be why a variety of players have won their first PGA Tour event here. Si Woo Kim, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson, Arjun Atwal, and Patrick Reed all broke their ducks in the Wyndham Championship.
Since the FedEx Cup started, it’s also interesting to see where the winners where in the FedEx Standings going into the week, 80th, 75th, 44th, 105th, 78th, and 102nd, suggesting it could be worth taking a punt on an outsider or two this week.
Brooks Koepka has a 572-point lead in the FedEx Cup standings so, with the winner of the Wyndham Championship earning just 500 points, those at the front of the market may not be that motivated.
Instead, they may wish to conserve their maximum efforts for The Northern Trust and the BMW Championship where the winners receive 2,000 FedEx points.
Despite that, this week’s market leader Webb Simpson still deserves a mention as he has an excellent record around Sedgefield. Having won in 2011, he’s finished in the top-six in four of the last five years and comes into the event having twice finished runner-up in his last four events. That combination of excellent current and course form may be too much for some to resist, but 10/1 about a Simpson victory looks on the short side.
Second favourite Hideki Matsuyama has also placed here in the past but, having looked a threat a few weeks ago, he has performed poorly in his last two tournaments. Jordan Spieth also finished second on his only previous visit here but, despite flashes of his former brilliance in recent events, he’s yet to convince he’s due an imminent return to the winner’s circle.
One player who claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory last week was Collin Morikawa, and it was a win that looked likely to come sooner rather than later having finished second and fourth in his previous two starts. Despite that great run of form, it’s asking a lot of him to win back-to-back having secured his place in the play-offs in 46th place in the standings.
Four places below Morikawa is former Sedgefield winner Patrick Reed and he knows he needs a big performance soon if he is to make it all the way to the Tour Championship at East Lake. He’s made the final event of the FedEx Cup in each of the last five seasons and three top-12 finishes in his last four events suggests he’s found his form and motivation at just the right time. He’s only played here twice since his win but, having finished no worse than 24th, he looks value at around 22/1.
The resurgent Rory Sabbatini currently sits 14 places away from a spot at East Lake and he’s a player that could easily land at least some each-way money this week. He’s finished fourth and eighth here in the past from just four visits and has hit the top-six in three of his last seven events.
A player that has already plundered the huge FedEx Cup pot is Bill Haas and, whilst he probably hasn’t run out of money, this multiple PGA Tour winner seems to be fighting to make the play-offs. He’s finished 10th and 11th in two of his last three starts, which suggests he’s not far off the form that saw him finish 7th, 2nd, and 6th here in 2012, 2014, and 2015. At 140th in the FedEx standings, his motivation is obvious this week.
Four places in front of Haas in the standings is Jason Dufner and, though he’s often said he could happily give up golf and trade stocks and shares for a living, the fact he finished 18th last time out suggests he might have a final push in him to make the top-125. You do have to go back to 2012 to find his last top-10 finish here, but this major winner could find what it takes to climb 11 places up the standings this week.