It is the final event before the FedEx Cup Playoffs as the tour heads to North Carolina for the 2021 Wyndham Championship. Sedgefield Country Club hosts (7,131 yards, par 70) this event as it has for many years. It is a classic tour stop.
Sedgefield is a Donald Ross design and plays similarly to other courses of his the tour plays. Sedgefield demands precision off the tee and with irons. The greens are bermuda and some of the smallest on tour. Hitting a ton of greens is a must to play well here.
Because of the small greens, really good iron players have done well here over the years. Webb Simpson being chief among them with a ton of top 5 finishes here. SG: Approach will be a major indicator of success this week.
Putting has also been more of a factor here than some other courses. With the relative ease of Sedgefield, the scores have been really low, meaning players will have to make a bunch of birdies. To make 25 or more birdies, players have to putt really well.
Also, the small greens typically allow for more good birdie looks. Players who are shorter hitters have always been able to compete in this event. Accuracy is the more important aspect off the tee this week. Looking at past leaderboards makes it obvious that all types of players are in play this week.
The field is pretty poor this year as the schedule has been brutal over the last month with the Open, the Olympics and the WGC last week. Also, many of the top players are taking a week off to gear up for the next three weeks of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Beyond SG: Approach and Putting, one thing to consider this week is the standing in the FedEx Cup. Some players have huge incentives on having a good week if they are flirting with that top 125 bubble. Players have to be inside of the top 125 to advance to the playoffs and retain their tour card.
Some examples of these players this week are Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, and Rickie Fowler. All are within a few spots of the 125 on both sides and need a good week to advance to next week’s playoff event.
2021 Wyndham Championship – Outright Picks
This tournament has produced some out of nowhere winners over the last handful of years with Jim Herman and JT Poston. I expect that trend to possibly continue. When tournaments are this low scoring, most players are in play if they ride a hot putter.
SG: Approach is the key stat as always but birdies or better gained, opportunities gained, and proximity stats will all be important this week as players will have to be hitting it close consistently to make enough birdies to compete.
SungJae Im +3000
Sungjae has quietly made five cuts in a row with a top 10 finish mixed in there. He hasn’t had the season he had probably hoped for after last year but he is rounding into form at the right time. His approach play is really trending in the right direction.
He has gained strokes on approach in five straight starts and is coming to a course he’s done well at. He has two starts at this tournament with two top 10’s. This is definitely a course where guys tend to play well year over year.
He is an excellent bermuda putter and has done well on other Donald Ross designs as well. He is someone who proved he can win and I like him in these birdie fest type of tournaments as well.
Russell Henley +3300
Henley is a perfect fit for Sedgefield and the number is tolerable for him this week. He relies totally on his irons and wedges and that will be the deciding factor this week. He is a streaky putter so if he finds good form there this week, he’ll be in the hunt.
Henley ranks top three in SG: Approach in this field over the last 36 rounds and his proximity from 125-175 is elite. He can really stick it close and he gives himself lots of makeable birdie putts.
Henley has been playing pretty well of late with three top 20’s in his last four starts and he is scoring in the right way for Sedgefield. Look for Henley to do some damage with his irons and wedges this week.
Longshots I like: Talor Gooch +6500 & Brian Stuard +14000
2021 Wyndham Championship – Top 10 Pick
Will Zalatoris +320
It was nice to see Zalatoris find his form again last week with a top 10 finish. He had been struggling for a while and he seemed due for a bounce back after a nice start at the Open before withdrawing.
Zalatoris thrives when the course demands elite iron play and Sedgefield definitely does. While I’m not sure he putts well enough to win here, his floor with how good his irons are is so solid. He actually putted really well last week though on bermuda.
His tee to green game is so good that a top 10 is possible even with poor putting. Zalatoris is arguably the best iron player in this field when he is on and good approach play is rewarded at Sedgefield. Also, he has a nice strategic style that will also be helpful here.
Longshot top 10: Rickie Fowler +600
2021 Wyndham Championship – Top 20 Picks
Seamus Power +230
Power has been playing the best golf of his career which includes a win in his last start at the Barbasol. He can go low and has been awesome with his iron play over the last couple months. He hasn’t finished worse than 19th since May in six starts which is hard to believe.
He typically is good with his driver and he will have to back off and hit fairways this week but he can definitely do that. He has gained strokes on approach in seven straight starts and has gained strokes putting in five of his last six.
He is just doing everything well right now, particularly what you need to do here, so riding his hot streak at this price makes sense.
Hank Lebioda +320
Lebioda has been one of the hotter players over the last few months particularly at birdie fest style events. Lebioda has seven straight made cuts with three top 10’s and two other top 20’s and was playing really well before a WD at his last event.
Lebioda is a perfect fit for Sedgefield as he is a plodder who relies on precision and positioning. He finds fairways and then excels with the irons and putter. His putting has been awesome over the last 36 rounds, ranking 10th in the field. His approach play has been almost as good, ranking 16th.
He has all the game for this course and is looking to make a run in the playoffs for the first time.
Longshot top 20: Tom Hoge +1100
2021 Wyndham Championship – Matchup Pick
Hideki Matsuyama +115 over Webb Simpson
This is certainly a risky pick and goes against the chalk here but their current form clearly leans to Deki. Matsuyama ranks 1st in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds while Webb has lost strokes on approach in three straight.
Deki is playing fantastic golf with a second place last week and a good finish at the Olympics. His approach play has been so elite that his floor is just so reliable and sustainable. He is playing the best he has in years with the irons.
Webb has had a couple better finishes recently but ultimately it hasn’t been a great year for him. His Wyndham record is obviously stellar but his recent iron form is concerning and he would really have to make a big change to compete here given his current form.
2021 Wyndham Championship – Watchlist
Stuard is priced way down the board this week despite a really strong last few weeks. Stuard has three straight top 15 finishes, all in events with low scoring like this one. His game is made for a course that doesn’t reward distance and forces good approach play and putting.
Stuard popped 6th in my fantasynational.com model this week and its clear to see why. He ranks top 30 in SG: Approach, Around the Green and Putting as well as Opportunities Gained and Fairways Gained. He couldn’t be a better fit.
He is a good bermuda putter and is riding a hot flatstick with five straight starts gaining strokes putting. Stuard is +225 for a top 30 finish and +163 for a top 40 finish. Plus, there have been some long shot winners here so I will be dabbling a bit there as well.
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