2017 Wyndham Championship Preview: Sedgefield Country Club (8/15/17)
The Wyndham Championship returns to Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina this week, not too far from Quail Hollow which hosted the PGA Championship. Sedgefield will play just over seven thousand yards at par-70. After its redesign in 2007, the course features Bermuda grass throughout with some length. Since, the greens have played at an above average pace, but the course isn't overly long.
Sedgefield features twelve par-4s, eight of which play less than 450 yards, three of which can play over 500 yards. Thus, the key metrics this week will be putting, tee to green efficiency, and accuracy off the tee. Proximity to the hole on shots around 150 yards will also play a key factor.
I'll break down the field into three categories: Top Favorites, Top Long Shots, and Duds. Favorites will be considered as those who have better than 50 to 1 odds, Long Shots will be 50 to 1 odds or worse, and Duds will be those who have better than 50 to 1 odds that I don't expect to achieve expectations this week. All odds are courtesy of Bovada.
Kyle Stanley is the best bet of the week. We are emphasizing putting for the first time in a while at Sedgefield, and Stanley is a below average putter, but it's hard to ignore his play from close range approach shots. Stanley averages 19'11” to the hole on shots 125 to 150 yards and 25'3” on shots 150 to 175 yards to the hole, the vast majority he'll face this week. Stanley's driving accuracy isn't the top mark this week, but he is more than one standard deviation above the mean when compared to the top 50 golfers this week by hitting 68.4% of fairways. The weather will also play to Stanley's weakness on the greens as the course has been softened over the last few weeks due to rain. They are calling for more rain throughout the weekend. This puts Stanley closer to the field average as the quickness of the greens will be lessened. Kyle Stanley is worth the risk at 40 to 1 in case he knocks in a few putts down the stretch.
Other Favorites with value in order of preference: Kevin Kisner (+1400), Chez Reavie (+4000), Webb Simpson (+2200), Keegan Bradley (+4000).
McDowell's has been a victim over the last few years of the lengthening of PGA Tour courses due to guys like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and even Tiger Woods overpowering most tour stops. McDowell hits an average drive of 278.3 yards off the tee. At a place like Quail Hollow, McDowell would be 200+ yards from the hole on most par-4s, a distance that he does not excel as he's hitting three to four clubs more than the top players into fast greens. Sedgefield will not produce that challenge. McDowell's average approach will keep him around 150 yards on approach shots this week. On shots around 150 yards, McDowell averages better than twenty feet proximity to the hole. With his ability to knock it close and the second-best putter in the field this week, McDowell has a better than 75 to 1, the 33rd best odds on the board, chance to win.
Other Long Shots with value in order of preference: Shane Lowry (+6600), Martin Laird (+9000), Danny Lee (+5000), Emiliano Grillo (+6600)
Byeong Hun An has reached a level of value over the past year on the PGA Tour and daily fantasy world. However, this is not the week to back An. At -0.211 shots gained putting, an average of 29'11” on shots from 150 to 175 yards, and a poor driving accuracy of 57.1%, An doesn't seem to fit the bid for Sedgefield. One impressive part of An's game that can help is his ability to get the ball on the green. At 1.162 shots gained tee-to-green, An gets about half that value off the tee box where he averages 300 yards with a driver in his hands. However, his inability to consistently hit fairways on a shorter, tighter course will inhibit him from hitting it close. Thus, he'll be required to make longer putts, an aspect in which his game has not excelled. If An is able to bomb it down some fairways, he certainly stands a chance, but I don't particularly like his chances at just 33 to 1.
Other Duds without value in order of avoidance: Grayson Murray (+4000), Chris Stroud (+4500), Bud Cauley (+2800), James Hahn (+3300)