Event and Course Preview: Wyndham Championship

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Event and Course Preview: Wyndham Championship

The 83rd edition of the Wyndham Championship takes place this week in Greensboro, North Carolina. Formerly known as the Greater Greensboro Open, this event has taken place at Sedgefield Country Club every year since 2008. Kevin Kisner won last year, edging out five other golfers in an epic two-hole playoff.

Course Preview

Golfers will see a Donald Ross track for the second week in a row. Sedgefield CC is a 7,131 yard par 70 track with the typical four par 3s, twelve par 4s, and two par 5s. There are 52 sand bunkers and 6 holes with water hazards that come into play. The course features burmudagrass from the tee boxes to the greens, with the rough grass measuring 2.5 inches. The average size of the greens are about Tour average, coming in at 6,000 square feet. One of the defining features of Sedgefield is the eight par 4s that measure 400-450 yards long.

Quick Points
  • Course Architect: Donald Ross (1926), Kris Spence (2007)

  • Par: 70 (Four Par 3s, Twelve Par 4s, Two Par 5s)

  • Distance: 7,131 Yards

  • Greens Surface: Bermuda

  • Average Green Size: 6000 - About PGA Tour Average

  • Number of Holes With Water Hazards: 6

  • Sand Bunkers: 52

  • Rough Length: 2.5 Inches Bermuda

  • Historic Cutline: Even to -3. Last year was -2.

Pivotal Holes

The twelvth hole is the longest par 3 on the scorecard, measuring 235 yards long. The difficult two-tiered green produces a lot of three putts thanks to the simple undulations designed by Donald Ross. Depending on the hole position, many golfers play it short to avoid being above the hole. The hole sees bogies at 16% rate compared to a 13% birdie rate.

The two par 5s are by far the easiest holes on the course, with both of them seeing birdies over half of the time. The fifth and fifteenth holes measure 529 and 546 yards respectively, meaning many golfers can reach the greens in two shots. Both holes see eagles over 4% of the time, so look for your golfers to score well on these two holes.

The eighteenth hole is one of the more difficult holes at Sedgefield, as it sees bogies more than any other hole on the course (24%). The closing hole is the longest par 4 on the course, measuring a lengthy 507 yards. There are four large bunkers that surround the sides of the course’s most difficult green. This hole will make your Friday cut sweat a bit more nerwracking if your golfers finish with the back nine.

Watch the Early-Tee-Time Livestream Monday at 6 PM ET as welcome on Sam Wagman for a first look at the Wyndham Championship.

Key Stats

  • SG: Approach

  • SG: Par 4s 400-450 Yards

  • Birdie or Better Gained

  • SG: Putting on Bermuda

As with many courses, SG: Approach will reign supreme this week. The last 5 winners at Sedgefield gained an average of 6.1 strokes with their irons. When looking at proximity numbers, I would zero in on 100-200 yards, as over 70% of approach shots come within that range.

Top 5 Players in SG: Approach
Russell Henley
Shane Lowry
Harold Varner III
Scott Stallings
Mark Hubbard
DFS Values: Aaron Wise (6th), Davis Riley (7th), Stephan Jaeger (8th).

Eight of the eighteen holes are par 4s that measure 400-450 yards long. The other ten holes are diversified quite a bit, so lets take a look at who scores well on Par 4s that measure 400-450 yards.

Top 5 Players in SG: Par 4s 400-450 Yards
Brendon Todd
John Huh
Tyrell Hatton
Andrew Putnam
Joohyung Kim
DFS Values: JT Poston (6th), Adam Svensson (7th), KH Lee (7th).

Five of the last six winners reached -21 or -22, so we need to target players that can light up the scorecard. Here are the top 5 players in Birdies or Better Gained over the last 24 rounds.

Top 5 Players in Birdie or Better Gained
Adam Svensson
Will Zalatoris
Aaron Wise
Vincent Whaley
JT Poston
DFS Values: Scott Brown (6th), Nick Hardy (7th), Taylor Pendrith (8th).

After multiple weeks of courses that feature bentgrass or poa greens, golfers will see Bermudagrass for the first time since the Florida swing. This week I am targeting golfers who putt well on Bermuda. The last five winners of this event gained an average of 5.4 strokes with the flat stick.

Top 5 Players in SG: Putting on Bermuda
Martin Trainer
Brian Gay
Tyrell Hatton
Brendon Todd
Kevin Kisner
DFS Values: Chesson Hadley (6th), Justin Rose (7th), Sepp Straka (8th).

Check out Pat James’ Stat Model article for a more in-depth breakdown of the main stats to look at this week.

Tournament History

Kevin Kisner won the Wyndham Championship last year in a six-man playoff. Yes you read that correctly, six golfers finished at fifteen under par and played teed off on the first playoff hole. After all six players parred the first hole, Kisner sunk a birdie to edge out Si Woo Kim, Adam Scott, Kevin Na, Brandan Grace, and Roger Sloan. Kisner shot a 66 (-4) in the final round to erase a four-shot deficit.

Last Year’s Chalk

The top 5 highest owned golfers from last year include:

  1. Webb Simpson - 35% (T7, -14)
  2. Mito Pereira - 22% (MC)
  3. Will Zalatoris - 20% (T29, -10)
  4. Russell Henley - 19% (T7, -14)
  5. Patton Kizzire - 16% (MC)
The last five winners of this tournament include:
  • 2021 - Kevin Kisner (-14)

  • 2020 - Jim Herman (-21)

  • 2019 - JT Poston (-22)

  • 2018 - Brandt Snedeker (-21)

  • 2017 - Henrik Stenson (-22)

Here is how each player fared from a Strokes Gained perspective:

SG: OTTSG: APPSG: ARGSG: PuttingSG: T2G
Kisner (‘21)0.83.91.24.45.9
Herman (‘20)4.35.9-0.76.29.3
Poston (‘19)1.76.81.94.110.4
Snedeker (‘18)0.17.93.13.511
Stenson (‘17)1.36.11.18.88.4
Average1.66.11.35.49

Looking at the data, it’s very clear that a path to victory at the Wyndham includes solid irons and hot putting. There certainly aren’t any bombers in this list, so we don’t necessarily need to emphasize driving distance this week.

The Field

Will Zalatoris is the top-ranked player in this field, as he currently ranks 13th in the OWGR and 9th in the FedEx Cup standings. Billy Horschel, Sungjae Im, and Shane Lowry are the only other players in this field that are currently inside the top 25 of the OWGR. Defending champion Kevin Kisner will tee it up this week, and he will be joined by three other golfers who were in last year’s playoff, Si Woo Kim, Rodger Sloan, and Adam Scott. In addition to Kisner and Si Woo, Jim Herman, Webb Simpson, JT Poston, Davis Love III, Camilo Villegas, and Ryan Moore are other past champions in the field this week. Chris Gotterup and Cole Hammar got a few of the sponsor exemptions, and top rookies such as Davis Riley, Taylor Pendrith, Aaron Rai, and Adam Svensson are also in the field.

Sedgefield CC Course History

Webb Simpson

Webb is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field when looking at course history at Sedgefield. He has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last five years and has has nine top-8 finishes here in 13 starts. He won in 2011 in his third start shooting eighteen under par. One of the more impressive stats I found: Webb has gained TWICE as many strokes here over any other player in the field. Made Cuts: 12/13. Best Finishes: Winner (2011), 2nd, T2, 3rd, T3, T5, T6, T7, T8.

Kevin Kisner

On top of winning here in 2021, Kisner has never missed the weekend at Sedgefield. In seven starts, Kisner has four top-10s and has gained strokes putting in each event. Before he missed the cut in Detroit, Kisner finished T21 at The Open and T6 at the Travelers. Made Cuts: 7/7. Best Finishes: Winner (2021), T3, T8, T10.

Billy Horschel

Although Horschel has never won at Sedgefield, he has only one missed cut in nine starts and has finished inside the top 11 in each of the last three years. We haven’t seen Billy since his T21 at The Open, so he should be well-rested. Made Cuts: 8/9. Best Finishes: 2nd, T5, T6, T11.

Other Course History Options to Consider
  • Brandt Snedeker: Made Cuts: 11/14. Best Finishes: Winner (2007, 2018), T5, T5, T8.

  • Si Woo Kim: Made Cuts: 4/6. Best Finishes: Winner (2016), T2, T3, 5th.

  • Sungjae Im: Made Cuts: 3/3. Best Finishes: T6, T9.

  • Rory Sabbatini: Made Cuts: 5/7. Best Finishes: T4, T6, T8, T10.

  • Denny McCarthy: Made Cuts: 4/4. Best Finishes: T9, T15, T22.

Essential Questions

What should we do with Webb Simpson this week?

As I just mentioned, Webb is the king of the Wyndham. So much so that he named his daughter after this tournament. His odds to win the tournament currently sit as the 5th lowest in the field and he is the second most expensive golfer on DraftKings. I am curious to see where his ownership shakes out, as he hasn’t been playing very well recently. He’s lost strokes on Approach in three straight events that resulted in two missed cuts and a T69. I will likely stay away from Webb this week unless his ownership is shockingly low in DFS.

The Wyndham Championship is the last event before the FedEx Playoffs. Who needs a solid week to jump inside the top 125?

To advance into the FedEx Cup Playoffs that begin next week, golfers must rank inside of the top 125 of the FedEx Points standings. Golfers such as Rickie Fowler, Stephan Jaegar, and Chesson Hadley are all currently on the bubble and need a solid finish this week to ensure their place in the playoffs next week. Does mean to automatically lock them into your lineups since they have some extra motivation to play well? Not necessarily, as there is clearly a reason they are on the playoffs bubble in the first place. Depending on ownership, I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on Jaeger, who finished 5th last week at the Rocket Mortgage and gained strokes in all four major stat categories.

Early Betting and DFS Picks

Sungjae Im

Sungjae is my favorite DFS play this week for a few reasons. First, he grades out very well in some of the key stats I’m looking at this week. He ranks 13th in Par 4s 400-450 yards, 3rd in SG: T2G, and 7th in SG: Ball-Striking. He’s had his best putting performances on Bermuda and has finished T6 and T9 in two of his three starts here. The fact that he is priced below Webb Simpson in DFS is laughable to me. I will be heavy on Sungjae ownership this week.

Si Woo Kim

Si Woo has been “boom or bust” at Sedgefield. He has either missed the cut or has finished inside the top 6 in his six starts here. He won his first PGA Tour event here in 2016 and has said Sedgefield is one of his favorite golf courses. After stringing together back to back top-15 finishes, I like Si Woo as a top-10 bet this week and will take a stab at him in DFS.

Joohyung “Tom” Kim

Yep, I’m team South Korea this week at the Wyndham Championship. Tom Kim has been wonderful since he received his special temporary membership earlier this month. He has two top-7 finishes in his last 5 starts and has gained strokes on approach and putting in four of his last five starts. He officially earned his PGA Tour card for next year last week with his 7th place finish at the Rocket Mortgage, so he is playing with no pressure this week. Like I said, I will be on team South Korea in DFS this week.

Early Tee Time Livestream - Monday @ 6 ET

Well, that does it for this week’s Event and Course Preview. For a more in-depth breakdown of the course, the field, DFS strategy, and my favorite picks this week be sure to check out the Early Tee Time livestream this Monday at 6 PM Eastern. Good luck everyone!

*All stats used are from FantasyNational and DataGolf

Hunter Vanness started his golf content by posting a player pool each week on Twitter, which eventually turned into a DFS cheatsheet, in addition to a weekly event preview. He is fascinated by the game theory part of PGA DFS and is continuing to dive into the data side of the game.