The PGA Tour moves to Greensboro, North Carolina, this week for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. It’s a watered down playing field with many golfers taking the week off following the grueling Quail Hollow track, giving us just five players in the top 50 World Gold Rankings competing.
But 500 FedEx Cup points are up for grabs, and it’s still golf so we can’t complain.
This may be an unconventional way to analyze things, but I’m not focused on course history this week. When looking at recent Wyndham winners, it hasn’t impacted their performance.
Last year’s winner Si Woo Kim had played the course once and missed the cut that year. In 2015, Davis Love III had missed the cut in his previous two appearances. Camilo Villegas had decent course history entering his 2014 win, but nothing special. Patrick Reed in 2013? Had never played the course before as a professional.
Instead, I’m looking at these key stats as players to target:
Strokes gained: Tee to green – Recent winners have finished 1st, 19th, 3rd, 7th, 1st in strokes gained.
Strokes gained: Approach – Previous winners have finished 2nd, 12th, 2nd, 4th, 8th in the approach stat.
Proximity – With the exception of Sergio Garcia in 2012, winners have finished near the top – 1st, 7th, 7th, 2nd, 36th – in proximity to the hole.
Birdies – Sedgefield is historically one of the easiest courses on tour, meaning players are going to shoot low, low scores this week. For this reason, guys who make a ton of birdies can fly up the leaderboard in a hurry (pun intended). Past results: 1st, 12th, 27th, 2nd, 5th
Note: All stats courtesy of FantasyNational.com are based on the last 36 rounds.
Jason Dufner (25-1)
— Brian Hall (@bhallwfmy) August 15, 2017
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 4th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 2nd
Proximity – 1st
Birdies – 5th
Despite Henrik Stenson and Kevin Kisner being the top two betting favorites, Jason Dufner is my pick this week. He’s the top golfer in this stat model with great numbers across the board. After legendarily saying the course last week at Quail Hollow kicks you right in the “dick,” Duf has an easy layout this week he can take advantage of.
Bud Cauley (40-1)
— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) August 8, 2017
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 1st
Strokes Gained: Approach – 5th
Proximity – 19th
Birdies – 20th
Cauley is close friends with Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, so he has to win next, right? I think he has a great chance to do so in Greensboro. He’s the top-ranked tee to green player in the field and is top five in approach shots. He’s finished inside the top 10 three times in 2017 and is playing pretty decent as of late.
Ben Martin (45-1)
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 21st
Strokes Gained: Approach – 3rd
Proximity – 4th
Birdies – 8th
It’s not a sexy pick, but I’m really liking Ben Martin this week and the model does as well (3rd). Great approach numbers and puts those shots close to the cup. Martin’s tee to green stats may look down, but just last month at the Barbasol Championship – where he finished 6th – he led the field in the category.
Kyle Stanley (50-1)
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 5th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 18th
Proximity – 3rd
Birdies – 9th
Maybe it’s foolish to go back to Kyle Stanley again after his missed cut at the PGA Championship, but I’m doubling down. He’s actually 2nd overall in this model, above the likes of Stenson and Kisner. If you know Stanley, he can be really good or play very poorly, so hopefully this is the correct week to bet on him.
Danny Lee (55-1)
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 9, 2017
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 26th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 14th
Proximity – 30th
Birdies – 6th
If you overlook the fact that Danny Lee missed the cut last week at Quail Hollow, you would see he has been consistent this summer with four top 10s dating back to the Byron Nelson in May. His overall golf stats aren’t impressive on paper, but the poor PGA Championship deflated those numbers which were previously solid. He makes a lot of birdies which is great for this tournament.
Chez Reavie (60-1)
Strokes Gained: Tee to green – 16th
Strokes Gained: Approach – 8th
Proximity – 2nd
Birdies – 19th
Reavie has quietly made seven-straight cuts and is coming off a 22nd place showing at the PGA Championship. In fact, he ranked 3rd last week in tee to green – above the winner Justin Thomas. He’s a nice dark horse play.