The Confidence Factor: 79th Wyndham Championship

Henrik Stenson returns to defend his tournament-record-setting performance at Sedgefield Country Club.

79th Wyndham Championship

Sedgefield Country Club

Greensboro, North Carolina

 

Sedgefield Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,127
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Champion Bermuda; 6,500 square feet on average
Stimpmeter: 12′
Rough: Bermuda up to three inches
Bunkers: 48
Water Hazards: 12
Architects: Donald Ross (1926); Kris Spence (2007)
Purse: $6 million/$1.080 winner/500 FEC Points
Defending Champion: Henrik Stenson, 258 (-22)
Fact of the Week: This is the last regular season event. The top 125 after this week will advance to the FedExCup Playoffs.

 

Notes:

  • 156 players. Top 70 and ties will play the weekend.
  • Only eight of the top 50 OWGR in the field this week.
  • The only player to defend here is Sam Snead. Yeah, that one.

 

2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)
RBC Canadian Open Dustin Johnson (3)
Barracuda Championship Andrew Putnam*
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas (3)
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)

 

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam.

You need course form? Read the above.

You need keys to victory? Read the above.

You need course preview? Read the above.

You need a history lesson? Read the above.

Every week.

Every column.

 

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 258; Henrik Stenson (2017)
Tournament Record (to par): -22; Henrik Stenson (2017)
Course Record: 60; Si Woo Kim (2016)
Recent Defending Champion(s): Nope
Multiple Winners: Nope
First TOUR Win (last): Si Woo Kim (2016), Patrick Reed (2013)
First Win in First Appearance (last): Nope
Low Round Last Year: 61; Matt Every (Round 1), Ryan Armour (Round 2)
Rookies of Note Last Year: Ollie Schniederjans (2nd), Richy Werenski (T10), J.J. Spaun (T16)
Odd Fact: Of the last seven winners, five have won THE PLAYERS, including the last three.
Odd Fact II: The No. 125 player has SURVIVED in seven of the last eight years at this event. Tyrone Van Aswegen is on the clock!

 

Quick Thoughts

First week on Bermuda for most here since June in Memphis should help those looking for an excuse to get back on track. There is nothing difficult about the setup and execution this week. The pressure will be on going low and some guys don’t handle that very well.

With the course record and tournament record both being broken in the last two years, the field will be wide-open again this year. Players will have to loosen up the shoes and make plenty of birdies to stay on pace. This requirement shouldn’t bother the rank-and-file as they have spent the summer doing exactly that at John Deere, Barbasol, RBC Canadian and Barracuda. The only difference this week is the Bermuda. With a 51-year old, 21-year old and a 41-year old winner last year, there’s no doubt that a 31-year old will win this time around.

I mentioned this in The Confidence Factor but it’s worth mentioning again: Guys aren’t going to play well or poorly this week based on their FEC standing. If they were THAT GOOD they would have flipped the switch many events ago so they wouldn’t have to get after it this week. I’ll touch on a few below that could make sense. Remember, there is MOAR INFORMATION in The Confidence Factor above.

Recent Event Winners

Event moved to Sedgefield in 2008 so course history from Forest Oaks is worthless.

Year Player Winning Total MOV
2017 Henrik Stenson -22 1
2016 Si Woo Kim -21 5
2015 Davis Love -17 1
2014 Camilo Villegas -17 1
2013 Patrick Reed -14 Playoff
2012 Sergio Garcia -18 2
2011 Webb Simpson -18 3
2010 Arjun Atwal -20 1
2009 Ryan Moore -16 Playoff
2008 Carl Pettersson -21 2

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament; LTO= LAST TIME OUT; LW= Last week; LY= Last year this event. I’m tired of typing all that out!

Webb Simpson: This is one of the biggest no-brainers of the season. Plenty of gamers will be kicking themselves as not to having this fella left in their OAD world. The Raleigh native, Wake Forest grad and Charlotte resident is the 2011 champ and has added top-six paydays in three of the last five years. He’s finished T20 in all four majors, won THE PLAYERS and is playing great.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello: If his third trip progresses like his first, he’ll be giving Simpson a run for the money. He opened with 63 in 2016 and cashed T5 after MC in 2014. The Spaniard tuned up nicely last week by closing with a bogey-free 64 for T10 at the PGA Championship after T17 in Akron.

Brandt Snedeker: With top-10 in three of his last seven and a solid position at No. 80 in the standings, the only angle Snedeker is playing for this week is a win. After missing out last year with injury he’s looking to add another top 10 to his haul. Very solid finish at Bellerive isn’t chasing me away.

Hideki Matsuyama: Knock. Knock. Knock. He opened with 67 at Firestone but didn’t fire. He posted three rounds in the 60’s last week including a closing-round 66 that included a double. If he finds anything tee-to-green his class will take over. He added this event last minute so he must be encouraged.

Daniel Berger: His posted 41 on his first nine at the PGA Championship and finished the week T12. I guess we should beware the injured golfer on a case-by-case basis!

Joaquin Niemann: He creates plenty of chances (2nd GIR) to make plenty of birdies (2nd birdie average) and that’s the key this week. The only way into the FedExCup Playoffs is to win this week as Special Temporary Members aren’t eligible. He’s 14th in scoring average and playing one of the easiest courses on TOUR. Good combo.

Shane Lowry: The Irishman is in fine form but is down to this event to keep his card for next year. His three-year exemption after winning the 2015 WGC-BI expires Monday and he’s turned up class. He put all four rounds under-par in Canada for T12 before opening with 62 at Montreux (T15). His second round 64 missed the PGA mark by a shot as he eventually cashed T12. It’s 12 rounds on the bounce with nothing above 70 so he’s not going to have to alter his approach this week.

Julian Suri: I’m overpaying here but I’m leaning on the Duke factor. He’s not unfamiliar with golf in this part of the world/country. Similar to Niemann, he doesn’t seem bothered by any of it and he’s won twice in Europe in the last 15 months.

Ryan Moore: The 2009 champ has posted just five rounds of 70 or worse in 7 events since moving to Sedgefield. He sacrifices distance for accuracy but that won’t be an issue this week. It will be his putter that determines his finish.

Jason Kokrak: The only dud in his last four was at Carnoustie so I’m giving him a pass. He qualified for The Open on the back of T3 at Greenbrier where he opened 65-64. He closed with 66 in Canada for T12 and posted three rounds of 68 or better last week for T19 in St. Louis. His 63 in Round 3 last year shouldn’t be ignored either.

Henrik Stenson: Ok, champ, let’s see if there is anything in the GAS (GiveAShit) tank this week. He continues to play so whatever is bothering him isn’t bothering him enough to cause a WD or sit out to be ready for the Ryder Cup. A steady diet of 3-metal and GIR should help cure what ails him.

Harold Varner III: The only two guys on this list who didn’t play the last two weeks are this guy and Niemann. He’s 43-under in his last and that’s with a two-over round included. Sitting at No. 105 the Gastonia resident will look to improve on his T10 from last year that included 63.

 

Others of Interest:

Just missed the list above because of a wart or two; order isn’t important.

Russell Henley: Odd scheduling as his last two events were Carnoustie and Bellerive with no prep for either. The last two go-low events he played he was T6 at Travelers and T10 at Greenbrier. I should probably move him up.

Chad Campbell: Coming in HOT!!! Picked up two top-10’s in his last four with T7 JDC and solo second at Barracuda LTO. The veteran has played the weekend the last three years at this event and he’ll need to make it four to keep his card for next year.

Ollie Schniederjans: Gave it a sniff here last year as he finished second on 21-under. He went low two weeks ago at Montreux for solo fifth and backed that up with T59 in St. Louis.

Rory Sabbatini: Top-10’s in his last two (2013 and 2017) makes me wonder why he waited so long to return. We haven’t seen him since T12 at Glen Abbey.

Kevin Tway: For a big, strong fella he worked it around Colonial (T5) and TPC River Highlands (T6) so dialing it down a bit shouldn’t be an issue this week.

Brian Gay: Down the sprinkler line and a ferocious putter is a solid combo this week with above-average sized greens. He has no problems going low but he’s never cracked the code here. He’s played nine of the last 10 weekends.

Whee Kim: He had no problem posting -20 in Canada for T2 in late July and he shot 67 Friday at Bellerive before MC. Something’s gotta give as he’s played this event the last three years and his best score is 70 exactly once. Gulp. When in doubt, lean on form, especially in the up-and-comers.

Si Woo Kim: Hard to completely ignore the course-record holder and former champ. It’s also hard to completely ignore his inconsistency.

Chris Kirk: 10 paychecks in his last 10 events and the best result is on Bermuda in Memphis. Noted.

Jason Dufner: Tie-breaker is his track record but that’s about it.

Sam Saunders: I don’t know if the bubble helps or hurts him but he’s cashed top-10 checks in two of his last four. He’s played this event the last three years and has opened 65, 66 and 63 last year.

Billy Horschel: He’s cashed in five of six but only once (T5, 2016) inside the top 30. He’s been wonderfully inconsistent this summer (T51, MC, T17, T2, MC and T35 LW) so he makes a perfect flier this week.

Martin Laird: Never missed in seven tries (one WD).

Matthew Fitzpatrick: Short-course, shot-maker player is fresh after MC LW. Nothing on the line this week so he’ll probably find the other gear.

C.T. Pan: Steady season with 14 of 20 cuts made including nine of his last 10. He’s trending in the proper direction and should factor this week after his season-best T11 LTO at Barracuda.

Tyler Duncan: The streak is now up to 11. Last four events he has a round of 66 or better including a 63 and 64. Sitting No. 106 he should be able to let it rip and turn in a big week.

Matt Jones: Enters on T19, MC, MC, T12, MC, MC and T15 LTO. He’s LOST his card three times in this event. THREE TIMES! He’s No. 146 so let’s see the roles reversed this week as the golfing gods shine down on the Aussies.

William McGirt: He’s going to have hip surgery after the season and be out for a while so he’s enjoying his “now” golf. The run is currently T12, T29 and sixth LTO at Barracuda so I’m gladly hopping aboard!

Long Shots

Johnson Wagner: He’s 24-under the last two years WITH a 74 on Sunday last year. He trailed by one before he posted the T-worst score of the day.

Hunter Mahan: Opened 65-65 before fading to T16 last year. Better nick this time around.

Danny Lee: Since his T7 at THE PLAYERS he’s MC in five of nine but all four checks were T21 or better. He’s MC in four straight at Sedgefield. DFS only.

Vaughn Taylor: Another top 10 at Barracuda LTO is a nice transition to a track where he opened 63-66 last year before fading to T50. Cheeky shout for FRL action.

Brice Garnett: Missouri native had a big week in St Louis and will look to continue on with birdies this week. Closed 67-65 in his last trip in 2016 for T20.

John Oda: Super DFS choice as he’s producing wherever he’s been playing this summer including T34 and T3 LTO on TOUR.

Brandon Harkins: Rates nicely in the stat pack plus broke up a MC-MC streak LTO with T9 at Montreux. Be careful as I’m not sure Bermuda is his preferred surface.

John Huh: Six checks in all six tries over the last six years. 6 6 6 people! Only one round over-par in that stretch. DFS gold.

J.J. Henry: He’s made the great escape TWICE in this event to keep his card including T16 LY to check in at No. 125. He’ll need something similar to 2008 when he closed 66-62 (T4) to retain his playing privileges.

Alex Cejka: Seven in a row on TOUR with five T40 or better.

Matt Every: Absolutely nothing happening at the moment but he is the proud owner of T5, T13 and T14 in five starts at Sedgefield. He opened with 61 last year.

Lanto Griffin: None of his seven consecutive paydays have registered inside the top 25. He’ll need the best of his season to keep his card.

 

Fades:

The road to success is filled with potholes. You don’t drive your car over them so why put them on your fantasy team?

Chesson Hadley: Home game for the Raleigh native hasn’t been kind in the past. His five MC in six tries with T57 doesn’t inspire and neither does his current form. Sometimes the home game presents too many distractions.

Martin Flores: Be careful historians! He was in excellent form this time last year. That’s not the case this season as his last top 25 was in the Dominican.

Jim Furyk: His course form will look tasty as well but he wasn’t the Ryder Cup captain the last two years either. He’s been jet-setting with the Ryder Cup on a promotional tour after playing at Bellerive.

Sergio Garcia: The odds of him playing poorly again would seem to diminish as we move forward. It might be a big ol’ birdie fest that knocks him out of his funk. It might not. He doesn’t have to worry about which Playoff event he’s going to skip this year if he MC again this week. He’s No. 131 currently.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

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