Before the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin, the PGA Tour will be making a stop in Greensboro, North Carolina this weekend at Sedgefield Country Club for another edition of the Wyndham Championship. Most of the best players will be sitting this one out following a very exciting PGA Championship, but there should still be plenty of intrigue.
Webb Simpson and Brooks Koepka are the biggest stars in the field and they’ll be flanked by top-shelf players such as Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and PGA Championship runner-up Paul Casey. Expect to see plenty of birdies as long as the weather holds up.
Spieth Needs a Resurgence
Not mentioned in the list of players above is a guy by the name of Jordan Spieth who was once the hottest player in golf. The 27-year-old won three majors from 2015-17 and racked up seven other wins during that time. He looked like the next budding star, but now he appears to be a shell of himself.
Spieth has fallen to No. 60 in the World Golf Rankings and more times than not he has not been in contention at tournaments. He’s fresh off a T-71 finish at the PGA Championship where he really struggled on Saturday shooting a 76. He’s had a few top-10 finishes sprinkled in, but it’s been a long time since he was a legit threat to win on Sunday.
Golf is better with a good Jordan Spieth and here’s to hoping he can find his groove again very soon. It all begins and ends with ball-striking for the player just a PGA Championship shy of the career grand slam.
Last week was all about the bombers even though Collin Morikawa was able to pull out a win thanks to elite ball-striking and a very, very hot putter. However, some of the big bombers (Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Champ, Scottie Scheffler) all performed well and were factors on Sunday. This weekend in North Carolina, there is a different measure we are focusing on.
Average strokes gained approach rank of winners on PGA Tour since 2010
Tour average: 13.6
6 of the last 7 winners at Sedgefield ranked 4th or better in SG approach for the week.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) August 11, 2020
Approach shots will be the key metric for competing for a trophy on Sunday and that’s where we will be looking to when examining this field. Paul Casey ranks 3rd overall in this metric and leads the field proving there is again strong value on him at 20-1. Webb Simpson is the current favorite and it’s no surprise to see him check in at No. 11. Meanwhile, popular pick Brooks Koepka ranks outside of the top-50 and should be considered a stay away this weekend.
When looking for this week’s winner, this feels like a tournament where you should be able to find some value. It’s thinned out at the top and it would make a bunch of sense to play Webb Simpson due to the course fitting his game and his familiarity being a North Carolina native, but that’s no fun. Two weeks in a row we’ve hit on our top-10 picks and we’ll look to keep the hot hand.
Outside of posting a top-five at RBC Heritage, it has not been a good run for Joaquin Niemann as the 21-year-old from Chile has no top-30 finishes with two missed cuts outside of that performance at Hilton Head. However, this week sets up very well for him.
Niemann ranks in the top-10 in strokes gained approaching the green and in the top-50 strokes gained driving. The hope is those second shots can eliminate the need for chips and that is where his game really struggles. The putter is due to get hot and at 50-1 odds this will be a nice payoff for the 69th ranked golfer in the world.
Abraham Ancer has been rock solid since the return of golf and the Mexico native currently has a streak of 13 consecutive cuts made. The 29-year-old is now in the top-25 in the World Golf Ranking, but is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory. He is solid across the board (top-50 in strokes gained off-the-tee, approaching the green, putting) while having produced four top-10 finishes this season. You should be able to get odds around +250 for that and while not great it’s better than nothing.
As far as to make the cut, it’s going to be a shocker if Webb Simpson isn’t a contender this weekend. The setup was made for him in a lot of ways and he would’ve been the play this week if the field was just a little stronger. To get us on the board, play Simpson at -550 to make the cut. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little bit on his top-10 of +125 as well.