I already had so much respect for what Collin Morikawa had accomplished in his short PGA Tour career, but what he did at Harding Park last week just took that respect to another level. He went toe-to-toe with an absolutely packed and talented leaderboard and easily came out on top. He showed no nerves whatsoever. He now has as many majors as he does missed cuts on tour. The sky is the limit for this young kid.
We downshift a little bit this week as we play the last event before the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. This week might not include the same caliber of field from the PGA Championship, but there will be fierce competition as there are guys fighting for a place in the playoffs. This week we are covering the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club (7,127 yd par 70) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
It seems like when we have events in the Carolinas, there is talk of “home field advantage” for players who are from the area. That was very much the case last year as North Carolina native JT Poston won his first tour event while the runner-up was Webb Simpson, another North Carolina native. Poston rose to the top of the pack by leading the field in GIR and ranking 2nd in driving accuracy (Simpson ranked 1st.) Poston also went the entire week without posting a bogey. Even though Sedgefield is one of the easiest par 70s on tour, that is still an amazing accomplishment.
It is a little hard to pinpoint one or two statistics that point to success this week. Hitting fairways was a common denominator amongst the top finishers last year, but there isn’t much to penalize players who miss the fairway. The most important stat IMO is GIR. Whether you hit the fairway or not, greens can still be hit. Proximity to the hole also is an important factor.
Take a look at the recommended picks for the week:
Webb Simpson: While he was 2nd place last here, his history here is so strong that he has to be the favorite to win. He is 10-10 since 2010. He won in 2011. He has 8 top 11 finishes, two of which are 2nd place to go along with a third-place finish. 31st in driving accuracy and 29th GIR set up his top 20 ranked putting.
Paul Casey: Casey played well enough at Harding Park to win, he unfortunately was bested by an amazing performance from Morikawa. Everything in his game was solid last week, except for his driving accuracy (58.9%.) Despite missing so many fairways, he still managed to hit a very impressive 76.4% of greens in regulation. The rough at Sedgefield won’t be nearly as penalizing which means he could hit a ton of greens (ranks 10th in GIR on tour.) T13 last year and that could be improved on if he hits a few more putts. Also has a T3 to his name at Sedgefield.
Top-End Maybe: Justin Rose, Patrick Reed
Kevin Kisner: 5-5 at Sedgefield with 2 top 10s. Solid play since the restart with a solo third and two other top 25s (T13 last week at Harding Park.) Accurate off the tee and solid putter. If he can consistently hit greens, he is primed for a good run this week.
Harris English: 6 for 6 at Sedgefield with 2 top 15 finishes. Finished in the top 20 in each of his last 4 starts. 11th in GIR.
Mid-Tier Maybe: Si Woo Kim, Billy Horschel, JT Poston, Corey Conners, Brenden Todd, Ryan Moore
Value Play Love:
Henrik Norlander: 5-5 in his last 5 events including T6 at the Memorial and top 25s at the Rocket Mortgage and 3M. His GIR (19th) game projects well this week.
Value Play Like:
Kyle Stanley: Taking a little bit of a shot here in going with Stanley. I love his GIR (2nd) and Driving accuracy stats(4th.) T13 at last year’s Wyndham Championship. T32 at the 3M Open and T12 at the Barracuda Championship.
Value Play Maybe: Jim Furyk, Brice Garnett, Lanto Griffin
Any questions or comments?
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