GOLF Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, August 15 at 5:30 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is August 16 at 7:00 AM EST.
The Wyndham Championship
The final week of the regular season is upon us this week as we head to Greensboro, North Carolina. The last three to four weeks have been a tough stretch of golf for most of the Tour’s elite and most of them will be resting this week in preparation for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The narrative this week will be “bubble boys” (players looking to get into the FedEx Cup Playoffs) so there is lots of a talk about “extra motivation” but we look at it as an opportunity to fade overpriced players or get behind undervalued ones.
The Donald Ross design at Sedgefield Country Club is a largely nondescript affair, although his trademark small greens offer an insight into which kinds of players might thrive in Greensboro. Playing at 7,127 yards for its Par 70, Sedgefield is fairly tight off the tee too, so finding the right areas off the peg is key as one approaches the tiny Bermuda greens. They typically slope from back to front and run quickly at about 12 on the stimp, and it’s no surprise that those who have a strong four days with the putter tend to get the job done here. This is an easy layout with the last four winning scores here reading -22, -21, -17 and -17. It’s noticeable that the scoring has gotten better as the switch from Bentgrass to Bermuda came in 2012, with Si-Woo Kim, the 2016 champion, carding a round of 60.
This is an important week on TOUR. The top 125 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of this week's Wyndham Championship qualify for the Playoffs. They're also fully exempt on the PGA TOUR in 2017-18. Those who aren't yet fully exempt and finish 126-200 in FedExCup points qualify for the http://Web.com Tour Finals. That series begins on Aug. 31-Sept. 3 with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. This is the first time that earnings will not be used to determine status, so if you care, be sure to cross check who's inside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings. Do not assume that a golfer inside the top 125 on the money list after the Wyndham has a TOUR card next season.
What we’re looking for this week:
The Wyndham Championship throws up such an array of different champions it can be hard to know where to start our search this week. Sam Snead and Davis Love III have both won this tournament in their fifties, and yet five of the last nine winners were all picking up their maiden PGA TOUR title. The number of outsiders and long-shots that have won here in recent times is extraordinary: four of the last five champions were priced at 100/1 or greater with the sportsbooks.
Why is that? Sedgefield certainly isn’t a difficult course, and so there’s not the usual ‘cream rising to the top’ feel that you see at more complex layouts. The switch to Bermuda greens arguably helps many in the field too. The recipe judging by the stats of recent winners is find the fairways (length is irrelevant), approach well with mid to short irons and putt like a demon; both Henrik Stenson and Si-Woo Kim ranked second for Putting Average in their victorious efforts. Arguably the key stat is Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders. There are only two Par 5s, but with a winning score of late teens or early twenties under par, clearly headway must be made on the standard holes too.
As for correlating courses, Donald Ross layouts are few and far between on Tour. His East Lake stretch hosts the FedExCup curtain call that is the Tour Championship, and Oak Hills hosted the PGA Championship in 2013. Other points of interest may be the Wells Fargo, which is also played in North Carolina, and oddly the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. That’s a resort-style layout, so there’s no obvious similarities, although former Wyndham champions Webb Simpson, Si-Woo Kim and Luke Donald have all finished second at Harbour Town too.
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at BET365 because of their cash-out option during the event:
To Win outright:
Abraham Ancer 66-1
Ancer sits 84th in the FedEx Cup standings so he’s not really under any pressure to do well here to get in, as his spot in the playoffs is secure. Let’s call this a tune-up for his playoffs debut but don’t think for a second that he’s backing in. Ancer has timed this strategically, as he’s sat out the past two weeks after a solo fifth at the Canadian Open to close out July that started with a T4 at the Quicken Loans National. Ancer has four top 10’s among seven top 20’s this season. He ranked second for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green at the Canadian Open a couple of weeks ago, which suggests that a cold putter stopped him from improving on that top-five finish. Perhaps a switch to Bermuda greens will provide the catalyst? Regardless, Ancer is entering his prime, he’s ready to go and perhaps most importantly, he now knows that he belongs on this stage (Risking 0.2 units to win 13.2 units).
Ryan Armour 110-1
Ryan Armour has missed three cuts in a row so his stock is low but we’re not too worried about Ryan his form. He won’t have been exposed to Links golf all that often so a missed weekend in the British Open is no big deal, and he missed out again at the Canadian Open and the PGA Championship on the number and by two strokes respectively. A trip to a layout where his precise driving will be rewarded gives the Sanderson Farms Championship winner ample opportunity to return to form. Also worth noting is that prior to that trio of missed weekends, he was solo second in the Quicken Loans National. Armour also finished T14 at the Fort Worth International back in May and ranked 1st in that event in SG: Around the Green. Rounds of 61 and 64 here at Sedgefield last year makes him even more appealing at this price against a much weaker field (Risking 0.2 units to win 22 units).
Whee Kim 80-1
2018 has been a peaceful year for Whee Kim so far, with a win in Korea back in June backed by three top-10 returns on the PGA circuit. The most recent of those came at the Canadian Open, where he contended very nicely before the outstanding Dustin Johnson consigned the Korean to a share of second. Despite missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Kim still comes away in credit: his second round of 67 was excellent. Kim ticks a lot of boxes this week, as he’s in good form and ranks 16th ON TOUR in Approaches from 125-150 yards, 16th in Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders and 19th in SG: Putting (Risking 0.2 units to win 16 units).
Norman Xiong 400-1
Just because we have to. The rookie is 0-5 in cuts made and hasn’t gotten over the nerves of being a pro and the pressure that comes with it. That said, this is an enormous talent that could wake up at any time. A good start would go a long way in unleashing that talent so keep your eye on Xiong and continue to play him because he’s going to wake up at some point. We’ve written about him in the past right here if you are so inclined (Risking 0.2 units to win 80 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for The Wyndham Championship
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS for The Wyndham Championship
The H2H wagers below are for 72 holes:
#7022 Ollie Schniederjans +133 over Sergio Garcia
It’s been about five months since the birth of his daughter Azalea, and it has been just about that long since Garcia’s last top 10. Garcia became a father at age 38 with a shelf full of trophies and a Green Jacket in the closet. His heart is not in this anymore and when you’re heart isn’t in it, your head isn’t either. Garcia committed to this event long ago. In fact, the event committee had this to say back last year after Sergio committed to the event:
"This news is obviously big for the Wyndham and all of our fans. Sergio is incredibly popular in the Triad, and this will be a great opportunity for us to congratulate him on his 2017 Masters win and cheer him on throughout the week.
We’re pretty sure he would rather be at home with his daughter and wife. Many will argue that he needs to have a strong showing to qualify for the FedEx Cup but we’ll argue that he does not care. Garcia’s season ended a long time ago. Mentally, he’s checked out. He’s going through the motions only and we’re suggesting that he’ll either take some time off or hit the reset button next season. It's a lane in which Garcia coasts alone, so let him.
What we like about Ollie this week is that he’s a late entry to the field, meaning he sees an opportunity and really wants to compete this week. That’s more than we can say for Sergio. Ollie’s game has steadied late this season and he’s currently 82nd in the FedEx. He finished fifth at the Barracuda a few weeks back and finished second at this event last year. This wager is more about fading Sergio though than it is about backing the hat-less wonder (Risking 2 units to win 2.66 units).
#7032 Rory Sabbatini -108 over Graeme McDowell
For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance. The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race. McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. His best results this year have come in Europe and he’s playing this week because he had to and he’s playing under some real pressure for the first time in a long time. He also missed the cut here last season. This is a pure fade on a golfer heading the wrong way and under pressure to perform. Rory Sabbatini just happens to be his H2H match-up but we’re ok with him.
Rory Sabbatini has had a bit of a resurgence this season on tour after struggling in recent years, though the past couple of months have been a little up and down. However, coming off of a 12th-place finish at the Canadian Open, it appears that he's back on track heading into the playoffs. He is accurate off the tee and is reasonable at hitting greens. He's done well on comparative courses like Harbor Town, Innisbrook and Colonial this year. He's also been very good at Sedgewick in recent years, finishing in the top 10 in his past two starts. He's one of the more underpriced players and this is not a difficult matchup (Risking 2.16 units to win 2 units).
Julian Suri +114 over Steve Stricker
Like Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker also committed to this event almost a full year ago. That’s rather interesting when you consider that Stricker is 50-years-old, he’s been playing professionally since 1996 and has never played Wyndham before. He has chosen to skip this event for the past 22 years. His main source of income these days is not on the PGA Tour but rather the lesser Champions Tour. Stricker can still golf and compete but we cannot ignore that he’s committed this week after choosing to skip this event for over two decades. Finishing 50th at the easy Canadian Open in his last event, Stricker is not in a favorable spot here, yet he’s favored over Suri because Stricker has a market presence while Suri does not.
Back near his collegiate digs at Duke, Suri is making his tournament debut here but we suspect he’s played this course plenty of times as an amatreur. Coming off a tied for 19th at the PGA Championship where he co-led in GIR and ranked third in Proximity to Hole, the American has delivered some decent performances on home soil this term with a top-10 at the Houston Open aside from last week’s strong showing. Suri is one of those modern players who you sense gets into trouble when trying to uncork a huge drive, and so paring down his power off the tee should suit him here; especially considering that he is such a good iron player. A full-time member of the European Tour, the 27-year-old finished T2 in the Open de France in July, and picked up his maiden victory at the Made in Denmark roughly a year ago to the day. Suri is top-notch talent that is priced higher than so many inferior pros including Stricker. That’s value (Risking 2 units to win 2.28 units).
Total units wagered for the Wyndham Championship is 6.96 units and we'll update the results at the conclusion of this event.
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They offer win-only odds in the outrights and for the PGA, European, Champions and LPGA Tours only, but they make up for this in terms of value in their matchups. They consistently offer unique tournament matchups for the PGA which at 10-20 cent lines and no ties are the best on offer in the business.
Wyndham Championship (Risking 6.96 units - To Win: 0.00)
GOLF Historical - Totals
|Last 30 Days||1||1||0.00||-1.38|
|Season to Date||13||14||0.00||-4.18|