There is a nice size donut hole in the PGA schedule which is also known as the Wyndham Championship. Given the “strength” of this field, it could also be known as the “Breaking Wind Championship.” After two straight high quality events (to put it lightly) there is a low purse event when many of the top players will be choosing to rest up for the FedEx Cup playoffs. There is not even the luxury plane to ferry the players from Greensboro to [LOCATION] that the John Deere Classic offers to entice players. As a result, only two of the top 25 OWGR ranked golfers will be playing (Henrik Stenson whose ranking depends on glory past and not form present) and Kevin Kisner.
Personally, I tend to discount the narrative of finding golfers on the cusp of a playoff spot having “extra motivation” to post a good showing. If, as a professional, you cannot find the motivation to practice your craft every week, then you should give up your tour card to a gazillion handicap such as myself. As a result, my thoughts will stick straight to the numbers, as usual. While I get that golf is a mental game, I do not deign to have a degree in psychology so I will not attempt to guess what is going on in a player’s head (unless you are talking about Grayson Murray because it is right there on his twitter feed. Block me Grayson, please).
The course this week is the run-of-the-mill Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro North Carolina. The Ross Course is a Par 70, 7127 yard layout universally regarded as one of the easier venues on the Tour. The course does not have many defenses – perhaps it’s only defense is that it is a par 70 because if it were a par 72, we would be looking at 30 under as the winning score. It is said that the fairways are narrow, but golfers have won in the past (Bill Haas) when missing up to half the fairways. Most of the par 4’s are in the low 400 yard range, leading up to short approach shots onto the green. There is even a par 5 that measures in at just under 500 yards. Many of the par 4’s are doglegged, which will leave short to medium distance approach shots. While bombers’ advantage is largely mitigated, players who have a good short iron game have the edge. The fairways are not exceedingly difficult to hit, but the rough around the green rewards accuracy on approach.
The key stats that I am looking at this week are par 4 birdie or better percentage and approaches from 100-125 and 125-150. Without further delay, here is who I am looking at this week
Webb Simpson (DK $10,000) – Webb put up a decent showing at the PGA Championship, which was held at a club where he was a member. This course won’t penalize him for his lack of length off the tee. Simpson has probably the best course history of anyone in the field with [FINISHES]. Simpson has played some solid golf recently with [FINISHES] The only thing that gives me pause is that Webb underperforms when he is a top option, but for the value, he is every bit as good as the other top options.
Jason Dufner ($10,400) – If anything, Dufner should be well rested after missing the cut last week. Duff Daddy has cooled off considerably since his win at the Memorial, but this is exactly the kind of course that suits him. When a course calls for iron play, it’s Dufner time.
James Hahn ($9,000) – Throw out the British Open (where Lefty’s Hamlet routine kept alternate Hahn on ice until the last minute) and Hahn has four top-20 finishes in his last five. Hahn was a steady 13th at the PGA Championship and has looked very comfortable on the course as the weather has heated up. While he is more expensive than he usually is given the weak field, seeing Hahn near the top of the leaderboard would not be a stretch. He does not grade out well here statistically, but this recent form is just too good to pass up.
Byeong Hun An ($8,900) – Benny was all the rage around Texas time this year, but has not played much this summer after a brief sojourn on the Eurpoean Tour. He was a cut making machine early on and DFS players have a notoriously short memory. I love An’s short iron game as he is 3rd on the Tour in approaches from 100-125 and 14th from 125-150. Anything to keep him from having to putt….
Lucas Glover ($8,400) – This course has Bermuda grass so it is safe to play Glover. LGlov had his early season run of contention on Bermuda grass courses in Florida, Hawaii and California. Signs of life from Lucas of recent including a 33rd last week at Quail Hollow (which was recently switched to Bermuda grass). Four top 25 finishes here at Sedgefield. His price is skewed by his mid-season struggles which he is shedding.
Kevin Streelman ($8,300) – has been automatic of recent with seven made cuts in a row, but always seems to be priced a cut below the elite. He played great at Travelers, another short and easy course. Streelman has not played in a month due to not qualifying for the past two majors, but should be rested. He has made 7 cuts in a row.
Chad Campbell ($7,900)– Campbell was a little chalkier his last time out in Canada and with his price this week may be popular again. His recent form is superb with seven made cuts in his past eight including 3 top 20’s in a row before a 32nd in Canada. His mid-range approaches are great and he is third on the tour in approaches from 125-150. Has a 4th place here in 2012.
Kevin Na ($7,500) – Na always comes up in the list of short course specialists. He single handedly destroyed my LU in the John Deere Classic after I played him solely based on this factor. While Na missed the cut at the PGA Championship, he had a huge run early in the second round which may give him momentum for this week. He is also one of the better players in the field on Bermuda grass greens
Tom Hoge ($7,100)– Hoge is the exact weak-off-the-tee player that this course equalizes. One of the shortest and wildest players off the tee on the tour actually has a chance here due to the short holes and wide fairways. Hoge has a solid approach game and is the 2nd best players on the Tour in approaches from 100-125. He also is 27th on the tour in birdie average and has made three cuts in a row, including a 4th place at Barracuda his last time out. A definite value play at his price.
Daniel Summerhays ($7,100)– this is exactly the type of spot where you find Summerhays close to the top of the leaderboard – an easy par 70 with a weak field. Summerhays is always priced cheap every week, which draws players in routinely and makes the cut only to fade over the weekend. This is more of a cash game play
BACK END BARGAINS
Tag Ridings ($6,700) – while I am not high on many golfers below the $7,000 line, Ridings has shown an ability to rack up the birdies over the last several weeks and should be able to keep pace at a high scoring course. While most of his damage comes on Par 72s, there really are not many better options at this price.
Jonathan Byrd ($6,700) – again, I don’t recommend veering below the $7,000 range this week, but Byrd has proven that he can challenge on the leaderboard in limited Tour Action this year. He posted a 5th place finishes against a weak field in the John Deere Classic and has five wins on the Tour before dropping down to the Web.com Tour.
Ryan Moore ($9,600)- Moore should be back in the circle of trust after back-to-back good showings at Bridgestone and the PGA Championship following time missed and early season struggles due to his shoulder injuries. When on, Moore is close to automatic. Plus, he loves Bermuda grass. I was hoping for a sub $9,000 price on Moore, but alas, it did not happen.
Chez Reavie ($8,100) Another weak field darling who rarely disappoints and has made seven cuts in a row with finishes no worse than 48th. Reavie has put up great showings in both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship and will undoubtedly be heavily owned at this price which is cheaper than he was priced in Canada against a stronger field. The only caveat is a weak course history with three straight missed cuts here, but recent form should trump course history.
Anirban Lahiri ($7,600) – He has not done much of anything since he popped with a second place finish in the Memorial. Two things I like about Lahiri this week are his Par 4 Birdie or Better % (26th on the Tour) and his proficiency on Par 70s. The caveat is whether his struggles on the weekend for the PGA Championship carry over here.
Kevin Kisner ($11,300) – While Kisner is the most complete player in the field, I am always leery of golfers the week after having a late round stumble in contention at a big tournament. I am not saying that Kisner will MC, but he may not return value for his hish price tag this week.
Henrik Stenson ($11,500) Continuing on the theme of fading the high priced golfers, Stenson has not dominated a field this season. I am drawing a parallel to the Nordea Masters where he limped to a mid-table finish as the high price golfer in the field. V
Seamus Power ($8,000) – Until recently, Power was the Michael Kim of 2017 – a cutmaking machine who always seemed to stall out and hover around 50th on moving day Although Power has been a cut making machine, I am typically leery of golfers the week after they have had a sudden price spike. Last time out of the gate, Power was priced at $6,800 and still has some more to prove before he can be trusted as an $8,000 golfer. There are better pivot points at his range (Reavie and Campbell).
Seamus Power –. Power has started to be in the weekend conversation the past few weeks, cracking the top-25