Best bets for the PGA Wyndham Championship

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Wyndham Championship

Lee Hodges, a pre-tournament price of 80-1, won the 3M Open wire-to-wire last weekend for his first career PGA Tour victory. Hodges shot 24 under (260) for a seven-shot victory over J.T. Poston, Kevin Streelman and Martin Laird. The seven-shot margin was the largest on the PGA Tour since Dustin Johnson won the 2020 FedEx St. Jude Championship by 11 strokes. Hodges moves up to 33rd on the FedEx Cup standings and to No. 54 in the Official World Golf Rankings and earns a spot in next year’s Masters plus a two-year PGA Tour exemption.

 

With the clinching of his spot in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Hodges withdrew from this week’s Wyndham Championship. This week’s event in Greensboro, N.C., is the final chance for players to play their way into the top 70 to make the playoffs starting next week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis.

Tom Kim will not defend his Wyndham title as he withdrew last week with an ankle injury. Fellow South Korean Sungjae Im, who finished runner-up last year, is the 20-1 co-favorite along with Hideki Matsuyama.

Russell Henley (22-1) has finished in the top 10 here each of the last three years. Also at 22-1 is Sam Burns, who is the highest-ranked player in the OWGR (20th) and FedEx Cup standings (19th) in this field.

Si Woo Kim (25-1) won the Wyndham in 2016 and has three other top-5 finishes (2019-2021) here.

Shane Lowry (33-1) and Adam Scott (35-1), who lost in a six-way playoff here two years ago, are both just outside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings (Lowry 76, Scott 81) as is Justin Thomas (35-1), who sits 79th.

Denny McCarthy (35-1) has been knocking on the door to earn his first PGA Tour win with a runner-up in June at the Memorial and four other top-10 finishes in 2023.

Poston (40-1) went with an aggressive approach on 18 attempting to make eagle and put pressure on Hodges but ended up making triple bogey and costing himself $260,000 and 90 FedEx Cup points. The 2019 Wyndham winner now comes into this week 49th in the FedEx Cup standings instead of 38th.

The Event

The Wyndham Championship was established in 1938 as the Greater Greensboro Open (Wyndham Hotels & Resorts took over as sponsor in 2007). The event has a lengthy history and has been the site for several PGA Tour records. In 1965, Sam Snead set PGA Tour records for being the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event (age 52) and for most wins at a sole event (8th win). Fifty years later, in 2015, Davis Love III won here at age 51 and became the oldest player to win on the PGA Tour in the Senior/Champions Tour era (1980).

The Course

Sedgefield Country Club, in Greensboro, N.C., took over as host of the Wyndham Championship in 2008. The Wyndham is held at the Ross Course, named for its designer Donald Ross, which opened in 1926. The course was renovated in 2007 by Kris Spence, a golf course architect based in Greensboro, who worked as the course superintendent at nearby Forest Oaks Country Club, which hosted the Wyndham from 1977-2007.

Sedgefield is a par-70 of 7,131 yards. It is a typical Carolina course with tree-lined fairways, pine straw and Champion Bermudagrass throughout. The course is a par-70 with only two par-5s and four par-3s. Nine of the 12 par-4s are less than 450 yards. The two par-5s are each shorter than 550 yards and are the easiest group on tour with a combined birdie-or-better rate of 59%.

The fairways are narrow (29-yard average — ninth narrowest on tour) and the rough measures at 2.5 inches. There are five water hazards in play on six holes and the layout is not all that heavily bunkered (52 on course — seventh fewest on tour); however, the fairway bunkers at Sedgefield are the toughest from which to reach the greens in regulation. The Champion Bermuda greens (average 6,000 square feet) undulate and are fast (12.5 stimpmeter).

Six of the past seven years the winning score has been at least 20 under. Over the past five events, the course has played to an average of 1.24 shots under par, making it the 13th-easiest track in the tour rotation. There are only six holes that average over par. When winds are down and conditions are soft, low scores are in play, as evidenced by the course record of 59 that was set by Brandt Snedeker on his way to victory at the 2018 Wyndham.

If looking for a course correlation, here are some other Donald Ross designs: