Fantasy Golf Picks: Wyndham Championship Sleepers & Strategy
Defending Champ: Camilo Villegas
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Generally an afterthought, or the answer to the trivia question, “Where did Sergio Garcia last win on US soil?,” the Wyndham Championship is actually shaping up to be something you may consider watching this week. The trek to Greensboro marks the final chance for players to enhance their placement in the FedEXCup standings. Only 125 golfers qualify for the playoffs and many on the bubble, or the outside looking in, decided to add the Wyndham Championship to their schedule to make sure they stay in the running for the $10M payday. Normally, this field is populated with second (third and fourth) tier players, but 2015 has been an odd season, and guys like Luke Donald (No. 124) and Charl Schwartzel (No. 125) have to play to protect their spot. Even players well within the Top 125 will be in attendance to pad their totals and hopefully take some pressure off themselves for the first two legs of the playoffs. Cough, cough… Adam Scott (No. 91).
Of course, the Wyndham Championship wins big with Tiger Woods (No. 187) playing this event for the first time in a last-ditch effort to sneak into the post-season. Unfortunately for ol’ Eldrick, he basically needs to win, needing almost all of the 500 FedEXCup points to quality. There’s a chance he could do it with a second place finish (300 points), but that would require some help from the field. Either way, this is likely the last chance you’ll get to see Tiger on your TV for some time.
Wyndham Championship Key Stats
Greens in Regulation
Par 4 Efficiency 400-450
Par 3 Efficiency 225-250
Distance from the Center of the Fairway
Only a Par 70, Sedgefield CC is an outlier compared most PGA layouts. It’s relatively short (7,130 yards), but can’t be dominated with sheer power. Strangely enough, merely clubbing-down and keeping it in the short grass isn’t a sure fire way to the top of the leaderboard either. Fairway or rough, it doesn’t really matter; as long as players give themselves the proper angle to the hole, which is very similar to the Valspar and Heritage. Since it’s difficult to determine which players actually have the best ball control from the tee-box, as driving accuracy is all encompassing, I’m starting with “distance from the center of fairway” numbers. No, it’s not a perfect guide, but it will reveal which players consistency get the ball, presumably, where they’re trying to hit it. Problem is, just because a player can drive the ball exactly where he wants, doesn’t mean he has the optimal strategy for attacking the pin. So, again, use it as a starting point.
Beyond that, with eight of the 12 Par 4s falling between 400-450, using efficiency from that range should help point us in the proper direction. Also, the two difficult Par 3s skew long, so the leaders in 225-250 yard efficiency is worth a gander as well. The first page of the leaderboard will be populated by those who dominate GIR, proximity and SG: Putting, however those numbers tend to be fickle week-to-week. The overall totals are worth researching, but shouldn’t be blindly trusted as predictive for any single event. Finally, for DFS purposes, it never hurts peeking at which players excel on courses sodded with Bermuda grass to find value deeper in the pricing list.
Wyndham Championship Picks
Bill Haas & Brooks Koepka - Since his turbulent three event stretch from the middle of June through the end of July, Bill Haas has begun putting the pieces of his game back in place. Following the three consecutive missed cuts, Haas rebounded, going T4, T25 and T65 in his last three starts. With the Wyndham Championship, he gets the ease of playing in familiar settings: He’s a North Carolina guy, born in the Tar Heel State and played his college golf at Wake Forest. And results have followed. Since 2009, Haas has made 5/6 cuts at the Wyndham Championship with three T10s, including a T2 last year. As a bonus, Haas will be relatively low owned with most Fantasy gamers gravitating towards Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, and Adam Scott. For the second spot, I shan't be fading Brooks. Koepka enters with six straight T20s and ranks second in the field (only trailing Scott) in total strokes gained on Bermuda grass. If you’re desperate to catch up in the standings and need a sleeper, Matt Every has considerable upside with strong putting, course history, and affinity for the grass type.
A-List Alternates: Adam Scott & Matt Every
Hideki Matsyuama, Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel & Paul Casey - The “B-List” is pure chalk this week. There are five top ranked players to pick from, and you can take four. Only Martin Kaymer misses my roster cut. Nothing personal against the German, but someone’s gotta take a seat, and I prefer to roll with the quartet of golfers with superior Tee-to-Green numbers.
B-List Alternates: Martin Kaymer, Nick Watney, Daniel Berger & Chesson Hadley
Branden Grace & Will Wilcox - Everyone’s going to be on Branden Grace, fresh off his solo third at the PGA Championship. Doesn’t matter. Grace should be able to feast on Sedgefield’s simple layout. He’s been terrific on the greens this season (Eighth SG: Putt), and his PGA TOUR GIR numbers are a tad misleading. While the South African sits a horrible 137th in GIR at 64.86%, he’s a eighth in the EURO TOUR GIR metrics at 74.2%. Chalk the discrepancy up to Grace’s initial struggles when he first ventured to America in late February. In addition, he’s 18th on TOUR in the key Par 3 distance this week (225-250 yards). If you’ve followed this column, even for a week, you know Will Wilcox is DA GAWD… colored ball use aside. On top of his Top 10 placement in most pertinent stats, Wilcox is fifth from the key Par 3 distance and fourth in efficiency on Par 4s from 400-450 yards. Statistically speaking, he’s basically Jason Day. The breakthrough is looming, so jump on the bandwagon.
C-List Alternates: Austin Cook & Bryce Molder
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