Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, August 16 at 2:00 PM EST.
Those who participated in the PGA Championship won’t have far to travel to the Wyndham, as the PGA TOUR stays in North Carolina, switching from Charlotte to Greensboro and Sedgefield Country Club.
This is your run-of-the-mill Par 70 by all accounts, measuring 7,127 yards and played out on a typical heathland stretch. There really is nothing special to note here: the course has been playing progressively easier since the Bermudagrass was planted in 2012, with Si-Woo Kim winning at -21 last year which featured a round of 60. Fairways are easy to hit and while the average-sized greens can play fast, there’s been plenty of rain in North Carolina, as we know, and that is likely to slow things down somewhat.
The emphasis is on good iron play here, and a premium on quality ball strikers as emphasized by a 1-2-3 of Si-Woo, Luke Donald, and Hideki Matsuyama 12 months ago. Donald Ross was the man responsible for the original layout at Sedgefield, and he also was the prime designer for a number of relevant courses including East Lake (annual host of the Tour Championship), Oakland Hills (2016 US Amateur Championship), and Pinehurst No 2 (US Open 2014, US Amateur Championship 2008). These Donald Ross greens are smaller than the norm – a Ross trademark, and so a good tee shot is going to give a nice look in to the greens, but none of the stats suggest that length is particularly important; after all, Davis Love III won here in 2015.
Si-Woo gained a huge +3.84 strokes on the field from tee to green and +2.29 on approach, so dialing in the short irons is essential this week. If you can get your ball close – and a top pro should really be able to with an eight or nine iron in hand – then putting becomes more irrelevant than normal.
You can look to other Donald Ross creations for guidance – we’ve listed some of those above, and here’s another interesting bit of info to consider: three of the most recent winners at Sedgefield in Ryan Moore, Davis Love III and Arjun Atwal had all missed the cut here the year prior to their triumph, which is most unusual indeed. As for a profile of a winner, well, this tournament has seen everyone from talented youngsters (Si-Woo and Patrick Reed in 2013, who beat a pre-pubescent Jordan Spieth in a playoff), journeymen pros (Camilo Villegas) and wily old foxes (Davis Love III) take the spoils, so there is no obvious angle to follow in but we’ll stick with our plan of in not going after anyone under 40 or 45-1 because there are just too many above those odds that have just as good a chance of winning. Hopefully, one or more of the following will be at or near the top on Sunday.
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at Bet365 because of their cash-out option during the event.
D.A. Points 150-1
After opening 68-73 at the PGA Championship, people were starting to wonder if 750/1 shot D.A. Points could secure the unlikeliest of major victories. He fell away over the weekend but that’s to be expected from a short hitter on what became a grueling test of strength and power. In fact, you look at Points’ resume in 2017 and it’s littered with missed cuts and poor performances but that is no great surprise from a player who averages 276.6 yards off the tee. But when he is dialed in, Points is excellent. He won the Puerto Rico Open earlier in the year in a field which was even sparser than this, believe it or not, and delivered top-25s at the Houston Open and Wells Fargo. He’s finished in the top-20 in two of his last three visits to Sedgefield, and last year he ranked eighth for strokes gained from tee to green. He also ranks 23rd ON TOUR in Approaches from 125-150 Yards and 29th in Strike Gained (SG): Approach. Yeah, it’s a shot but at this price at this well-suited course, Points is worth a bet (Risking 0.2 units to win 30 units).
Kyle Stanley 50-1
The 2016 edition of this event rewarded quality ball-striking and they don’t come much better in this field than Kyle Stanley. The 29-year-old has enjoyed his coming-of-age season on the PGA TOUR, landing a long overdue second title but adding an element of consistency to his game: nine top-25s and five top-10s testament to that. Stanley gained +1.71 strokes on the field from tee-to-green here last year, finishing T14, and ranks 10th and 11th respectively on tour for SG Approach and Tee-to-Green. The guy is a machine and you may not find a bigger underlay on the board for this event. That Chris Stroud, Bill Ho and Chad Campbell among others are shorter odds than Stanley is bordering on ludicrous. This is true value, as Stanley should probably be second or third choice in this field. That does not guarantee anything but we’d be very surprised if he didn’t make noise against this weaker field (Risking 0.2 units to win 10 units).
Emiliano Grillo 66-1
There has been little in Grillo’s game of late to suggest a big performance is imminent, but quite frankly he is far too good to be priced at 66-1 in this field. Since we’re in the buy low business, now would be about the best time to purchase Grillo’s talents. The 24-year-old is typically excellent off the tee and on approach, and while his short game often leaves a lot to be desired, that might not be such a handicap on a course where most Par 4 and Par 5 greens can be landed in regulation with consummate ease. The Argentine has missed three of his last five cuts but those were all majors, and in the more hospitable and birdie-friendly conditions at Sedgefield, he should relax sufficiently to play some good golf. Top-15s at the Arnold Palmer and THE PLAYERS Championship show his quality, and if Grillo brings anything approaching his A-game to Greensboro, he could shoot very low numbers all four days indeed (Risking 0.2 units to win 13.2 units).
Rory Sabbatini 110-1
We’ve been tracking Sabbatini’s upswing for quite some time, and there’s a lot to be said for getting behind a guy at this price whose form reads 17-23-55-19-14 heading into a low-quality event like this. Sabbatini’s improvement can be attributed to improved confidence, which has enhanced his tee to green numbers to no end, and let’s not forget this is a six-time PGA TOUR winner we’re talking about; here lurks a quality operator. When in the zone – as he is right now – the South African peppers fairways and greens and scores as well as anybody and if he can cut out those silly mistakes, then he could he easily compile a low, low score at Sedgefield and win this event (Risking 0.2 units to win 22 units).
Ryan Ruffels 160-1
At the Canadian Open in late July, Ruffels was T5 going to the final round but faded on the final day. Ruffels has vowed to learn from his final-round fadeout at the Canadian Open and we wouldn’t put it past him to come up big this week. With an average driving distance of 309.7 yards, second in the Canadian Open field behind big-hitting Dustin Johnson (313.7), Ruffels muscled his way to a third round four-under-par 68 and a 14-under total. This kid has all the makings of a star and those lessons learned will prove invaluable. Ruffels has played just five events and has made the cut four times. He has two runner-up finishes, a T12 and a T37, which is three top 25’s in five events. Of course, three of those four events were “B” events but this 19-year old is an amazing talent with nerves of steel that could do some serious damage on a course like this against a field like this (Risking 0.2 units to win 32 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for The Wyndham Championship
Last week in our head-to-head matchups we picked three all for 2 units and it worked out great (3 for 3) so we’re going to stick with that format for now.
We wrote all about Bradley above and if we love his chances to win this event, we absolutely like his chances to finish ahead of Keegan Bradley (Risking 2.2 units to win 2).
In almost every preview of this event, you are going to see Bill Haas’ name mentioned because he’s had success here in the past but we couldn’t care less. Haas is the second best player in this matchup but is favored because Moore is somewhat off the radar. Ryan Moore is only 25-1 to win this event (same as Haas) but we have a big lean to Moore and here’s why:
After suffering a season-affecting injury in the early summer, Ryan Moore has bounced back well with a T28 at the WGC-Bridgestone backed by T13 at the PGA Championship last time out. He was outstanding from tee-to-green at both events, as you might expect from a five-time PGA TOUR winner, and at Quail Hollow in particular he was outstanding: ranking seventh for SG: T2G. So Moore heads to Sedgefield with plenty of confidence and the knowledge that he has won here before, albeit back in 2009, while a T10 in 2015 satisfies any doubts about his game since the switch to Bermudagrass. Other decent showings at Donald Ross designed courses, including a pair of top-10’s at TPC River Highlands and solo second at East Lake last year whet the appetite for a really strong week from the 34-year-old. This bet is so appetizing (Risking 2 units to win 2.1).
Chris Stroud was a late entry into the PGA Championship by virtue of his Tour win the previous week. He was also in the mix on Sunday at the PGA Championship under the bright lights of the big stage with the media covering his every shot. Chris Stroud has had more press and coverage the past two weeks than he’s had his entire career combined and we trust that he’ll go back to being the Chris Stroud he’s always been this week. A bigger letdown spot you will not find this week.
Meanwhile, Grayson Murray had his letdown spot already, which occurred at the Canadian Open the week after he won the Barbasol Championship. This is all about hopping aboard the bandwagon while it's in motion. His missed cut in Canada after his breakthrough at the Barbasol wasn't unexpected, but a T22 (despite a closing 75) at the PGA Championship was a welcome surprise. Now making his Wyndham debut while playing on house FedExCup point, Murray has been in outstanding form for weeks (aside from the Canadian Open) and it would surprise us not if he slayed this H2H matchup (Risking 2.4 units to win 2).
5 golfers to win outright @ 0.2 units each = -1 unit
Kyle Stanley -110 over Keegan Bradley = -2.2 units
G. Murray -120 over Chris Stroud = +2 units
#7008 R. Moore +105 over B. Haas = +2.1 units
Therefore 4.1 units (wins) - 3.2 units losses = a total net profit for this event of 0.9 units
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Wyndham Championship (Risking 7.6 units - To Win: 0.00)