Wyndham Championship: 5 Things You Need to KnowNews Entertainment

The chase is on for the final FedExCup Playoff berths this week as the PGA Tour wraps up its regular season in Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship. Sedgefield Country Club hosts the event for its 12th consecutive time and 33rd time overall. In recent years Wyndham has taken on the feel of a wildcard playoff tournament with a sense of urgency because players know they don’t have any tournaments left to punch their playoff tickets. Here are five things you need to know about the 79th edition of the Wyndham Championship.

Sedgefield Country Club Hole 14

Inside the Field

Wyndham’s field of 154 players includes five FedExCup champions, eight past champions, and a host of players hungry for FedExCup points and a chance to crack the top 125 and make it into the playoffs. Defending champion Henrik Stenson is the highest-ranked player in the OWGR in the field. Sergio Garcia (131st) joins former FedExCup champion Bill Haas (147th), and major champions Graeme McDowell (142nd), Retief Goosen (146th), and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk (171st) as players needing points to move up and continue playing next week. Notable sponsor invitations include U.S. Amateur combatants Doc Redman and Doug Ghim, as well as Haskins Award winner Norman Xiong.

Bursting the Bubble

Sedgefield Country Club Hole 18

This week is the last chance for players to earn their way into the FedExCup Playoffs or earn full Tour exemption for the 2019 season. It’s an awkward nervousness playing for your job, not to mention the courtesy cars, free dry cleaning, and gigantic paychecks. The top 125 on the FedEx Cup Points List qualify for The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club, and will also be fully exempt on Tour next year if they aren’t already. Players just inside and just outside the top 125 will be jockeying for position all week, and being on the bubble makes for some of the greatest drama on the season. In the 11 years since the FedExCup debuted, an average of almost three players punch their playoff ticket in Greensboro.

History of Wyndham

Wyndham is the sixth oldest event on Tour, and this year marks the 12th consecutive time it acts as the last event of the regular season. Sam Snead won this championship eight times, including the inaugural event in 1938 when he earned a first place prize of $1,200, and in 1965 when he became the oldest player to win an event on Tour at the age of 52. The list of champions at Wyndham is a distinguished roll call of legends. In addition to Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Gary Player, and Seve Ballesteros all won in Greensboro.

Inside the Course

Sedgefield Country Club Hole 6

Sedgefield is currently the only Donald Ross course to host a Tour event. The 7,127-yard, par-70 track dates back to 1926 with small, undulating greens as its primary defense. Hole Nos. 6 and 14 are the two most difficult holes on the course and usually provide the biggest challenge during the week. A creek crosses the fairway on the 423-yard, par-4, 6th leaving players with a tricky uphill approach shot. The 501-yard, par-4, 14th meanwhile requires two long and accurate shots to navigate through the dogleg left and into the large, undulating green. The finishing hole is a 507-yard, par-4 brute with a downhill shot off the tee and an uphill approach to an elevated green well-guarded by four bunkers.

Key Metrics

The average winning score at Wyndham this decade is just about 18-under par, and key stats in reaching this winning score have always been Greens In Regulation, Birdie or Better Percentage, Strokes Gained Putting, and Scrambling. Sedgefield is all about keeping the ball in play and making birdie putts when you have them. Greens here are generally small and not hitting them can mean the end of the line for your season and maybe even Tour card. There are only two par-5s and a good mix of long and short par-4s, so targeting players ranked high in Par-4 Scoring is a good bet.

Winner Prediction

Ollie Schniederjans is ranked 14th on Tour in Par-4 Scoring – that puts him ahead of names like Spieth, Rory, and Finau. Most of Schniederjans troubles this year can be traced to the tee box. He’s ranked near the bottom on Tour in Driving Accuracy at 196th. The good news for Ollie is Sedgefield is not a course that requires you to pound driver. If Schniederjans goes less-than-driver off the tee, he might find these fairways easy to hit. Schniederjans has yet to put it all together this season, but he plays well on classic courses and this feels like a week he could break through.

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