Wyndham Championship (Top 20)
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
I have to give myself props where props are due. Otherwise, nobody will. Morikawa was cut from the Travelers Championship on June 25th. The very next tournament I picked Morikawa to win the Tournament. Three tournaments later, Morikawa wins the PGA Championship.
Following a major, this week takes us to Sedgefield Country Club and a great test for the typical PGA Tour field. With some of the best players in the field, we can be sure they’ll be chomping at the bit to make up for last week’s performance. This course has very straight forward greens – but what strikes me the most is the undulating lies. The players will get more fliers and spotty lies in the rough – but it won’t be as much of a major challenge as last week. The greens should give up plenty of birdie putts as well. This is a traditional, classic tree-lined setup.
1. Henrik Norlander –
One of the top players in hitting greens this season, Sedgefield will give Norlander plenty to like. This course will have spotty lies in the rough and hitting greens and fairways will be imperative. Norlander should feel right at home. One of his best finishes on Tour was in South Carolina in 2016 – and the Georgia native will thrive in these conditions.
2. Tommy Fleetwood –
Due for a win, Fleetwood’s game is coming closer and closer when he’s on. If anyone is due for a win, it’s Fleetwood. To capture his first major, he’ll need to win some of these events in the states.
3. Tom Hoge –
After playing with Tiger woods on Sunday at the PGA, Hoge will have no trouble in the spotlight. A solid season was delayed by the corona virus, but his game seems to be back in form and ready to strike. His fade off the tee makes him a great
4. Ryan Armour –
A steady player throughout the season, this event brings Armour to a course that demands precision and accuracy more than distance. He’ll have few opportunities to win on Tour and this is one of them. He has the advantage of being great with control of his spin. That will serve him well inside 160 yards here. Most guys will have in-between distance.s
5. Billy Horschel –
It’s been a while since Horschel came close to winning but his iron game makes him a threat at any course like this one. He has some prodigious performances on classic, traditional country club courses like East Lake. A good week here should be expected.
6. Patrick Reed –
a course he won at in 2013, Reed has not only solid history but is coming off a very steady week at the PGA in California – where he doesn’t have a great history on the West Coast- should speak volumes about his game.
7. Lucas Glover –
a machine of consistency in 2020, Glover will thrive on a course that has some character. A US Open champion, Glover should be in midseason form and ready to attack in an environment that he’s used to.
8. Brandon Hagy –
After watching a former teammate win his first major, one of the games best up and coming ball strikers should be seeing the light. He’s been quietly improving this season and if any putts fall at all, he’s taking it to the bank.
9. Brendon Todd –
Todd’s game has elevated since even his streak of 2 wins and a podium finish. Todd’s game is resilient and consistent. With wins on this side of the coast, he’ll be familiar and ready to go.
10. Justin Rose –
He’s come out of a whacky start to the year with solid recent play. Rose is a phenomenal putter and he scores well from sidehill and undulating lies. This course gives a lot of those looks on approach. Rose calculates those adjustments as well as any – and this course has just enough character to get him thinking creatively.
11. Jim Furyk –
Coming off a win on the Champions tour, I’m a big believer that a win anywhere translates into great confidence. In the instance of Luke List, sometimes it carries over on the big PGA tour a little later than expected. But Furyk is a veteran and still on top of his game. He has a solid track record in the state of North Carolina.
12. Matthew Nesmith –
Young players are excelling with less crowds which is much like the college golf atmosphere. Nesmith has plenty of upside in terms of ball striking and his game reminds me of those who have won here. A steady player with a good mid length putting game, he should do well on this course.
13. Patrick Rodgers –
A solid performance at the side event in Stableford format, I’ve been watching Rodgers’ swing and he looks very sharp. He’s due for a good week and I like his swing from a technical standpoint. He’s on the up..
14. JT Poston –
A good player looking to breakthrough, this is the type of event that a guy like Poston can contend. The younger players with something to prove will rise to the challenge this week- and judging by Morikawa’s win, I expect the younger unheralded players to start playing dirty.
15. Greg Chalmers –
A great sleeper for anyone who knows Chalmers game. Here’s a guy who has very quietly made some cuts of late after recovering from injury. Chalmers is a fantastic putter. Should he hit fairways, he could be a real threat.
16. Abraham Ancer –
Definitely a top prospect this week, but also a lukewarm feel overall for me. That doesn’t mean he won’t contend to win. But he’s been on an absolute tear over the past 12 months and I think he’s a little bit cool and collected now. He may be tinkering, preparing for the bigger events later in the season. But I see a top 25 with little effort.
17. Corey Conners –
Same type of theory this week as Poston with Conners. He’s a guy that should be used to these types of courses. He tends to make a lot of putts. If he can hit enough greens, he’ll be a threat.
18. Brooks Koepka –
I’m concerned about Brooks on the greens but I expect him to attack these smaller events with a laser like focus. He’s been talking plenty of game but not backing it up. I think he will start to back it up.
19. Tyler McCumber –
Tyler’s game thrives on good courses. He’s a bit of an enigma – and has played his best rounds this year on target golf tracks. This fits the bill – and he’s coming off a decent, top 25 performance. His strengths are off the tee and hitting greens. These greens are not complicated.
20. Paul Casey –
This is a good chance for Casey to follow up a great week. He tends to be very hard to predict from week to week but I expect him to come out strong. If he stays focused, this could be a big week. Either way, a solid finish will give Casey the confidence to move forward with one of his best seasons.