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      Power Rankings: Wyndham Championship

    • Ernie Els, coming off a T7 at Valhalla, has been trending nicely and has seen success in this event. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Ernie Els, coming off a T7 at Valhalla, has been trending nicely and has seen success in this event. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

    With the season's final major tucked away in the history books, the rank and file return to business as usual at this week's Wyndham Championship. And that means a play-in game for many of the hopefuls for the FedExCup Playoffs.

    Only the top 125 in the standings will qualify and secure fully exempt status for 2014-15. (Those inside the top 125 in earnings will also be fully exempt next season.) It's a familiar theme at a tournament celebrating its 75th anniversary. Fittingly, eight-time champion Sam Snead won the inaugural edition in 1938.

    Sedgefield Country Club's Donald Ross Course serves as the site for the seventh consecutive year. (Sedgefield hosted or co-hosted off and on from 1938-1976.) The stock par 70 had been a relative pushover until last year when it ranked as the hardest of five par 70s that average under par. Its 69.972 scoring average is the highest in its brief recent history. The field hit a tournament-low 66.81 percent of the greens in regulation and averaged a tournament-high 36'8" in proximity to the hole. That measurement ranked 10th-highest in all of 2013.


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    Scoring on every set of the pars was also at an all-time high, so it's no surprised that defending champion Patrick Reed's 14-under 266 is the highest winning aggregate since the tournament returned to Sedgefield. En route to his breakthrough on the PGA TOUR, he led the field in GIR, ranked second in proximity and fifth in strokes gained-putting. That'll play just fine again this week, while distance over accuracy off the tee is preferred as Sedgefield tops out at just 7,127 yards.

    Mother Nature is doing the field of 156 a solid by opening a window of fair conditions throughout the tournament. Aside from a slight threat of rain at the back end of the weekend, it should be dry and mostly sunny. High temperatures will hit the upper 80s at times and winds will be light.





    POWER RANKINGS: WYNDHAM CHAMPIONSHIP

    RANK

    PLAYER

    COMMENT

    1 Ernie Els Ernie Els

    Late entry. Tied for seventh at Valhalla with a closing 65. It chased a T12 in Canada and T26 in Akron. Shared 20th here last year.

    Late entry. Tied for seventh at Valhalla with a closing 65. It chased a T12 in Canada and T26 in Akron. Shared 20th here last year.

    2 Patrick Reed Patrick Reed

    The defending champ tied for 59th in his PGA Championship debut last week. Shared fourth in his first start at Firestone the week prior.

    The defending champ tied for 59th in his PGA Championship debut last week. Shared fourth in his first start at Firestone the week prior.

    3 Brandt Snedeker Brandt Snedeker

    Top 15s at Firestone and Valhalla signify that he's beginning to peak. Six top 25s in last seven starts. Two top 10s at Sedgefield.

    Top 15s at Firestone and Valhalla signify that he's beginning to peak. Six top 25s in last seven starts. Two top 10s at Sedgefield.

    4 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama

    Scratched out a T36 at Valhalla after making the cut on the number. Eight straight cuts made. Placed 15th in his debut here last year.

    Scratched out a T36 at Valhalla after making the cut on the number. Eight straight cuts made. Placed 15th in his debut here last year.

    5 Tim Clark Tim Clark

    Overmatched at Firestone and Valhalla, but Sedgefield is a better fit. T6 in 2008; solo second in 2012. Won in Canada three weeks ago.

    Overmatched at Firestone and Valhalla, but Sedgefield is a better fit. T6 in 2008; solo second in 2012. Won in Canada three weeks ago.

    6 Brian Harman Brian Harman

    He's the last American to win a PGA TOUR event (John Deere Classic). The lefty is 3-for-3 since. Shared third at Sedgefield last year.

    He's the last American to win a PGA TOUR event (John Deere Classic). The lefty is 3-for-3 since. Shared third at Sedgefield last year.

    7 Nick Watney Nick Watney

    Under par in his first three rounds at the PGA where he placed T33. Entered having registered a T12 in Canada and a T8 in Reno.

    Under par in his first three rounds at the PGA where he placed T33. Entered having registered a T12 in Canada and a T8 in Reno.

    8 John Huh John Huh

    Top 20s in both starts at Sedgefield, including T3 last year in which he carded career-low 62 in the second round. T3 two weeks ago in Reno.

    Top 20s in both starts at Sedgefield, including T3 last year in which he carded career-low 62 in the second round. T3 two weeks ago in Reno.

    9 Webb Simpson Webb Simpson

    Inconsistent form for months hides a pair of third-place finishes, but the 2011 champ has placed no worse than T22 in his last four visits.

    Inconsistent form for months hides a pair of third-place finishes, but the 2011 champ has placed no worse than T22 in his last four visits.

    10 Bill Haas Bill Haas

    Continues to make cuts, but still falling short of contending. Three top 20s in his last five trips to Sedgefield, including the last two.

    Continues to make cuts, but still falling short of contending. Three top 20s in his last five trips to Sedgefield, including the last two.

    11 Brooks Koepka Brooks Koepka

    First appearance. Needs a win to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. Fresh off a T15 at Valhalla where he ranked T6 in greens hit.

    First appearance. Needs a win to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. Fresh off a T15 at Valhalla where he ranked T6 in greens hit.

    12 Justin Hicks Justin Hicks

    Rolls in on the high of consecutive career-best finishes -- solo third (RBC Canadian Open) and a solo second (Barracuda Championship).

    Rolls in on the high of consecutive career-best finishes -- solo third (RBC Canadian Open) and a solo second (Barracuda Championship).

    13 Carl Pettersson Carl Pettersson

    All-time earnings leader won the first edition at Sedgefield in 2008; two T4s since. Also co-owns course record (61). Two top 10s in June.

    All-time earnings leader won the first edition at Sedgefield in 2008; two T4s since. Also co-owns course record (61). Two top 10s in June.

    14 Freddie Jacobson Freddie Jacobson

    First trip since a personal-best T12 in 2010 when he closed with a career-low 62. Nine top 20s this season. Sixth in strokes gained-putting.

    First trip since a personal-best T12 in 2010 when he closed with a career-low 62. Nine top 20s this season. Sixth in strokes gained-putting.

    15 Francesco Molinari Francesco Molinari

    The Italian is making his debut in the tournament. First non-major/non-WGC start on the PGA TOUR since a T6 at THE PLAYERS.

    The Italian is making his debut in the tournament. First non-major/non-WGC start on the PGA TOUR since a T6 at THE PLAYERS.

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