DraftKings preview: Wyndham Championship
July 30, 2019
By Pat Mayo, DraftKings
- July 30, 2019
Daily Fantasy preview for Wyndham Championship
This week’s Wyndham Championship is the final event for players to jockey for points in advance of the FedExCup Playoffs. It’s also the final opportunity to accrue Wyndham Rewards Top 10 points -- the regular-season cash bonus -- although no one is catching Brooks Koepka after his win at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Just another $2 million into Brooks’ bank account -- rough life.
After two consecutive weeks of stacked fields at The Open Championship and the WGC-FedEx St, Jude Invitational, you’d expect a severe drop-off in the quality of the field in Greensboro, North Carolina. While there is a clear dip in talent, it’s not as pronounced as years’ past. Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Billy Horschel, Paul Casey, Cam Smith, Matthew Wolff, Lucas Bjerregaard, Collin Morikawa, Alex Noren, Viktor Hovland, Doc Redman, Branden Grace, Joaquin Niemann, Chez Reavie, Dylan Fritelli, Charles Howell III, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Sungjae Im and defending champ Brandt Snedeker will be teeing off in North Carolina.
There is a slew of players impacted by the FedExCup standings, but while you can project “need” onto golfers in this situation when making your picks all you want, there’s no empirical evidence to support it makes a difference either way. It is a fun narrative, and maybe it works out; however, it’s all noise from a prognostication standpoint.
For the course, Sedgefield CC is one of the few on the PGA TOUR that allows players of all skill sets to play their preferred game and have a chance to complete. A Donald Ross design (like Detroit Golf Club and East Lake), Sedgefield features eight par 4s measuring between 400 and 450 yards and a pair of par 5s reachable by the entire field (a cumulative 70 eagles on those two holes last year). Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green has been more than two times as impactful on the top-5 finishers (+1.1/per round) than Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+0.46/per round) and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (+0.37/per round), although, driving accuracy has popped as an essential skill in winning over the years.
While the GIR rate is above TOUR average, the fairways narrow around the 275-yard mark off the tee, and this has resulted in six of the past eight Wyndham Championship winners finishing in the top 15 of accuracy for the week they claimed victory. Patrick Reed in 2013 and Brandt Snedeker last year are the two outliers. If you’re searching for a course that correlates with Sedgefield, Harbour Town and the RBC Heritage leaderboard have had a substantial amount of crossover the past decade.
Targets From The Range
Patrick Reed ($9,700) The lack of fairways gained off the tee is somewhat problematic, but as noted above, Reed was one of two winners (along with Snedeker) to finish outside the top 15 in Driving Accuracy in the last eight years. Reed’s an excellent player out of the rough, and has been red-hot over the past few months. He rolls into Greensboro with top-12 results in three of his past four starts, no worse than T32 in his past six starts and gaining an average of more than four strokes on approach in that span. He hasn’t won since the 2018 Masters, so we officially are in a drought. But at a familiar venue, which has seen multiple repeat champions, Reed is a perfect spot to collect another novelty check.
Viktor Hovland ($9,500) First, Matthew Wolff got his breakthrough. Then Collin Morikawa followed it with a victory at the Barracuda Championship. Seems like Hovland won’t be too far behind. He fits the accuracy mold, ranking 10th in the field in fairways gained over the past 50 rounds per www.fantasynational.com, and it’s not like the rest of his game is lagging behind. He’s gained off the tee box and through approach in every start as a pro, and he hasn’t finished worse than T16 in any of his past three starts. If his putter finally will cooperate, he’ll at least notch the first top 10 of his career. Maybe more.
Kyle Stanley ($7,700) After finding himself in majors and WGCs over the past two seasons, Stanley is back just attempting to churn out quality results and cash paychecks on TOUR. And most of the season, it’s been a poor effort. However, since the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, his ball-striking game has re-emerged. He’s strung together five straight cuts -- with a pair of top-25 finishes -- and is gaining off-the-tee and through approaches in every start. Per Fantasy National, Stanley is fourth in the field in fairways gained over the past 24 rounds, sixth in par 5s gained and eighth in approach. If he doesn’t putt himself out of contention, he’ll have a shot in a birdie-fest.
Peter Malnati ($7,100) Making 13 of his past 14 cuts, Malnati has gained with his irons in six of past seven starts and has lost on the greens only once early February. While putting is a high-variance skill year-over-year, Malnati has been one of the few to sustain consistent roll over the years. Digging back into his course form, he has never missed the weekend at Sedgefield and was top 10 in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach a year ago, but a poor week off the tee capped his upside at a T24. However, this is the best he’s played entering the Wyndham in his career, sitting seventh in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the past 24 rounds and ranks out 24th in Par 4s 400-450 yards, 27th T2G, and 25th in proximity gained from 150-175 yards, where the plurality of iron shots come from this week.
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Writer’s profile: I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.