The First Look: Wyndham Championship
August 10, 2018
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- August 10, 2018
Henrik Stenson's icy finish to win at Wyndham
Henrik Stenson defends his title against a field hungry for FedExCup points, as Greensboro again wraps up the regular season as the final chance for players to crack the top 125 and punch their playoff entries.
Though North Carolina natives Webb Simpson and Chesson Hadley are the only entrants among the current FedExCup top 30, all but nine from Nos. 90-190 will tee it up. That includes 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia (131st) and former FedExCup champion Bill Haas (147th).
Chilean teen Joaquin Niemann, whose 464 non-member FedExCup points would qualify him for the playoffs but can’t get in unless he wins, will give it a run at Sedgefield Country Club. … Simpson is the only entrant among the top 15 in FedExCup points; Stenson is highest in the world ranking at No.17.... Joining Garcia on the list of former major winners urgently needing points are Graeme McDowell (142nd) and Retief Goosen (146th), plus U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk (172nd). … Davis Love III, whose 2015 victory at age 51 made him the third-oldest winner in PGA TOUR history, tees it up for the 23rd time in Greensboro. It’s just his 12th start of the season. … Doc Redman and Doug Ghim, who dueled to a 37-hole U.S. Amateur final last August before Redman prevailed, cross paths again 52 weeks later as pros. It’s the third time in 2018 they’ve been in the same field. … Sponsor invitations also went to Haskins Award winner Norman Xiong and fellow young pros Will Zalatoris and Dylan Meyer.
Winner receives 500 points.
The chase is on for FedExCup playoff berths, with a dozen players lurking within 50 points of the cutoff line. … Martin Piller (124th), Tyrone Van Aswegen (125th) and Chad Campbell (126th) are the men currently on the bubble. … In the 11 years since the FedExCup playoffs debuted, an average of 2.7 players have punched their playoff ticket in Greensboro. Four did so last year, one off the high-water mark. On the flip side, no one did it in 2013. … Only four men have come to Greensboro at 140th or lower in the FedExCup standings and left with a playoff berth. One took place last year, though, as Rory Sabbatini rose from 148th to 122nd. … Stenson was the seventh winner in the past 10 editions to close out a 54-hole lead.
Sedgefield Country Club (Ross), 7,127 yards, par 70. One of two original sites in the Greater Greensboro Open’s 1938 debut and now in its 11th year of a comeback, Sedgefield stands as the only Donald Ross design to serve as a regular PGA TOUR stop. The layout dates back to 1925, the course features small, undulating greens and is perennially ranked among the top 15 in North Carolina. Sedgefield spent several years as an alternating site for the GGO, before a 1961-76 run as host that included Sam Snead’s 1965 triumph – the last of his record 82 TOUR wins. Sedgefield also holds a place in college sports annals as the site of the 1953 meeting that founded the Atlantic Coast Conference.
If you're in the area, must-play courses include Mid Pines Inn and GC (Southen Pines, North Carolina), Pine Needles Lodge & GC (Southern Pine, North Carolina) and Forest Oaks CC (Greensboro, North Carolina). Make your reservations through www.teeoff.com.
258, Henrik Stenson (2017).
60, Si Woo Kim (2nd round, 2016).
Stenson emerged from a four-man pack for his first victory since the 2016 Open Championship, using three birdies in his final four holes to finish one stroke ahead of Ollie Schneiderjans. Tied for the lead with Schneiderjans in the group ahead, Stenson nearly eagled the par-5 15th to move in front and added two more birdies as Schneiderjans kept the pressure on. Though birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 drew Schneiderjans even with the tournament’s old scoring record of 21-under 259, Stenson went one better after finishing off his own 64 with a par. Stenson’s sixth PGA TOUR victory was the most by a player from Sweden, breaking a tie with Carl Pettersson and Jesper Parnevik. Simpson (67) finished another three shots back in third.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes).
RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com)