The final regular-season event of the year is upon us. It’s been another year of high-quality golf on the PGA Tour, and as the players gather for one last time before the FedEx Cup playoffs, who will be victorious? This week we’re in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the Wyndham Championship.
Having looked at the tournament from a fantasy draft perspective, it’s time to focus on sportsbook bets and run the rule over the field to see who appeals from a betting point of view.
This week sees an opportunity for those players outside of the highest echelons of world golf, as almost all the biggest names missing out. World number seven Louis Oosthuizen is the highest-ranked player in the tournament, and the only top ten players to feature. The other players inside the top 20 in the world rankings who’ll tee it up at Sedgefield Country Club are Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, and Hideki Matsuyama.
All about approach at Sedgefield Country Club?
To keep it simple, to win this tournament you need to be an accurate approach player, while accuracy off the tee ahead of approach has helped previous winners tremendously. As mentioned in the fantasy preview, both strokes gained: approach and driving accuracy are areas to focus on heavily ahead of this week, while strokes gained: tee-to-green is once again well worth keeping an eye on.
The last four winners of this tournament have delivered an approach masterclass, with none of them finishing the week outside of the top four in terms of strokes gained: approach. Below you will find the current top 20 for strokes gained: approach on the PGA Tour, as well as the top 15 for strokes gained: approach at this venue in the last five seasons.
Strokes gained: approach (PGA Tour this season. Only players in this event): Russell Henley, Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matsuyama, Matthew NeSmith, Cameron Percy, Doug Ghim, Sam Burns, Chez Reavie, Kyle Stanley, Seamus Power, Russell Knox, Michael Gellerman, Henrik Norlander, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Streelman.
Strokes gained: approach (this venue over the last five seasons. At least four rounds played): Jim Herman, Zach Johnson, Matthew Wolff, Si-Woo Kim, Talor Gooch, Kris Ventura, Hideki Matsuyama, Chris Baker, Mark Hubbard, Ryan Armour, Doug Ghim, Josh Teater, C.T. Pan, Tom Lewis, Sungjae Im.
Who’s hot in the betting?
After plenty of close calls this season, Louis Oosthuizen, as the highest-ranked player in the event, is fancied by the market at +1600, while Hideki Matsuyama is popular too at +1400, but the early betting has Webb Simpson down as the man to beat, and it’s hard to disagree with that. Not only does Simpson come here in solid form after shooting -6 on the final day last week to finish T15, but this is a tournament that he’s performed in time and time again.
The North Carolina native will be going to Sedgefield Country Club to win, that’s for sure. And it wouldn’t be the first time having won this event in 2011, while he’s finished inside the top three in each of the last four renewals. Make no mistake about it, if you’re after someone who looks certain to go close, then Webb’s your man this week, but that’s why he’s short in the betting. For me, someone with a little more juice in the price is the way to go.
Top 5 Finish
Hideki Matsuyama – 2 units @ +400
I’m playing it a little different this week and skipping the outright market in favor of a top ten bet that is too good to resist. Master ball-striker Hideki Matsuyama comes here in flying form having finished tied for fourth at the Olympics, not to mention flying home on the final day at the FedEx St Jude last week, only to lose out in a play-off.
In addition to being a man who’s hot right now, Matsuyama has played well here before, finishing third in 2016 and 11th in 2018. Moreover, he’s a top approach player, and since strong approach play will certainly be needed, that’s a big plus. Interestingly, he’s one of only two players in the field to rank inside the top 15 for both strokes gained: approach on tour this season and strokes gained: approach at this venue in the last five seasons.
Japan’s finest golfing export also ranks as the second-best in the field when it comes to strokes gained: tee-to-green at this field. Combine all of this with the fact that he’s one of the very best in this field and odds of +400 for him to make it three top-five-finishes in a row start to look a tad generous.
Top 10 Finish
Sungjae Im – 1.5 units @ +350
Im doesn’t come into this contest in the same sort of form as Matsuyama, but it’s not really his form in recent weeks that makes him stand out. It’s more the fact that in two previous appearances at Sedgefield Country Club, the South Korean has looked every inch a player that can go very close in this tournament.
2019 saw him finish sixth in the Wyndham Championship, while he backed that effort up with an equally respectable ninth-place finish last year. Quietly creeps into the top 15 for strokes gained: approach at this venue, while he’s the third-best player in the field when it comes to strokes gained: total on this track. That’s something to pay attention to, for sure.
Top 20 Finish
Doug Ghim 1.5 units @ +350
Hideki Matsuyama is one of two players in this field to rank inside the top 15 for both strokes gained: approach on tour this season and strokes gained: approach at this venue in the last five seasons, and Doug Ghim is the other.
The 25-year-old, who this season has a scoring average of 70.59, is yet to win on the PGA Tour, but he’s played well on several occasions this campaign, hitting the top 20 on four occasions, most recently when finishing T18 at the John Deere Classic last month. On top of this, he made the top 20 here back in 2018, which was one of just two appearances by the Illinois man in this competition.
Those two appearances were enough for him to cement himself as the fifth-best player in this field when it comes to strokes gained: tee-to-green at this venue, so don’t be surprised if his name is one you see among the top 20 this week.