Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: The longshot bet our experts love at Sedgefield
It feels like just yesterday when we were handicapping the Safeway Open. Forty-two events later, we’ve arrived at the regular-season finale on the PGA Tour—the Wyndham Championship. Time flies when you’re cashing tickets.
If that sounds cocky, it shouldn’t. Our experts have hit a number of outright winners in the 2020-’21 Super Season. Can we cap off the regular season in style with one more? We sure hope so, because it was painful to miss out on Abraham Ancer’s breakthrough victory last week at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Ancer is a player our panel of pickers have been on countless times over the last two seasons, but we all missed out on him last week. Brutal.
Best way to get over that, though, is to get back on the board, and two of our fearless tipsters are eyeing a decent-sized longshot to win the Wyndham outright. This particular player, who checks in at 65-1, will have to outlast the likes of tournament favorite Webb Simpson, who owns Sedgefield Country Club, Hideki Matsuyama, who is on fire with strong results in the Olympics and in Memphis, and Louis Oosthuizen, who simply HAS to win some time soon … right? Oh, yeah, and he’ll have to beat a bunch of other guys who are vying for a spot in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, including big names like Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott. No easy task, but we're confident this 65-1 shot has the right stuff for Sedgefield Country Club.
Read on to see who we like this week at the Wyndham Championship.
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Gary Woodland (45-1, DraftKings) — Woodland appears to be healthy and trending in the right direction. Coming off an 11th and seventh in his last two starts.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Si Woo Kim (40-1, DraftKings) — Most would pack it in or simply WD after carding a 13 on a par 3, but not Si Woo. He rebounded with four birdies coming in. That’s the quintessential Si Woo experience. The Wyndham is a great spot for him, though. He broke through in 2016 with his first win at Sedgefield, and has back to back top 5s the last two years. Plus, he personally told me this is the place to play him. Good enough for me.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Louis Oosthuizen (20-1, FanDuel) — This is a great number for the best golfer in the field over the past year. Oosthuizen, per my simulation model, should be 12-1—not 20-1—at Sedgefield this week.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Charl Schwartzel (50-1, BetMGM) — The advanced metrics couldn’t be better for Schwartzel, who has found something in his game. He’s gained strokes off-the-tee in nine consecutive events and he’s gained strokes on approach in seven of those nine. The real improvements have come on the greens, where he’s gained a total of 4.22 strokes putting over his last eight starts. That might not sound like much, but he lost a total of 9.61 strokes over the eight starts prior. This is a golfer who is figuring it out and on the verge of breaking through.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Russell Henley (35-1, William Hill) — It’s been a fantastic summer for Russell Henley, and his skill set matches what Sedgefield Country Club demands: Sharp approach play in the 125-150 and 150-175-yard range. He’s third in this field from 125-150 yards and first in the 150-175-yard range. Henley also had a ninth-place finish here in 2020—so there’s a great case to be made that Henley should be your first bet at the top of the board.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Will Zalatoris (28-1, DraftKings) — Am I overreacting to his T-8 finish last week? Damn right I am. If not for that, he’d probably be closer to 35 or 40-1 this week, but I still think this is a great number for a guy who has been so close to busting down the door. He doesn’t need to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs to keep his career alive (he’s going to be just fine either way), but he and everyone paying attention knows that a win at Sedgefield would get him in. That, plus the fact a win would bolster his Ryder Cup captain’s pick case, is all the motivation Willy Z needs to pick off W No. 1 this week.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Zach Johnson (70-1, DraftKings) — Johnson is just starting to find a bit of consistency once again. He ranks 21st for SG/total over the past two months and second for Opportunities Gained, per Fantasy National. He should be able to convert a good number of these opportunities this week being such a good putter on Bermuda greens. Plus, he has finishes of seventh and fifth here at Sedgefield his last three starts.
Recent results: Golf Digest's betting panel has been red-hot the past two seasons—and we’re finishing this season on a strong run, too. Our experts have now predicted 11 of the past 25 winners—an insane clip in predicting golf events (after going up 225.30 units last season!). Christopher Powers predicted Cameron Champ’s victory at the 3M Open (at 150-1), giving him three wins in 2021 (Justin Thomas at 18-1 at the Players; Brooks Koepka at 50-1 at the WMPO). Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports picked up his second win of the year by predicting Collin Morikawa’s victory at The Open (at 40-1, after hitting Garrick Higgo at the Palmetto, also at 40-1). Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel predicted Cam Davis’ win in this column at the Rocket Mortgage (at 100-1), and Stephen Hennessey predicted Jason Kokrak’s victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge a few weeks ago (at 45-1), giving him two wins on the year (Jordan Spieth at 11-1 at the Valero). Rick Gehman also has two wins this year (Thomas at the Players; Daniel Berger at 14-1 at Pebble Beach), as does Pat Mayo, who predicted Koepka’s WMPO win as well as Collin Morikawa’s WGC-Workday win at 33-1. We’ll stop there! Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (below) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Hank Lebioda (70-1, FanDuel) — Not sure if anyone is still sleeping on Hank. Has been on fire this summer with a slew of top 10s. Also from the South, so the Bermuda grass should feel like home.
Mayo: Chez Reavie (100-1, DraftKings) — The irons are there, and have been for months now. One of these weeks the putter is going to pop and then we’re in business.
Gdula: Talor Gooch (65-1, FanDuel) — Gooch has made seven straight cuts with two top-20s in that span, and he’s doing it with hot irons and good wedges – the right recipe for Sedgefield.
Gehman: J.T. Poston (80-1, DraftKings) — Poston can proudly boast that he is the second-ranked putter on tour but he has historically struggled in most other facets of the game, until recently. He gained over three strokes on approach in each of his last two starts -- a feat that he has only accomplished three other times in his career, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Those weeks ended with a runner-up finish and a T-28. If he can continue the great ball-striking and combine it with his pristine putting, he can make noise this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Talor Gooch (66-1, BetMGM) — I talked Gooch up on our “Be Right” podcast this week, and he was my first bet placed on Monday morning. Now I’m reading and listening to handicappers whom I respect—Geoff Feinberg of Mayo Media Network and OddsChecker; and Andy Lack of PickthePup.com—and they’re on Gooch, too. Gooch is a budding star whose best attribute is strong iron play, and I think that’ll suit him well at this shorter setup.
Powers, Golf Digest: Kevin Kisner (55-1, DraftKings) — Whatever you do, do not look at his strokes-gained numbers from last week, unless you’re betting against him. In that case, have at it, because they are terrible. But he never plays well at TPC Southwind and he plays great at Sedgefield, a Donald Ross design. Last time he stepped foot on a Donald Ross design at the Rocket Mortgage, he tied for eighth. He knows where he can and can’t compete, and Sedgefield, where he owns three top-10 finishes in six appearances, is most definitely a place he can.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Ryan Armour (100-1, DraftKings) — Armour very quietly has three top-10 finishes in his past seven events. So it’s not surprising to see him rank in the top 20 for SG/tee-to-green and Opportunities Gained over the past two months. Armour also ranks top 20 for SG/total at similar courses and for SG/total at Sedgefield. In fact, Armour has four consecutive top-25 finishes here, which includes two top 10s.
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Hideki Matsuyama (14-1, DraftKings) — Has to be drained mentally and physically after a grueling couple of weeks (Olympics, playoff at WGC). Might be a good week to stay away from him.
Mayo: Brian Harman (22-1, DraftKings) — Good player, terrible price.
Gdula: Will Zalatoris (27-1, FanDuel) — The top-10 finish at the St. Jude was reassuring after his back injury, but he did it with his second-best career PGA Tour putting output. Zalatoris’ weekly putting data is too low below baseline to want to back him with better options at similar numbers.
Gehman: Si Woo Kim (40-1, DraftKings) — Kim has always shown up at Sedgefield, winning in 2016 and piling on two more top-5 finishes in the last two years. However, I see big concerns in his game right now. He lost a staggering 10.2 strokes on approach during Sunday’s final round last week, thanks to five balls in the water on No. 11. I would be willing to write that off if he didn’t lose a combined 6.85 strokes on approach in the three previous rounds. Combine that with the fact that he’s lost strokes putting in seven consecutive rounds and there’s not much reason to back Kim this week.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Webb Simpson (10-1, DraftKings) — I know, this is the Webb Simpson Open. But this is also the worst Webb has entered a Wyndham Championship in recent memory. He’s shockingly 48th in my model this week, mainly due to his mediocre approach play and par-4 scoring in the crucial 400-450-yard range. Could Webb win? Of course, but I won’t be betting this number.
Powers, Golf Digest: Webb Simpson (10-1, DraftKings) — Webb could top-10 here in his sleep, but the approach numbers have not been good as of late, even during his back-to-back top-20 finishes at the Open and WGC-FedEx. Maybe if he was 20-1, but not at this price.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Webb Simpson (10-1, DraftKings) — Sure Simpson loves this course so much he named his daughter Wyndham but his form is just too poor to back at 10-1. He ranks just 105th for SG/tee-to-green over the last two months and 119th for opportunities gained.
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Kevin Kisner (-130) over Lanto Griffin (DraftKings) — Almost a home game for Kisner. Has two top 10s in his last four starts. Also a course where Lanto’s length is not a huge factor.
Mayo: Russell Henley (-110) over Kevin Na (DraftKings) — Love Na, but I most definitely love Henley more.
Gdula: Brian Harman (-118) over Sungjae Im (FanDuel) — Neither have good irons right now, but Harman has a substantial edge over Sungjae in adjusted strokes-gained over the past six months – nearly a full shot per round.
Gehman: Hideki Matsuyama (+115) over Webb Simpson (DraftKings) — I know that it’s Webb at Wyndham, but so do bookmakers. We are being forced to pay for Simpson’s elite course history and he’s actually a favorite over the scorching Hideki Matsuyama. Matsuyama was in the playoff last week at Memphis and the Bronze Medal playoff in Tokyo in his last two starts. He didn’t win either but he’s knocking on the door and keeping his name near the top of the leaderboard.
Hennessey: Charl Schwartzel (-110) over Matthew Wolff (Bet365) — This one comes down to Fantasy National’s fairways gained stat for me. Wolff is a negative in every event in 2021 in that stat, whereas Schwartzel has gained more than 2.5 strokes on average in fairway gained the past two events … and Schwartzel’s coming off the second-place finish at the 3M. Wolff will be the public play here because he’s the more popular name—take the sharp side with Schwartzel.
Powers: Rickie Fowler (-120) over Mackenzie Hughes (DraftKings) — Simply have to back Rickie in some capacity this week. He needs a monster result to make the postseason, while Hughes is already inside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup rankings. Give me the desperate man in this one.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (-105) over Will Zalatoris (Betway) — Henley loves this course and has great long and short-term form. Zalatoris, on the other hand, statistically struggles on Bermuda greens and ranks just 127th for opportunities gained over the last two months.
Matchup results from the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Scottie Scheffler (-120) over Webb Simpson); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Billy Horschel (+115) over Tony Finau; Gdula: 1 for 1 (Paul Casey (-112) over Webb Simpson); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Patrick Cantlay (-120) over Patrick Reed); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Rory McIlroy (-112) over Justin Thomas; Powers: 1 for 1 (Joaquin Niemann (-120) over Adam Scott); Alldrick: 0 for 1
Matchup Results this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 24-14-3 (up 8.22 units); Alldrick: 24-15-1 (up 3.78 units); Powers: 22-17-4 (up 2.88 units); Gdula: 22-19-2 (up 1.88 units); Gehman: 20-21-2 (down 1.61 units); Caddie: 16-23-4 (down 7.56 units); Mayo: 16-23-3 (down 8.08 units)
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: Top 10
Caddie: Mito Pereira (+550, DraftKings) — Summer of Mito continues. Has had no let up since being promoted to the big show. Also has one of the hardest working caddies in the game, Nani.
Mayo: Russell Henley (+300, DraftKings) — Despite not playing since The Open, Henley’s irons have heated up with the weather this summer. The putter has been lacking, but it’s also been a while since he’s been on Bermudagrass. In his three career wins, all have come on Bermuda. He never putts well enough to justify these lofty odds for a win, but a top 10? That I can buy.
Gdula: Brendon Todd (+850, FanDuel) — This is a great number for someone who benefits at a course where distance isn’t a must. Todd’s a great Bermuda putter and outperforms these top-10 odds in my simulations.
Gehman: Russell Henley (+300, DraftKings) — The last time we saw Henley he missed the cut at the Open Championship but had piled up three straight top-20 finishes leading into Royal St Georges. He’s an elite ball-striker who thrives from 100-175 yards -- a range that will be handy at Sedgefield this week. He will be at home on Bermudagrass greens, his best surface, where he gains 0.41 strokes per round.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sungjae Im (+360, FanDuel) — Sungjae absolutely eats on short, par-70 Bermuda courses, and he has top-10 finishes the past two years at Sedgefield. The ball-striking stats were solid last week at the WGC—I think he’ll find his way into the top 10 on a great setup for him.
Powers, Golf Digest: Ryan Moore (+900, DraftKings) — Hate to keep banging the FedEx Cup drum, but this is the one week where you absolutely should. Moore, who basically said he plays to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs at the John Deere, needs, at minimum, a top 10 this week, and probably more to crack the top 125 (he’s currently 142nd). He’s missed consecutive cuts at 3M and Barracuda, but the approach numbers were still strong. If he keeps that up, we just need (cliche incoming) the putter to heat up.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (+300, DraftKings) — Henley comes into this event fifth for SG/tee-to-green over the last two months and eighth for total strokes-gained over the last two years so he has both the short and long-term form. He also ranks 19th in our Course Suitability Ranking and finished ninth here last year.
Top-10 results from the Wyndham Championship: Everybody: 0 for 1.
Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 9 for 40 (up 11.35 units); Hennessey: 7 for 38 (up 1.13 units); Powers: 8 for 40 (down 1.37 units); Tour caddie: 7 for 39 (down 14.98 units); Gdula: 3 for 39 (down 20.5 units); Mayo: 2 for 39 (down 24 units); Alldrick: 2 for 38 (down 28 units).
Wyndham Championship 2021 picks: One and Done
Gehman: Webb Simpson — There’s a chance that no decision is needed this week. Just like Daniel Berger at TPC Southwind, you may have had Simpson earmarked for this spot since the start of the year. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to change course now. Since 2010, Simpson has piled up nine different top-11 finishes, including a win, in this event. Over his last four trips, he hasn’t finished worse than third in any of them. He’s coming off a scorching-hot Sunday round in Memphis… do I need to go on?
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Joel Dahmen; U.S. Open: Jon Rahm; Corales: Denny McCarthy. Sanderson: Sebastian Munoz. Shriners: Matthew Wolff. CJ Cup: Xander Schauffele. Zozo: Bubba Watson. Bermuda: Rasmus Hojgaard. Houston: Lanto Griffin. Masters: Rory McIlroy. RSM: Webb Simpson. Sentry TOC: Patrick Reed. Sony: Abraham Ancer. AMEX: Patrick Cantlay. Torrey: Jon Rahm. Waste Management: Webb Simpson. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis Invitational: Rory McIlroy. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Bryson DeChambeau; Honda Classic: Sungjae Im. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth. The Masters: Dustin Johnson. RBC Heritage: Daniel Berger. Valspar: Paul Casey. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sam Burns. PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa. Charles Schwab Challenge: Charley Hoffman. Memorial Tournament: Billy Horschel. Palmetto Championship: Lucas Glover. U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka. Travelers Championship: Keegan Bradley. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Jason Kokrak. John Deere Classic: Kevin Streelman. 3M Open: Maverick McNealy. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Daniel Berger
Hennessey: Hank Lebioda — You have some serious will power if you haven't used Webb Simpson at other Webb tracks like Harbour Town and the RSM. I've burned him, Henley, Sungjae and Willy Z, so I'll have to get a little risky. I think Lebioda's playing so consistent right now, and odds are, most guys in your league won't be playing him here.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Phil Mickelson; U.S. Open: Hideki Matsuyama; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Harris English. CJ Cup: Kevin Na. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Doc Redman. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Tyrrell Hatton. RSM: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Justin Thomas. Sony: Ryan Palmer. AMEX: Scottie Scheffler. Torrey: Sungjae Im. Waste Management: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach: Francesco Molinari. Genesis Invitational: Tony Finau. WGC-Workday: Xander Schauffele. The Players: Jordan Spieth. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Patrick Reed. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Dustin Johnson. RBC Heritage: Webb Simpson. Valspar: Charley Hoffman. Wells Fargo: Max Homa. AT&T Byron Nelson: Will Zalatoris. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Abraham Ancer. Memorial Tournament: Collin Morikawa. Palmetto Championship: Matt Fitzpatrick. U.S. Open: Jon Rahm. Travelers Championship: Paul Casey. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Bryson DeChambeau. John Deere Classic: Alex Noren. 3M Open: Bubba Watson. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Louis Oosthuizen
Powers: Webb Simpson — If you still have Webb and you DON’T use him here, what else are you waiting for?
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Brendan Steele; U.S. Open: Louis Oosthuizen; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Jason Kokrak. CJ Cup: Daniel Berger. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Bubba Watson. RSM: Brian Harman. Mayakoba: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Harris English. Sony: Zach Johnson. AMEX: Matthew Wolff. Torrey: Tony Finau. Waste Management: Sungjae Im. AT&T Pebble Beach: Jason Day. Genesis: Hideki Matsuyama. WGC-Workday: Tyrrell Hatton. The Players: Tommy Fleetwood. Honda Classic: Adam Scott. WGC-Match Play: Matt Fitzpatrick. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Kevin Kisner. Valspar: Patrick Reed. Wells Fargo: Patrick Cantlay. AT&T Byron Nelson: Will Zalatoris. PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy. Charles Schwab Challenge: Joaquin Niemann. Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm. Palmetto Championship: Harold Varner III. U.S. Open: Bryson DeChambeau. Travelers Championship: Scottie Scheffler. Rocket Mortgage Classic: Doc Redman. John Deere Classic: Brian Harman. 3M Open: Dustin Johnson. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Justin Thomas
By The Numbers:
Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:
10.21 - The strokes lost on approach by Si Woo Kim in the final round last week, the worst round by any golfer on tour since the start of 2015.
73.8 - The percentage of greens hit in regulation at the Sedgefield Country Club, the highest mark of any course on tour.
5 - The number of FedEx Cup points separating Scott Piercy and the 125th spot in the FedEx Cup Standings. He is ranked 126th and would need to improve his spot to reach the playoffs.
0.47 - The number of strokes gained putting, on Bermudagrass greens, by Brian Harman since the start of 2015. That’s the best mark on anyone in this field with at least 200 rounds.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.