Punter’s pointers: The Wyndham Championship

It’s the final tournament of the regular PGA Tour 2020/21 season at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina this week.

For some, it's a week off.

For others, it's a favourite location and they don't want to miss it.

Many will just be hoarding points (and cash).

And then there are the bubble boys.

Yes, it's the final week of the regular PGA Tour season - the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.

The world's elite are (mostly) sitting it out, giving themselves a week off ahead of the FedExCup Playoffs.

But for those golfers on the edge of qualifying (or not) for next week, this is a vital four days.

And then there are those who have concerns about their playing rights next season: they want to confirm a card for 2021/22 or maybe just improve their situation ahead of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals that will follow.

It's an intriguing prospect played out on a course that first hosted the tournament in the 1930s.

Let's take a close look at five different punter's pointers.

The course expert

It's almost hard to get to grips with quite how much Webb Simpson loves this week's track.

Admittedly he missed the cut on debut in 2009 and was T72nd in 2016, but otherwise?

Another 10 starts, all T22nd or better, nine of them T11th or higher, he was the winner in 2011, and he hasn't finished outside the top three in his last four starts.

Little wonder he said: "I love the Bermudagrass and the undulating greens. I love having options off the tee and hitting different clubs."

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He's ranked top 10 for Driving Distance, Driving Accuracy, Greens in Regulation, Scrambling and Putting in traditional stats on the course. And in Off the Tee, Approach and Putting in Strokes Gained.

It's a powerful combination and he's also found form in his last two starts, finishing top 20 at both the Open and the WGC St Jude Invitational.

The Donald Ross connection

This week's test was created by Donald Ross in the early 20th century and the challenge is very similar to Detroit Golf Club, host of last month's Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Players who perform well there often repeat this week because they've been primed in finding fairways, hitting aggressive approaches, and then draining lots of putts.

Kevin Kisner has played Detroit three times: he was T46th on debut in 2019 (T11th after 18 holes), tied third in 2020 and tied eighth last month.

That's persuasive in itself, but he's also landed three top 10s at Sedgefield in his last four visits.

The key stat

With fairways that are not too difficult to find, but which demand a conservative approach to hit, the approach work becomes vital.

The last five winners of this tournament all ranked top four for the week in Strokes Gained Approach.

The top ranked performer in that category this season is Russell Henley, but he has an ordinary course record (and has struggled to excel in approaches when playing it). Will Zalatoris is second-best, but missed the cut in his only start three years ago.

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Third is Hideki Matsuyama and he's bang in form.

He finished tied third in the Olympics (losing out in extra holes when seeking a bronze) and then flew home on a wet sail for tied second last week.

His strongest suit at TPC Southwind? Approach play: he ranked second.

He's missed three cuts at Sedgefield, but he's also landed three top 10s there.

The man in form

Can Louis Oosthuizen finally win in America?

He's been banging his head on that many doors this season his brain might be too sore to maintain the form.

But sooner or later one of those doors must open … surely?

His last seven strokeplay starts in America have reaped four near-misses (top three) and, in addition to that, he was also second at the Open.

He's a course debutant, but his form is such that if he rides the wave he can contend again.

The Sawgrass link

Five of the last 10 winners at Sedgefield have something in common: they've also all won at TPC Sawgrass in THE PLAYERS Championship.

The famous five are Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Davis Love III, Si-Woo Kim and Henrik Stenson.

Two Sawgrass winners in the field this week are Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott.

The former played here in 2016 and finished T22nd (44th for Approach), Scott has finished MC-T60th in 2009 and 2015.

Formwise, Fowler was tied eighth at the PGA Championship, his only top 10 of the year; Scott hasn't had a top 10 since January.

It's not much to go on, but Fowler does have an incentive: he's 130th in the FedExCup rankings and needs a good week to make the Playoffs.

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