Sedgefield Country Club
Sedgefield Country Club
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass; 6,500 square feet on average.
Rough: Bermudagrass at 2”
Water Hazards: 12 creeks; 1 pond
Course Architects: Donald Ross (1926); Re-design Kris Spence (2007)
Winner’s Share: $954,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia won for the first time in four years on TOUR as he handled Tim Clark by two shots.
Dates: August 15-18
Notes: This is the last chance for players who are currently outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings to crash the party. Only the players 125th or better enter the FedExCup Playoffs next week.
Gamers, the Wyndham Championship moved back to Sedgefield in 2008 so any course history before then won’t be of much help.
Last year Sedgefield removed their Bentgrass greens and replaced them with Champions Bermuda. These greens thrive in the heat and humidity and don’t need water to flourish. If it doesn’t rain, they’ll be exceptionally greasy; if it rains all weekend and the tournament finishes on Monday (see last year) it will look like the first two days at Oak Hill. #darts
The 2012 tournament was the first and only tournament played on the Champion Bermuda greens. Course history from tee-to-green will be useful but putting stats might not be so much.
This is the 74th edition of the Wyndham Championship. Sam Snead won this event a staggering eight times and was runner-up three times, the most in both categories. #slammin’
This is the only Donald Ross course used annually on TOUR. Donald Ross also designed Oak Hill, site of last week’s 95th PGA Championship.
There are four of the five past champions in this week’s field. Remember, winners from 2007 and before did NOT play Sedgefield!
2012: Sergio Garcia (-18)
2011: Webb Simpson (-18)
2010: Arjun Atwal (-20)
2009: Ryan Moore (-16 P)—not entered this week
2008: Carl Pettersson (-21)
The course record is 61 set by Pettersson, Atwal and Kevin Na over the last five years.
In the five years since the return to Sedgefield, four of the 54-hole leaders have held on for victory. This is the complete opposite of the trend on TOUR this year.
Justin Leonard led the field with 22 birdies last year. Lucas Glover made 28 in 2010 which is the most in the five years at Sedgefield.
There have been 35 tournaments this season. The Stars and Stripes have won 29 of them.
There have been 11 first-time winners this season and just four players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker).
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FIVE times (37), Mickelson (42) TWICE, Snedeker (32) TWICE, Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) Haas (31), Blixt (29), Austin (49), Woodland (29), Dufner (34) and 19-year old Jordan Spieth. The young folks (30 and younger) now have 13 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 17 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) now have FIVE wins. David Toms waived the AARP flag last week as he finished seventh at Oak Hill. Not bad for 46!
Rank and File
It shouldn’t be any surprise that only 10 of the top 50 in the OWGR are in the field this week after a major championship.
Sedgefield Country Club was designed by Donald Ross and features as the only one of his courses on the normal TOUR annual rotation. Last week, Oak Hill was the site of the 95th PGA Championship and that is another Ross design. The players who teed it up last week at Oak Hill should have their eyes and minds conditioned to the tee and approach shots but it might be the Sedgefield greens that will provide the biggest challenge this week. Last week at Oak Hill, plenty of rain made the course soft and the greens even softer. In Greensboro, the TOUR pros will find Champion Bermudagrass instead of Bentgrass and that could be the difference this week. Bermudagrass loves the heat and can survive and be cut short with not a lot of water. Dry, crusty, crispy greens always make for fun times and long rounds on TOUR! Sergio Garcia remarked last year, in the first year of the Champions Bermudagrass that they were quick, but not as quick as they could get because they had only been in the ground a few months and their roots weren’t mature yet (can’t cut them short).
As we saw at Oak Hill, golfers who can work their ball both ways off the tee will have an advantage but with the rough playing at only two inches, those who miss the fairway won’t be as severely penalized as they were last week but there will be rough. New greens or old greens, the winning score here the last five years has averaged around 17-under-par. Players who find the most GIR this week will have the chance to make the most birdies and premium putters are praying the course dries out by the weekend. Last year, Sedgefield played 35th hardest of the 49 courses used on TOUR. This will provide a nice come-down after a major!
My 10-best plus one
Zach Johnson: The U.S.-version of Henrik Stenson has been doing everything but winning in his last four events on TOUR. Scoff at the P2 to Jordan Spieth at the JDC but he backed that up with T6, T4 and T8 against the three best fields in golf in three out of four weeks. His bogey-free 68 on Sunday at Oak Hill shows me he’s dialed in at the moment and it’s time to saddle up. Johnson played Sedgefield on its return in 2008 and opened with 66 and closed with 64. Slick greens won’t bother him a bit as he quite enjoyed them at Firestone.
Brandt Snedeker: The last time he played a course where bagging birdies was good idea he won at the RBC Canadian Open as he fired 16-under. He ranks 35th in GIR and 10th in strokes gained-putting and that’s a lethal combination as Sergio Garcia proved here last year. If the greens do get slick, I don’t think there is anyone else you would want to have near or on the lead on Sunday. After two indifferent performances I would expect a nice bounce-back this week as his career-year continues.
Webb Simpson: After MC here in 2009 check out his four-round totals in the next three years: 2010 66-64-71-63, T8; 2011 66-65-64-67, WIN; 2012 66-63-71-71, T22. He likes it here. His first win on TOUR was on this course so there will happy thoughts on his return this week. Born in Raleigh and currently living in Charlotte, the North Carolinian will be right at home this week and embraces the challenge. Simpson will be happy not to see Hole No. 5 at Oak Hill for a while as he played it five-over for the week. So that one hole for the week almost wiped out his course-record tying 64 on Friday.
Bill Haas: His worst round in his last four tournaments at Sedgefield has been 70 twice. The other 14 rounds have been in the 60s and this Carolinian (born in Charlotte; lives in Greenville, S.C.) has racked up two top 10s (T7, 2012; T10, 2009) in those four starts. The last two weeks have seen him finish T7 (WGC-BI) and T25 last week so his ball-striking is humming along. His nine top 10 finishes lead the TOUR and he’s 12th in ball-striking.
Chris Kirk: After a rocky May and June, Kirk has found form as July has turned into August. Always slick with the putter, 24th in strokes gained-putting, Kirk has proved through his T10 and WIN the last two seasons at Annandale that enjoys putting on Champions Bermudagrass. Last year he put four rounds in the 60s here to finish T22. In six rounds here, he’s been in the 60s.
Hideki Matsuyama: Why friggin’ not? I thought last week would be the week he would run out of gas but this kid is just grinding right through it all. After opening with 72 at Oak Hill, he had no problem backing it up with 68. When it looked like he was going to fall apart after 73 on Saturday he goes out with Keegan Bradley and lights up a 66 on Sunday in a major. Did I mention that he’s just 21 years of age? Go on, son!
Sergio Garcia: The defending champion has had no problem scoring around Sedgefield as he also has a T4 from 2009 on his resume from this event. He started to get hot this time last year but he was also fighting for a birth on the Euro Ryder Cup team so I’ll consider that as well. His form was better earlier in the season but he obviously likes this Donald Ross layout. Form is temporary, right? Right.
Jordan Spieth: I like the fact that he took some time off after his big, four-week stretch which included sixth at AT&T, T23 at Greenbrier, WIN at JDC and T44 in The Open Championship, to decompress and relax mentally and physically. He’s only 19 and he’s currently 16th in the FedExCup standings so he wants to be fresh to the wire. He chose NOT to play a WGC event to rest. That’s a sign of big-time maturity. Forget he MC last week as his ball-striking was just knocking off the rust.
Jimmy Walker: He’s played every event since the move back to Sedgefield in 2008 and he finally put it together last year to finish T4. His T4 included a second round 62 so he should have positive thoughts returning to North Carolina after posting MC at The Open and the PGA in his last two outings. The outing before that was T2 at Greenbrier.
Boo Weekley: He played super golf in the final three rounds at Oak Hill as he fired rounds of 69-70-67 to finish T12. He’s MC here in the last two years but his worst score is 70. #devilinthedetails. As always with Weekley, it will come down to how many putts he makes because he’s going to hit plenty of fairways and greens. What a difference a year makes as this time last season Weekley was hovering around the “un-magical” No. 125 on the FedExCup Playoff list. This season is his best since 2008 as he’s currently 12th in those same standings.
Carl Pettersson: Here’s this week’s HORSE-FOR-COURSE ladies and gentlemen. He backed up his win in 2008 with T4 finishes in each of the last two seasons. I know, I know, he’s not doing ANYTHING on TOUR at the moment that would suggest him breaking par anywhere, but the Sedgefield member went to high school here and college in Raleigh at N.C. State. He shares the course record of 61. He fired 8-under-par 62 here last year. He fired 63 here in 2011. If there is ANYWHERE to insert him into the lineup, it’s this week, and Sweden has been ON FIYAH.