2021 Wyndham Championship Picks: Our Staff’s Best Outright Bets at Sedgefield Country Club, Including Will Zalatoris, Webb Simpson
Getty Images. Pictured: Will Zalatoris (left), Charl Schwartzel (center) and Webb Simpson.
- The PGA TOUR heads to Sedgefield Country Club for the final tournament before the FedEx Cup playoffs.
- Some of the biggest names are taking the tournament off for a final bit of rest, but there's still plenty of compelling players looking to close the season on a high.
- Our staff delivers their favorite outright bets for the Wyndham Championship, below.
The FedEx Cup playoffs are so close we can taste it.
But first, a quick stop in North Carolina at Sedgefield Country Club.
The Wyndham Championship will host a field that is void of the PGA TOUR’s biggest names, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on intrigue. Plenty of players have their eye on a spot at next week’s Northern Trust Open at TPC Boston and a playoff spot, and some very recognizable names need big results.
Our team of golf betting analysts break down their favorite picks to win the Wyndham Championship below.
Will Zalatoris (+2800)
Jason Sobel: Just one month ago, it looked like Zalatoris’ special rookie/not-a-rookie season might be coming to a premature end. He took a big swing from the thick heather at Royal St. George’s, causing back pain that forced him to withdraw the next day. He didn’t compete again until this past week, but perhaps a little time away was just what he needed.
Zalatoris finished T-8 in Memphis, his best result since the same one at the PGA Championship three months ago. At TPC Southwind, he was dead neutral in strokes gained on approach shots in the opening round, then picked up strokes on the field with his irons in each of the ensuing three rounds. That, of course, is a pretty common occurrence for Zalatoris, who has quickly established himself as one of the better second-shot players in the game.
What isn’t common is the fact that he gained at least 0.88 strokes putting in three of the four rounds. Like so many of the game’s better ball strikers that we speak about on a weekly basis, he really only needs to roll the rock just a little above average in order to contend on a given week. But trending in the right direction with his flatstick is only one reason to like him here.
Another is that he’s got some local ties, having played his college golf at Wake Forest, which is about 30 minutes away from Sedgefield Country Club. And then there’s the much bigger reason that despite top-10s in three majors during the current campaign and a world ranking inside the top-30, this will be his final start of the season because he’s not an official PGA TOUR member.
Unless, of course, he wins.
That’s the only way for Zalatoris to qualify for his rightful spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs. As silly as it sounds that he’s on the outside looking in, that should be enough motivation for him to step on the gas pedal and go for broke this week. There’s nothing he can do to harm his status as a rising star, but something he can do about being a disruptor in a system that has left him out, if only because the powers-that-be never envisioned a player getting to this level without official membership.
Look, nobody will cry for Zalatoris if he’s forced to take a few weeks off before restarting the 2021-22 season next month as a full-time member, but he’ll still have plenty of support rallying him to the impending playoffs. With so much else in his favor this week, there’s no better time to bag his first career victory.
Russell Henley (+3300)
Chris Murphy: Full disclosure, my first click was Will Zalatoris, and I really like his opportunity this week as well, but since Sobel has us covered there, I’ll highlight another option in this range.
Russell Henley has been playing great of late, outside of a missed cut at The Open, which really isn’t a tournament that will ever suit his game too well. Prior to that short week in England, he had three straight top-20 finishes including his run at the U.S. Open. He has really found his game this summer, and this is a course that is ideally suited for what he does well.
Henley is best known for his approach game, specifically his wedges. He will get a ton of opportunities to display that this week at Sedgefield where a high percentage of shots will come from less than 175 yards out.
He also has an extreme split putting on the Bermudagrass greens he will see at the Wyndham, and that combination of approach and putting play will give him every opportunity to score enough to contend in what has historically been a birdie-fest.
Charl Schwartzel (+5000)
Matt Vincenzi: Charl Schwartzel is finishing up one of his best seasons in recent memory and ranks 45th in the FedEx Cup standings. Coming off of a runner-up finish at the 3M Open, the South African returns this week to a course where he has had some success, including a third-place finish in 2015.
Schwartzel has been an inconsistent putter throughout his career but ranks seventh in this field in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast Bermuda greens in his past 24 rounds.
Sedgefield Country Club has been a spot on the schedule where veterans have had some resurgent wins, and it feels like a spot where the 36-year-old could get it done.
Charl Schwartzel (+5000)
Josh Perry: Schwartzel doesn’t play here often but was third in 2015, so the course should suit his game. He’s also coming off a second-place finish in his last start at the 3M Open, so the game should be in good shape.
Webb Simpson (+1200)
Landon Sillinsky: I hate to be that guy who touts the favorite, because this isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here telling you to bet the shortest player on the oddsboard.
However, if there was ever a tournament where a player fits a specific course, it would be this week with Webb. His history at Sedgefield is well-documented, as he’s finished outside the top six just once since 2014 and won this event in 2011.
While many of the game’s elites take this week off to prepare for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Simpson treats this as his Super Bowl. He grew up and still currently resides in North Carolina and played his college golf at Wake Forest. Also, as you may have heard already, he named his daughter Wyndham because he loves this place so much.
I saw all I needed to see out of Simpson last week at the St. Jude, posting a final-round 64 while gaining over three strokes on approach and 2.6 with the flatstick. We know Simpson is one of the premiere wedge players in the sport and can white hot on fast bermuda greens. It’s also a bonus that Patrick Reed withdrew, making his path to the winner’s circle that much easier.
I think the stars are aligned this week for Simpson and he could run away and hide in this weaker field.
Rickie Fowler (+5500)
Bryan Berryman: The names at the top of the board this week simply do not intrigue me at their given prices, so I’m dipping down a bit to Fowler here. Rickie seems to be going a bit overlooked by the betting public in a field that is lacking true starpower, and I think he’s a better course fit than he’s getting credit for.
At Sedgefield, it is imperative that golfers consistently find the fairway to give themselves a chance to win. This statement is corroborated by the course’s historical data.
I took a deep dive into the winners of this event since 2014; their ranks in driving accuracy for the week were fifth (Camilo Villegas), 10th (Davis Love III), sixth (Si Woo Kim), eighth (Stenson), 51st (Snedeker), second (Poston), and fourth (Herman). As you can see, six of the seven previous winners of this event ranked inside the top 10 for the week in driving accuracy.
Looking at some of these names, the player profile is clear. They all rely on accuracy, rather than distance, to compete and win on tour.
I think Fowler fits the mold of a Wyndham Championship winner. Over the last 12 tracked rounds, Rickie ranks 17th in this field in fairways hit and has consistently ranked well in this category over the course of his career. His biggest weapon, the putter, has awoken in a big way over the last five events gaining an average of 2.64 strokes per tournament.
Needing a 21st-place finish or better to avoid missing the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career, we’re getting a motivated player who has been on the rebound. I think Rickie breaks through this week for a big win, stamping his ticket into the playoffs.
Sungjae Im (+3000)
Rob Bolton: Unlike Landon, I’d harbor zero shame in circling the favorite, but since he’s already done that…
But seriously, Jon Rahm delivered on that position at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, so I’ll never forget why it matters. Your job is to multiply the investment when it presents so strongly. I compare favorites in betting to No. 1 choices in One & Dones, and if you were going to rank the No. 1’s in every tournament, Simpson at Sedgefield would rank near if not at the top.
In my attempt to distract you, I’ll state a case for Sungjae Im, who sits at No. 2 in my power rankings at PGATOUR.com.
All five of the most recent Wyndham champions have scored 22- or 21-under par, which means that they’ve averaged under 65 for all four rounds. Im has recorded top 10s in both appearances at Sedgefield. While he’s among the busiest on the planet, it’s no less impressive that he’s leading the TOUR with 63 red numbers (second-most is 58) and 57 sub-70s (second-most is 47).
Even if he’s lethargic from traveling from Japan to Memphis to Greensboro over the past three weeks, I always remember how valuable a shootout can be for the fatigued. In 2010, when Stuart Appleby prevailed at the Greenbrier with the walk-off 59 to clip Jeff Overton by one, it was the Aussie’s 11th consecutive week on the road. I doubt even Im would blush at that agenda.