2021 Wyndham Championship Round 4 Buys & Fades: Ride Russell Henley to Victory
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley.
Moving day at Sedgefield Country Club saw a number of the chasers down the leaderboard going into Saturday make a charge towards the top, while the leaders were held in neutral.
Russell Henley was definitely a different player in the third round as he struggled to break par and was really searching for his game throughout the round. Others were able to take advantage, but only to an extent, as Henley still maintains a three-shot advantage going into Sunday.
Tyler McCumber and Branden Grace will be Henley's playing partners in the final group as they will go off early on Sunday, in threesomes, due to potential weather issues. McCumber shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday and will start the day three shots back of Henley, while Grace had one of the low rounds of the day with a 64 to put him at 11-under and four shots behind.
Five others will start the final round in the same position as Grace, meaning that any stumble by Henley will bring a number of players back into the mix for the Wyndham Championship.
Let's take a look at the strokes gained data from Round 3 on Saturday to see if we can find a winner and some chasers to buy into the final round.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
I can't bail now on my pre-tournament pick of Russell Henley to win. He has been head and shoulders above the rest of the field through three rounds, and even as he struggled on Saturday, he still found a way to maintain a solid lead.
Obviously, it's concerning that he lost strokes both on approach and on the greens, the two categories that are most important for a win at Sedgefield. Those were the two areas where he was the most successful through the first 36 holes, and the positive of it is that he was able to survive his worst round without giving up the lead.
He may also benefit mentally from not having to wait around all day for his tee time tomorrow as the weather will send all of the players off early, and Henley will get the chance to wake up early and get on with it. He was my pick to win from the start, and there isn't enough to go away from that selection on Sunday.
I am going to double down one final time on Kevin Na. If there is one player for Henley to be fearful of on Sunday, it's Na in my eyes. He is someone that can get scorching hot with the putter, and he is also a perennial winner on TOUR.
Na has gained nearly three shots on the field tee to green across his first three rounds this week, and while the putter has been a shocking struggle for him this season, there is still plenty of reason to believe he can get hot over the final 18 holes. I'm going back to Kevin Na here as my pick to win if Henley slips up.
I can only go one shot further back on Sunday, as I think 17-under will be the minimum number likely needed to make a playoff for the win in the final round. It's a stretch to ask the guys at minus-10 to shoot a 63, but it feels like that is what they will need to get in the mix. The player in that group with the best odds, and in my mind, the best chance to get that done is Adam Scott.
Webb Simpson feels like the player with the most likely opportunity for that type of round, but paying +1600 at best for a 63 just seems crazy. I'll instead more than double that to Scott for +3500 and hope he can get the broomstick rolling for a low round on Sunday.
Scott has shown some sharp irons in two of the first three rounds this week, gaining 2.69 shots on approach on Saturday. He coupled that with a putter that gained more than two strokes on the field to put together a 6-under 64. As I mentioned, he'll need to do it again, but he certainly has the mindset and pedigree to get it done. I'll take a swing at him in a bunch of matchups and top finishes on Sunday at Sedgefield.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
Tyler McCumber had missed five consecutive cuts coming into the week and has one top-20 finish since the start of the year. He's a great story, but I can't expect him to be ready to handle the pressure of a final group on Sunday with that extended track record.
We won't see anything to steer us off of McCumber in the strokes gained numbers from Saturday, or even for the week as he has been as steady as they come throughout the tournament. I am simply playing the pressure and inexperience in the different vibe of a final tee time as my fade for McCumber on Sunday.
I could certainly end up with egg on my face with these fades, but I am going all in on fading everyone in the final group except for Henley. Branden Grace is someone that has made it happen for 54 holes at Sedgefield in a non-traditional way. He has gained nearly all of his strokes this week on and around the greens. The South African has struggled off the tee and hasn't found one round where he gained more than a stroke on the field with his approach.
Grace is certainly more experienced in this spot than McCumber, but it's hard to see his game holding up on Sunday if he doesn't find more form with his ball striking. For that reason, he's my second fade in the final round.
Justin Rose is going from a Saturday buy, to a Sunday fade for me as he flat lost his ball-striking in the third round. Unfortunately, this has been a bit of a trend for the Englishman who can't quite put a full tournament together. I guess you could take solace in the fact that he didn't play himself out of it, but for me it's quite discouraging to see him lose both aspects of the game off the tee and on approach in such a key spot.