2022 Wyndham Championship First-Round Leader Odds, Picks: Russell Henley, Harris English Hold Value
Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley
The PGA TOUR heads to the Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club this week to play the Wyndham Championship.
The final regular season event of the season features a solid field at a course that has tended to produce a relatively predictable leaderboard over the years.
Shorter hitters are absolutely in play this week, as hitting fairways typically is much more important at Sedgefield than hitting the ball a long way. It's a course in which playing from the short grass will give players a far better chance at getting consistent birdie looks.
In the past 10 renewals of the Wyndham Championship, there have been 17 first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the 17, 11 of those leaders — or co-leaders — have teed off in the morning and six have teed off in the afternoon.
This would suggest that there's probably an edge for the morning tee times.
When building a first-round leader card, it's always important to keep an eye on the weather. The wind can always change, but as of Tuesday evening, there doesn't appear to be any significant wind for either the AM or PM starters.
Morning starters should be predominantly targeted in first-round leader cards, but afternoon starters can't be completely ruled out.
2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic First-Round Leader Bets
Russell Henley +4000 (DraftKings)
Henley will be my only selection with an afternoon tee time. I'd prefer golfers in the morning wave, but Henley makes too much sense in the first-round leader market to ignore.
Henley opened with a 62 (-8) last year to kick off his Wyndham Championship and didn't slow down until the back nine on Sunday. Looking at his first-round statistics, the fast start isn't much of a surprise. In his past 75 rounds, he ranks second in Strokes Gained: Total in the first round.
I have some confidence that the 33-year-old can contend to win the tournament this week, but throughout his career, he's proven to be a much more accomplished player in the first round than the last.
Round 1 Tee Time: 1:22 p.m. ET
Brian Harman +4500 (DraftKings)
Brian Harman should be well rested after taking a few weeks off following the Open Championship. Sedgefield Country Club is a perfect spot for the lefty to make some noise, as his driving accuracy and putting ability makes him an ideal golfer to target this week.
Harman's course history at Sedgefield is boom or bust, with a 3rd- and 6th-place finish sprinkled among a handful of missed cuts.
However, he's coming into the event this year in pretty good form. He has two top-8 finishes in his past three starts, including the Travelers Championship, which I consider a fairly similar course to Sedgefield.
Harman has an early tee time and will look to take advantage of the fresh greens.
Round 1 Tee Time: 7:23 a.m. ET
Keith Mitchell +4500 (DraftKings)
Prior to the Scottish Open and Open Championship, Mitchell seemed to have plenty of positive momentum. In the four starts prior to his trip across the pond, Mitchell had finished progressively better in four consecutive starts, ending with a 6th-place finish at the Travelers Championship.
He now heads to a course that I believe should fit him pretty well considering his ability to get hot on Bermudagrass greens.
The former Georgia Bulldog is very familiar with the area and has historically played well on shorter Par 70 tracks.
Round 1 Tee Time: 7:45 a.m. ET
Harris English +9000 (DraftKings)
If English was in form, Sedgefield Country Club would be a perfect spot for him. He finds the fairway often, excels with his shorter irons and can putt with the best on TOUR.
However, English isn't in form. He's still working his way back from a long injury layoff, but given the fact that his recent struggles are built into the price, he's worth a shot.
I don't think he can play consistently enough for four rounds to win the tournament, but since his return, he's shown that he can put some solid rounds together.
In English's third start back at the Travelers Championship, he began the tournament with rounds of -4 and -5 and was in a tie for second after 36 holes. That performance showed me that, despite his rust, the 33-year-old can still go pretty low at courses where his skill set gives him a major advantage.
It's only a matter of time before English gets his game back on track. Sedgefield Country Club, with an early Thursday tee time, feels like a good place to start.
Round 1 Tee Time: 7:23 a.m. ET
Roger Sloan +18000 (DraftKings)
Sloan is a massive longshot in this market, and for good reason. He's struggled mightily for all of 2022 and most of 2021.
However, he's shown that when he does play well, it tends to be on Donald Ross-designed tracks.
Last season, Sloan shot an opening-round 65 at Detroit Golf Club, which was good for a tie for second on the leaderboard after Round 1. About a month later, the Canadian lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship, which is another Ross design.
He also finished 31st at the Wyndham Championship in 2021 and 21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019.
Sloan has managed to play some of his best golf on Ross tracks despite his poor form leading into most of those performances. Therefore, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see him start the week strong in Detroit.
Round 1 Tee Time: 8:24 a.m. ET