The Northern Trust Picks & Preview: Adam Scott & Webb Simpson Have Value as FedEx Cup Playoffs Begin
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Scott.
The drama in the final round of the Wyndham Championship was simply incredible. There were plenty of bad moments, especially for the three-day leader Russell Henley who started to stumble, most notably after a three-putt from just over 10 feet on the 11th hole. He went on to bogey two of the next three holes, bringing a large contingent back into the tournament.
Ultimately, the putter would bite Henley again at the 18th as he missed from inside of four feet to fall one shot short of what turned out to be a six-player playoff. Missed short putts were a theme in deciding the champion too, as Adam Scott stuffed his approach on the first playoff hole to a similar four-foot distance. He also burned the edge of the hole, sending all six players back to the 18th tee for one more go at it.
Kevin Kisner was the one to take advantage of the added opportunity as he put his approach to a similar distance as Scott's, but he drained the putt. Kiz captured his first win of the season, drumming up conversations of the Ryder Cup due to his tenacity in match play.
Now, we move on to the playoffs over the next three weeks to close out the season. Only Louis Oosthuizen has decided to take the week off after withdrawing due to injury at Wyndham. It will be a top-flight field and the last event of the season with a cut. Let's see who will look to take their form from Greensboro, NC up to the northeast for the Northern Trust.
3 Buys for the Northern Trust
While he didn't capitalize on a great opportunity for the win at the Wyndham, it's hard not to be encouraged by the week put together by Adam Scott. He finally showed some of the ball-striking that he has been known for over his career, as he gained more than two shots on approach in three of the four rounds.
The Australian had a great weekend, going 64-65 to climb his way into the playoff on Sunday. He ranked third in the field in strokes gained tee to green in the final round and gained 9.42 shots on the field in that category on the week. It's a great sign to see Scott turning things around after what has been a down season for the former number one player in the world.
There is no doubt about just how much Webb Simpson loves Sedgefield Country Club, but I think it could be a great, get-right spot for him heading into the playoffs. He was able to get into the mix over the weekend and finished a respectable T7 after a solid final round.
Webb certainly benefitted from an eagle hole-out on Sunday, but he led the field in strokes gained tee to green as well. He was spot across his game until he got to the greens where he uncharacteristically lost 2.45 strokes putting.
It was a really bad week for Webb on the greens as he regressed each round in that category. I expect he will bounce back on the greens this week at Liberty National, and if he can bring his ball-striking with him, he will be a player to watch out for at the Northern Trust.
The top player in the Wyndham field in strokes gained tee to green was not in the playoff, and frankly was never in contention. K.H. Lee gained 10.9 strokes on the field in his play getting to the green, with Saturday standing out above the rest. He gained nearly four-and-a-half strokes on the field on moving day and was able to put together a solid top-25 finish by the end of the week.
Lee's shortfall was on the greens, as he lost more than a stroke per round with the putter. If he can find some form with the flatstick next week and maintain his solid play in ball-striking and around the greens, he could be an interesting longshot for a top-20 type of bet in this elite field.