Wyndham Championship Round 3 Buys & Fades: Buy Justin Rose, Kevin Na, More at Sedgefield Country Club
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Rose.
It was another day of good scoring conditions Friday at Sedgefield Country Club, but the course still played nearly a stroke-and-a-half tougher than Thursday’s round. No one seemed to tell Russell Henley that the course was playing more difficult, though, as he backed up his opening-round 62 with a 6-under 64 effort.
Henley doubled his lead to four shots after two rounds, sitting in a comfortable position heading into the weekend at the Wyndham Championship.
He will have a lot of pressure on him over the next 36 holes, as the likes of Webb Simpson, Rory Sabbatini and Scott Piercy look to run him down from the second place. Justin Rose leads a group of three players just a shot further back at 9-under through two rounds.
We still haven’t seen a player go wire to wire in a win this season, as Harris English fell apart on Sunday last week in the latest attempt. Clearly, Henley is playing some fantastic golf, but his lead will present value in the chasers if we can find the right players to get into the mix over the weekend.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3
Looking for buys heading into the weekend is an interesting proposition, because you really have to convince yourself the lead is actually the group at 10 under rather than the 14 under pace set by Henley. If you’re going to take a chaser, it has to be because you believe Henley will stumble or someone will outplay him.
It’s hard to look past the first two groups of players, with the one that jumps out being Justin Rose at +1600 on DraftKings. He’s a major champion and proven winner in a field that lacks that ability.
Rose has been up and down this season, showing short flashes of brilliance, including a memorable opening round at The Masters in April. The positive signs I’ve seen from the Englishman this week is that he has put together strong back-to-back rounds of golf, gaining more than two strokes on the field on approach in each round. He’s my first buy from a small top tier of players that could be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
If you aren’t already in on Kevin Na, now is the time. I tried to go here last week and he fell apart, However, the fact is his ball striking has been there for multiple weeks. He continues to really hit it well and despite some struggles on the greens Thursday, plus a notable miss from less than three feet for birdie on Friday, he still posted a 6-under 64 round.
Na is known for walking in putts and it’s really odd to see that club hold him back some in recent event. I feel comfortable his putting woes are just a blip on the radar, and if he continues to gain more than a 1.5 strokes with his irons like he has done in each round , he can be in position to win this tournament.
Finally, I’ll grab another longshot, but still in the top class of this field. Sungjae Im has been long known to be a better player on the bermudagrass he is on at Sedgefield, and it’s showing up again. He ranked third in the field in strokes gained tee to green Friday, but gave nearly three shots back with his putter.
He’s worth a dabble if not at the +5000 to win, certainly for a top-10 type of finish, sitting just two shots from that position heading into Moving Day.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3
The first fade comes straight from the strokes gained numbers, as Scott Piercy has always been known as a ball striker with a balky putter, but his game was reversed. He was less than field average with his approach in the second round and only slightly above it off the tee. Piercy was able to make up for those shortcomings by gaining 3.61 shots on and around the greens to post a 4-under 66 round.
We might see him bounce back to the strong day he had across the board Thursday, but his lack of consistency this season has me betting his opening round was the outlier. I am fading Piercy from the top group and expecting he will be the name we see drop off the leaderboard over the weekend.
John Augenstein is my next fade and it really has nothing to do with his play Friday, but rather his lack of experience. Augenstein will be teeing it up on the weekend for just the second time of 2021, plus he has really struggled to find his game to start his career at this level.
The former Vanderbilt player has a little ways to go before he can truly expect to contend on TOUR, and I expect this weekend to be another learning experience in that direction. His 65 on Friday was certainly impressive, as he gained more than three shots on the field with his approach. Yet, it’s hard to anticipate he can remain within the top 15 as the pressure ramps up.
I am going back to Kiradech Aphibarnrat for my final fade, only partially because I like typing his name. His magic putter kept going Friday, as he gained another 1.41 strokes on the greens to make it 4.41 through just two rounds at Sedgefield Country Club.
Aphibarnrat lost strokes to the field on approach again, and he just simply can’t keep this up on the weekend to remain in a top-25 type of position unless he finds his iron game.