Wyndham Championship 2022 picks, predictions & best bets from golf expert Diane Knox Balas
How much do we love Tony Finau?!?!
I hope you backed him last week to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and therefore love him as much as I do. It’s back-to-back wins for Tony and my FIFTH outright winner of this PGA Tour season! We were definitely celebrating in my house on Sunday evening! Finau enjoyed a celebration of his own, dancing with family and friends, some floral garlands and the trophy before flying home. The video is doing the rounds on social media if you haven’t seen it.
Tony Finau celebrating his back-to-back PGA Tour titles 😂
How do you celebrate your wins on the golf course? pic.twitter.com/1AoTXTHGKZ
— HowDidiDo (@HowDidiDo) August 1, 2022
This is a big week; the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina is the final regular-season event on the PGA Tour before the FedExCup playoffs begin. The top 125 players in the season-long standings will make it to the first of three playoff events and will also lock up their full playing privileges for the 2022/23 season. Therefore, for the players who are just outside the 125 getting in with good play this week is imperative.
Kevin Kisner is defending champion after winning a six-man playoff. As last year suggests, this is one of those tournaments where anything can happen. In 2020 Jim Herman came from nowhere and won at -21, beating Billy Horschel by one stroke, and in 2019 it was a bogey-free J.T. Poston who pocketed his debut victory.
The motivation for this week is moving on up — either into the 125 or bettering your FedEx Cup number to ensure you make it into the top 70 for the second event and ultimately get all the way to the Tour Championship at East Lake (the top 30 will play). Finishing in the top 30 comes with a whole heap of added bonuses, which I’ll get into over the coming weeks.
A lot of the big names are skipping this week to prepare for the playoffs, but the highlight names competing are Horschel, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im and Shane Lowry. Names of note “on the bubble” of the 125 are Rickie Fowler (123), Austin Smotherman (125) and Cameron Champ (130).
Sedgefield Country Club: What you need to know
This course is a par 70, measuring 7,131 yards. It’s a real positional, short golf course, where distance is not really rewarded. Accuracy off the tee, however, most definitely is rewarded and past champions Kisner and Webb Simpson really demonstrate the mold for success around here.
Accuracy plus excellent putting are the recipe for success around Sedgefield.
With only two par-5s — which are reachable in two — you will see a load of short par-4s this week, and eight of them measure under 450 yards. The 18th always plays as the toughest on the course and is a longer par-4 of over 500 yards with an elevated green. Nothing like some late-in-the-day drama when guys are fighting for their PGA Tour cards!
I want accurate players who are great with their irons and can get hot with the putter this week, combined with guys who have a lot to play for.
Knox’s Knockout Wyndham Championship picks
Si Woo Kim (+2800) DK Sportsbook
Si Woo is a favorite this week; that’s for sure. He loves this course — finished runner-up after losing in the playoff last year, was 3rd in 2020, 5th in 2019 and won in 2016. That speaks for itself, but he also plays well on comparable courses, finishing second at Harbour Town in ’18. He finished in the top 15 at the British Open, as well as last week, is striking the ball great and was just outside the top 10 in putting at the Rocket Mortgage. Although he has posted only one top-10 finish this season, he sits at No. 47 in the FedEx Cup standings — which shows just how well he is playing, and how close he is. I’m also taking him at +550 for a top 5 this week.
Adam Scott (+3300) BetMGM
For a guy who typically doesn’t like a play in a huge amount of tournaments, Scott is on a roll. After finishing within the top-15 at the U.S. Open and the British, he played well for 3 of the 4 days in Detroit last week — carding a closing round 65. I had picked him for a top-5 finish last week, but his Saturday 78 killed that. However, he’s clearly in a groove right now and happy with his game for him to be playing again this week to try and climb the FedEx Cup standings from 73rd. This long hitter will have to scale back and keep it in the fairway, but tee-to-green he was 15th last week and is putting really well. If you’re playing well, keep playing! Plus, he made it all the way to last year’s playoff at the Wyndham Championship. Let’s go one better this year!
Brian Harman (+4000) DK Sportsbook
Harman has been knocking on the door all season long. He has produced five top-10 finishes, including a recent T6 at the British Open and a T8 at the Travelers just a few weeks prior. He is an excellent putter and sits at 14th in accuracy off-the-tee. The approach from around 150 yards is going to be important on these short par-4s, and this former Georgia Bulldog sits at 38th for the season in that stat category. I said I liked accurate guys who are elite putters and Harman sits within the top 15 in both. At No.53 in the FedEx Cup standings, he is primed to take it all the way to East Lake.
Harris English (+12500) FanDuel
This kind of course suits Harris’ game to a tee. He won at TPC River Highlands in ’21, and even coming back from injury he finished inside the top 20 there at the end of June. English has good performance history at similar short point-and-shoot courses like Sea Island and Mayakoba. After missing most of the season following surgery, he would need a huge week to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs…but I won’t be overlooking him.
Wyndham Championship Prop Bets
Denny McCarthy top-5 finish (+600 at DK Sportsbook)
I have backed Denny a lot this season; I’m not stopping now. One of the best putters on the tour, he has a great record at this tournament — finishing T15 last year, T9 in 2020 and T22 in ’19. With five top-10s this season (three of them coming in his last five starts), he sits at No.39 in the FedExCup standings and is therefore very close to making it all the way to the Tour Championship for the first time. Fourth in putting, 6th in scrambling and 17th in scoring average makes him a good pick for this week.
Tyler Duncan top-10 finish (+1000 at DK Sportsbook)
There are certain guys who need to finish strong at the end of the season and Tyler Duncan is definitely one of them. He’s in the top 10 for driving accuracy this season, played well enough last weekend to shoot a 65 on Saturday, and sits at 113th in the standings. His best finish of the season came at the RBC Heritage on a short course that requires similar play to Sedgefield CC. I like him to do something this week to lock up his card and playoff spot.
Luke Donald top-10 finish (+2800 at DK Sportsbook)
The newly-appointed Ryder Cup Europe team captain has to be feeling on top of the world this week. He is a good iron player — a skill much-needed around Sedgefield — and sits within the top-10 in approach play for the season. Luke’s putting stats are decent too, sitting within the top 70 on tour. I’m relying on the feel-good factor for this top-10 longshot!
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