2008 Wyndam Championship Preview and Picks

Wyndam Championship Preview and Picks
Dates: Thursday August 14th - Sunday Aug 17th, 2008
Location: Sedgefield CC - Greensboro, N.C.
Television: The Golf Channel/CBS

The FedEx Cup Playoffs are nearing, but one more regular season event remains, the Wyndam Championship from Greenboro, North Carolina. The Wyndam will sports a bit of a weaker field, typical for a week following a Major. Most of the the playoff bound players are also taking the week off to prep for the Barclays, but there is some room to sneak into the playoffs as well as earn a victory that will punch Major tickets for next year. Vijay Singh highlights the field from Sedgefield CC, and Brandt Snedeker is back to defend his ’07 title. The Golf Channel will carry the early round telecasts, with CBS picking up the weekend coverage. XM radio has tournament content and coverage all week.

Success at this year’s Wyndam will be tough to determine off last year’s results as the tournament site will move from Forest Oaks CC to Sedgefield. The course will play as one of the shorter tracks on Tour, measuring just over 7100 yards and playing at par-70 for the Championship. While the players will not have to be long off the tee, they better be accurate to the fairways and into the greens to take advantage. A mix of contours throughout the course will challenge the players to find the right spots and avoid the hazards on the way to birdies.

Each week we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and breakdown some of the top contenders. We make a pick to win from a short heavy favorite, middle of the road and longshot odds look as well. Odds to win the Wyndam are courtesy of the board at Bodog Sportsbook.

Vijay Singh
10 to 1 to win and 2 to 1 to finish in the top-5 (including ties)
Vijay is the chalk (heavy favorite) by far this week, with no other in the field have near the pedigree of Singh. Vijay has been a on and off for the last month, breaking through with a win at the Bridgestone, but missing the cut at the British and the PGA Championship. The going should be easier this week and Vijay should be back in contention. Singh should have plenty of looks for bird with his 13th ranked GIR% and his 104th ranked putting stat has been improving since the belly putter is back in the bag. Vijay has the 7th best scoring average on Tour and converts over 3.6 birdies per round.

Paul Casey
16 to 1 and 10 to 3
Casey will come into the week on his best run of ’08 with three consecutive top-20’s including a T7 at the British Open. Casey should have the scoring clubs into the greens this week as he averages a 20th ranked 299 yards off the tee. Getting the wedges close will help Casey score as he ranks outside the top-200 in putting average. The driver will set up the tee to green game, and if the putter is true, look for the good play to continue.

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David Toms
20 to 1 and 4 to 1
Toms has spent the ’08 grinding it out on Tour, missing only three cuts in 16 starts, but failing to crack the top-10 in any event. A T27 at the Travelers a few weeks back contained a Saturday 64, but a 71 on Sunday kept Toms back of the field. Toms did solve the PGA last week to some extent, finishing in a tie for 15th. Toms is a bit back in the field in terms of tee length, but this course will not penalize him there, and he is plenty accurate at 64% of fairways hit, so birdie chances will be there. Maybe David can take advantage this week against a lesser field.

Tim Clark
25 to 1 and 9 to 2
Like Toms, Clark is another player whose lack of distance will be covered up by the course length and the fairway accuracy should have him in position. Clark is an above average putter on Tour, so the cash in rate could be there this week. Clark has stuggled in the last two Majors, but has top-20’s in the Deere and Bridgestone in between. The iron play will determine Clark’s success this week; he will need to improve on a 181st ranked greens hit stat.

Brandt Snedeker
28 to 1 and 9 to 2
The reigning champ will have to tackle a different course to defend this year, but some good mojo should still be there. Brandt had a tough go of it with three straight missed cuts to start July, but has a T9 and T24 in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship sandwiched around them. Snedeker’s strength is in his putting, and a solid overall game lands him at 70th in the All Around ranks. The Sedgefield course should be kind to Brandt’s back to back chances if the driver play is strong.

Carl Petterson
28 to 1 and 9 to 2
Petterson has a lot of top-25’s this season, but hasn’t been able to seriously contend in any one event. Petterson had a good run on hard courses with consecutive top-10’s at the Memorial and U.S. Open, but has been average since. Look for Carl to cover up a shaky driver game with an above average putter that notches 3.29 birdies per 18. Petterson is 30th on Tour in scoring average and has the 15th most overall birdies in ’08.

Ken Duke
33 to 1 and 11 to 2
Duke is playing his best golf of the season lately, with four top-15 finishes in his last six starts, including a second at the U.S. Bank. Duke has been a birdie machine this summer, notching the 12th most on Tour and going 35-under over a three start stretch a few weeks ago. Duke is still streaking, coming off a T13 at the PGA Championship, and his putter has carried him through much of it. If the tee to green game is strong, Duke could breakthrough this week.

Steve Marino
50 to 1 and 9 to 1
Marino takes our longshot spot this week, based in large part to his 2nd best overall birdie total. Steve struggled at the PGA, but went T3 at the RBC Canadian a week earlier and has four top-10’s on the year. Marino hits over 65% of greens, and is an above average putter. Both should play well here, along with his 290+yard driving average. Marino is in the top-15 in both birdie and scoring average, so he can keep up if a shootout opens up.

My “official” picks to win the tournament:

Short: Vijay Singh (10-1 odds) - Hard not to pick Singh here as the clear best in the field. The putter will be key, but the birdie chances should be plentiful.

Middle of the Road: Ken Duke (33-1 odds) - A slew of top-15’s of late could turn into a win given the field this week.

Longshot: Steve Marino (50-1 odds) - Missed fairways have been trouble
at times, but Sedgefield won’t punish like the PGA setup.

Good Luck!

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