After the drama of the long-delayed first major championship of 2020 the world’s elite, for the most part, take a break ahead of the FedEx Cup Play-Offs (which start next week) and so the bulk of the tour have a final chance to reach that seasonal finale or, for those further down the rankings, shore-up cards for the 2020-21 season.
Sedgefield Country Club is a well-known venue having been on the circuit since the 2008 season.
It’s a par-70 played at 7,127-yards which features Bermuda grass on the fairways, in the rough and on the greens.
Designed by Donald Ross there is little call for distance from the tee, owing to the dominance of doglegs and the tangly nature of the rough: finding the greens from the fairways has always been a much simpler task than doing so from the rough.
Which is not to say that this is a tough challenge, simply that the smart play is to find the short grass and attack from there.
That sense that everyone pops it into safety from the tee might explain a strong link with TPC Sawgrass winners because, as detailed below, five winners there have also triumphed here.
Ryan Moore said of the test: “It’s a position golf course. It’s not one you can just send driver down there all day. So guys that maybe have a 30, 40 yard advantage on me off the tee, they don’t have that advantage around this golf course except maybe a couple of holes. I can reach both par-5s, so both of those are score-able for me. And if you’re in the fairway, you can hit wedges at a lot of these pins.”
Angles to consider
1/ Strokes Gained Tee to Green
In 2016 the 1-2-3 in this category finished 1-2-3 on the leaderboard, two years later the 1-2 in T2G were the tournament winner and joint runner-up, and last year the top five in T2G made up the top five on the leaderboard. 2017 was less convincing, but the top three finishers were all top nine in T2G.
2/ Strokes Gained Approach
Setting up the birdies matters here. Last year’s winner JT Poston was first for this category, 2018 and 2017 champs Brandt Snedeker and Henrik Stenson were both third, and 2016 winner Si Woo Kim was second.
3/ Putting Average
Kim, Stenson and Snedeker all had middling SG: Putting stats, but ranked second for Putting Average. (Poston didn’t, he was 20th, but he was first for GIR and 100% for Scrambling, which made up for it.)
A number of golfers have completed the Sawgrass-Sedgefield double: Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Davis Love III, Si-Woo Kim and Henrik Stenson.
The above angles have been used to create a shortlist from which the following players are selected.
Boasts fine stats, with his field ranking of 20th for SG: Approach and 11th for Tee to Green over the last eight weeks, plus ninth for Putting Average. At first glance his course record is not much to write home about, with a pair of missed cuts, but they sandwich T24th in 2018 which is also a little better than it first seems because he was in contention most of the week, posting 64s on Thursday and Saturday.
The champion of 2016 is one of those who has completed the Sawgrass double and he made a decent start there this season before the tournament was closed down. His 65 had him in a tie for second and in recent weeks he has found a rich seam of consistent form. Last week he made it seven full weeks of golf on the trot and his T13th was very handy. He ranks 25th for SG: Approach and 22nd for Tee to Green.
He’s played the tournament six times, never missed a cut and he has twice contended, in 2012 and 2018. He’s ticked off four top 20s on the bounce and has seven in his last eight starts. Victories at Southwind and El Camaleon point to his happiness on Bermuda greens and his stats are good: 15th in the field for SG Approach, eighth for Tee to Green, 32nd for Putting Average.
1pt e.w. Abraham Ancer at 25/1 (Skybet, William Hill, BF Sportsbook, PaddyPower 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
1pt e.w. Si-Woo Kim at 40/1 (Skybet, William Hill 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
1pt e.w. Harris English at 30/1 (Skybet, William Hill 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)