The final major of the 2013 season is behind us and congratulations to Jason Dufner for his victory over a determined Jim Furyk at Oak Hill. Dufner has finally expelled the demons that haunted him since his collapse at the 2011 PGA Championship. However, without a pause the PGA Tour rolls on and this week and pull up shop in Greensboro North Carolina for the 74th edition of the Wyndham Championship.
The Wyndham Championship returned to Sedgefield Country Club in 2008 making it the only regular season tour event played on a track originally designed by the famed Donald Ross. This week’s event is the final stop in the PGA Tour’s regular season yet only five of the world’s top-20 are in the field. Those five are headlined by defending champion Sergio Garcia and former Fed Ex Cup Champions Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas. The tournament record was shot by Carl Pettersson in 2008 (259) and the 18-hole record is a remarkable 61 shot by four players (Carl Pettersson in 2008, ArjunAtwal in 2010, Kevin Na in 2010 and Tim Herron in 2012).
Sedgefield Country Club will play 7,130 yards and to a Par of 70 for this week’s Wyndham Championship. Within those exceptionally crafted 7,000 plus yards are a few holes that will challenge the player’s ability to focus and execute. A misstep at any of those holes could cause a two or three shot swing in a field all jockeying for Fed Ex Cup points entering the playoffs. Let’s look at a few of them.
Out of the gate the Par-4, 418 yard first hole will prove to be a test throughout all four rounds. In order to create the best angle to the green on approach players will be forced to take a line dangerously close to a challenging bunker. The number one green will set the tone for the round displaying the first of many small undulating greens.
The Par-4, 428 yard fourth hole will force player’s to deal with a semi-blind tee shot into a fairway that slopes from left to right. Much like the first hole it will be a risk reward tee shot with the ideal line cutting close to bunker on the left side of the fairway. With an ideal drive players will be able to attack the green with a high approach or a low shot that chases into the putting surface. Birdie is possible but if the tee shot is errant bogey is easily in play.
The Par-4, 423 yard sixth hole will prove itself to be the most challenging hole at Sedgefield Country Club yet again. This hole demands a left center tee shot that can approach the creek down the left side. If executed successfully the players will face an uphill approach shot to a large undulating green. Double-bogey is a score more than one player will make at number six this week.
Every course has a challenging section especially a Donald Ross designed course. At Sedgefield Country Club that is the stretch from the 10th to the 12th holes. The Par-4, 440 yard 10th hole is quite the entry to the back nine. Player’s will play downhill tee shots, careful to avoid the fairway bunker on the left, followed by uphill approaches to a challenging green.
The Par-4, 486 yard 11th hole does not provide a breather for the player’s. In fact they will have to play a solid tee shot down the right side or be forced into a challenging approach. The green is protected by mounds on its left side making a left side approach all but impossible to get close. The last of a torrid three hole stretch is the Par-3, 235 yard 12th hole. Player’s will play hybrids or long irons into a large two tiered green protected in the front by two deep bunkers. Par here all week will gain a stroke or two on the field.
Who will be able to navigate Sedgefield Country Club? Who really has a chance to win the 2013 Wyndham Championship? Predictions and contenders will abound across the wire leading up to tee shots on Thursday morning. Will a young player break through at the Wyndham Championship? Will a previous champion such as Sergio Garcia take the title? Let’s take a look at who I believe will ultimately be victorious at the 2013 Wyndham Championship along with four logical contenders for the crown.
Up Next: The Contenders and The Pick