Two players to back in the Wyndham Championship


As the PGA season approaches the end, I’m swinging for the fences with the players I’m targeting to contend at Sedgefield Country Club for the Wyndham Championship. Driving accuracy holds a bit more weight this week with the thickness of the Bermuda rough, while iron play will be a factor as well due to the size of the greens. I’m looking at players who can keep the ball in play and give themselves opportunities at making some birdies.

Will Zalatoris is the highest-ranked player in the field (No. 14), which tells me that I can take some shots with a few players further down the odds board. Here are two that have my attention this week.

Hayden Buckley

Top 40: +200

Top 20: +500

Top 10: +1200

Top 5: +3000

To win: +18000

Two-to-one for a Top 40 is juicy. A former Korn Ferry Tour winner, the Tennessee-born player has been a model of improvements and consistency as of late. There was a two-month block starting in February when Buckley lost strokes putting, but he’s gained strokes in four of his last six events. After four straight missed cuts in May, he has rebounded with six straight made cuts, four of which he has finished in the top 40 — with his best performance resulting in a 14th-place finish in the U.S. Open.

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Looking at his stats sheet, it’s a complete 180. In the first half of the year, Buckley was in the red for strokes gained total in nine of his first 12 tournaments. He’s been in the green since, gaining strokes in six of his last seven. Buckley has found something, and with a field like this, perhaps he can find his fourth Top 20 of the year.

Scott Stallings

Top 40: +110

Top 20: +270

Top 10: +600

Top 5: +1200

To win: +6000

The Massachusetts native has three straight top-10 finishes. That’s the non-analysis reason to back Stallings. He finished T8 in the Travelers Championship, T4 in the John Deere Classic, and T10 in last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. In all three events, Stallings has just one red mark, just barely losing less than a stroke (-.83) around the green in the Travelers. He had three solid ball-striking outings, while remaining fairly neutral with his short game. That’s the recipe I’m looking for. He’s coming into this event gaining both off the tee and with the irons, while remaining neutral or being slightly positive with the short game. Could he pop off? Getting plus money for a Top 40 is definite value but sprinkling on Stallings to have his fourth-straight top 10 finish at 6-1 is a fair risk.

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