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PGA Tour preview: Wyndham Championship in Greensboro

Preview – PGA Tour – Wyndham Championship – Sedgefield Country Club – Greensboro, North Carolina –

This week’s PGA Tour stop is the final opportunity for players to either jockey for position or earn enough points to qualify for next week’s FedEx Cup Playoffs – only the Top 125 in the FedEx Cup Standings advance.

The champion earns 500 FedEx Cup points.

Played one of the tour’s most historic sites – Sedgefield Country Club (par-70, 7,130 yards) – this Donald Ross-designed venue dates back to 1925. Past legendary champions include Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Gary Player.

The field includes former FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker, who is No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and local favorite Webb Simpson. Webb, a former U.S. Open champ, won the 2011 Wyndham Championship.

Hideki Matsuyama is the top ranked player in the field at 18th. But, the field also includes plenty of international-born players including Stephen Gallacher, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano and Matteo Manassero.

Veterans players and Champions Tour contenders Fred Couples and Rocco Mediate are also competing. Rocco won this title in 1993 and 2002.

Players need to go low at Greensboro for a chance to win. Four rounds in the mid-to-low 60s are required to win. Look for a birdie-machine on tour to contend like Matsuyama. He has been in the Top 5 in Birdie Average for a portion of the season – Top 10 in birdies or better on Par-5s.

The Golf Channel has coverage Thursday and Friday and early coverage on the weekend with CBS Sports and its crew handling the leaders Saturday and Sunday.

2013 Recap:

  • Patrick Reed (14-under overall) outlasted Jordan Spieth on the second playoff hole to win the championship. Reed opened the week with a 65-64 to set the pace. Brian Harman and John Huh ended up two shots back and T-3, while Matt Jones, Zach Johnson and Matt Every logged T-5 efforts at 11-under. Jones carded a Sunday 62.

FANTASY: Snedeker enters with some momentum after a solid run at the PGA Championship. He also has two Top 10s on this layout including a victory in 2007, although he missed the cut in 2013. Tim Clark, fresh off a win in late July in Canada, was a runner-up here in 2012. He fits the mold for this layout. Justin Hicks enters this week well rested. He logged Top 5s in his last two PGA Tour starts including a runner-up to Geoff Ogilvy in Reno.

BETTORS: At www.ladbrokes.com, Snedeker is the outright betting favorite at 12-to-1 odds. Reed is a 20-1 pick to defend his title – always a difficult feat. He has two wins earlier this season. Take Matsuyama (20-1) to net his second win of 2014 (the Memorial). Mats was T-15 in 2013 but carded a 65 and 66 in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. For a longer shot on a European Tour regular, take Francesco Molinari at 40-1.

Other Golf News:

  • Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis are co-favorites at 6-1 odds at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in New York. Lydia Ko and Suzann Pettersen are both in the field and considered contenders.
  • Rory McIlroy’s three straight wins moved him into the FedEx Cup Standings lead ahead of Jimmy Walker. Walker, who has three victories in 2014, has led since capturing the Frys.com Open last October.
  • Michelle Wie, the U.S. Women’s Open champion from Pinehurst, is out of action for several weeks. Wie is out with a stress reaction in a bone on her right hand.
  • Matsuyama, who has four Top 10s this year, is first on the PGA Tour in approaches from 100-125 yards and 150-175 yards.
  • The European Tour hosts the inaugural Made in Denmark event this week. Thomas Bjorn, a veteran of 15 career European Tour wins, is the unofficial host and betting favorite at 14-1. Bjorn, who has locked up a Team Europe Ryder Cup spot, is ranked 24th in the world.