Dan Geraghty previews the first round leader market at the Wyndham Championship and provides a quartet of players to back at this week's PGA Tour event...
"Andrew Loupe's monster driving distance gives him a huge scoring advantage and he shouldn't be triple figures for the first round lead any week, let alone when he's opened up with a 64 two tournaments in a row."
Here's the first round leaderboard from last year's event - a huge surprise to see both Derek Ernst and Tiger Woods in the mix. I jest of course, I'm one of the few that still believes the great man can come back and win Majors...
- 62 Willilam McGirt
- 62 Tom Hoge
- 63 Derek Ernst
- 63 Jim Herman
- 63 Morgan Hoffmann
(64 Tiger Woods)
The weather forecast suggests the wind will be minimal but picks up very slightly in the afternoon. This may be countered by the increased afternoon temperatures, so I'd suggest we have a fairly level playing field on day one this week.
In his excellent preview, Steve mentions the fact that players around the FedEx Cup cutline often raise their game in this tournament. I like that angle and I will be keeping a close eye on those in and around the bubble, these guys are fighting for their livelihoods; there will almost certainly be players that are outside the 125 right now who make it through to the Barclays next week.
Last man on the course Rhein Gibson has a lot to do to hold on to his PGA Tour card, he sits a woefully disappointing 201st in the FedEx Cup points and needs nothing short of a win to advance to the Barclays. Gibson's case is an interesting one however, he's been in wonderful form of late, unfortunately for him, all that form has come in his appearances on the Web.com Tour. In his last three outings, the record breaking (google it) Australian has finished second twice and was 23rd last time out. Given the low rounds he's been shooting recently, it wouldn't be a surprise in any way to see Gibson go well early at a big price this week.
Another player for who only a win will do is this season's standout Web.com performer Wesley Bryan. I am a fully paid up member of the Bryan fan club and if his excellent performance last week is anything to go by, he looks very likely to transfer his form from the minor leagues to the big show. Bryan's second round performance in particular was remarkable last week, he was putting from inside 15 foot for birdie on nearly every hole.
This season alone, Andrew Loupe has opened up with scores of 64 (twice), 65, 66 (three times!), 67, 68 (twice) and 69. Sure, he's a reckless blunt instrument (sorry Andrew), but come on people, his monster driving distance gives him a huge scoring advantage and he shouldn't be triple figures for the first round lead any week, let alone when he's opened up with a 64 two tournaments in a row.
The Wyndham is a special tournament for Danny Lee, he made his PGA Tour debut here as an amateur in 2008, finishing 20th. Lee was last here in 2014 when he missed the cut but he is now an established star and a different proposition these days. He's out very early and I fancy the New Zealander to go well this week.
1pt EW on each
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