Wyndham Championship betting preview and tips from Ben Coley

Get our six selections for the Wyndham below
Get our six selections for the Wyndham below

Ben Coley fancies Patrick Reed and Billy Horschel to go well in the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the regular season on the PGA Tour.

Recommended bets

2pts e.w. Patrick Reed at 25/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

2pts e.w. Billy Horschel at 28/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Cameron Smith at 45/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Nick Taylor at 150/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Roberto Castro at 200/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

1pt e.w. Tom Hoge at 200/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)

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Much has changed on the PGA Tour this year, with two brand new tournaments in the middle of summer, the PGA Championship moving from August to May, and kids like Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff blowing down barriers that are meant to keep college graduates from winning for at least six months.

In among all this upheaval, some things remain constant: a win for Dustin Johnson, struggles on the green for Ben An, slow play going unpunished, and now the regular-season finale at Sedgefield Country Club, home of the Wyndham Championship.

For the uninitiated, the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings after this week will move on to the Playoffs, themselves reduced from four to three. From there, (almost) anything is possible, but one thing is certain: you have a card in your hand and can come back and try again in October.

Those outside the 125, barring one or two with long-standing exemptions or alternative options, face a drop down to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and all the uncertainty that brings. Of course, most in the 125-150 category will get enough starts from which to create a living next year, but there's no doubt that for all the safety nets and finer details, this is an important week for those - excuse me for this - on the bubble.

Daniel Berger is among the higher profile examples of what's at stake. Two years ago, he was preparing for what would be a successful Presidents Cup debut, yet in the unforgiving world of golf he now stands on the brink. Berger is only 15 points shy of the current number and a top-30 finish should take care of business. The trouble is, he was a little flat last week and hasn't yet made the weekend here.

The FedEx Cup, then, is the sub-plot, but we also have a tournament on the line and a condensed Playoff schedule ensures the focus of the classier players in this field. That said, most of them are here not because of points or prizes but because they like the golf course, a short, tree-lined hark back to the olden days and one which levels the playing field in this increasingly power-packed sport.

Examples of those who simply adore this place don't come better than Webb Simpson, whose daughter is named Wyndham after he secured his first victory here some eight years ago. Simpson, who is from North Carolina, has also been second, third, fifth and sixth in an event which clearly brings out his best.

He's not alone, though. Brandt Snedeker defends after a round of 59 helped him capture this title for a second time last year, Paul Casey and Jordan Spieth both hit the crossbar on their last visits, Hideki Matsuyama has been third and 11th on his latest two, and Patrick Reed is, like Snedeker, another former champion.

Of this collection, it's Reed who strikes me as the best bet as he seeks to follow Henrik Stenson's lead and use this fine opportunity to end a post-major drought which, in his case, stretches back to last April's Masters Tournament at Augusta.

A post-Masters slump is fairly common - just ask Sergio Garcia, though check he's not holding a three-iron when you do - but it's about time Reed emerged fully from his, having been piecing his swing back together with the help of David Leadbetter this season.

Encouragingly, the work which began in the spring has started to pay off, with a form line of 32-30-5-23-10-12, and it's noticeable that Reed's approach play in particular has turned a corner having been key to his struggles.

Last week, he was ninth in strokes-gained off-the-tee and 10th with his approach shots in a world-class field, and if the putter comes alive on these bermuda greens at Sedgefield, which it always has in the past, that makes for a likeable combination.

We know a shootout is fine for this former winner of the CareerBuilder, whose first win came here at the Wyndham, and if there's any need for further encouragement then the fact that he needs Presidents Cup points is it.

Reed lives for team golf, but last year's Ryder Cup performance - on and off the course - leaves him vulnerable from outside the current top 10. I wouldn't be certain Tiger Woods will pick him but Reed is exactly the type of character to take that decision out of his hands with a win over the next few weeks.

It could well be at Sedgefield, where he's made all four cuts and has been in contention at some stage on each of those visits, ever since an opening 66 way back in 2011.

Snedeker is really tempting at the same sort of price, but for all he's won three separate tournaments more than once, he's yet to defend. That's only a minor concern, but with extra focus brought about by last year's 59-shaped fireworks, it's enough to look elsewhere.

Billy Horschel is hard to overlook having gone some way to justifying the faith last week, and he goes in as the best alternative to Reed.

A confirmed Donald Ross lover, Horschel has played well across various layouts similar to this one and it was around this time last year that he contended at Aronimink behind Keegan Bradley.

Going further back, his finest hour came when dominating at East Lake, another Ross layout, to win the FedEx Cup and Horschel looks primed once more to end the season on the front foot.

So far, he's yet to do enough to force his way into a team event for the USA, be that the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, but he is on very good terms with Woods and will feel like he could well turn the captain's head.

Having been 11th here last year and fifth in 2016, Sedgefield is a nice place to do that and it's encouraging that for all he's done his best work from tee-to-green here, Horschel has been putting nicely for most of the season.

He'd probably be slightly better served by a more challenging test, but he's in better form than 12 months ago when barely making a mistake, and I can see him flushing his way into the mix here without many blemishes on the scorecard.

If the putter does fire - and at 32nd for the year, it's a genuine strength right now - then there's no reason this bermuda-loving Ross specialist shouldn't be a massive danger to all.

Horschel also helps underline some obvious course links here, with the RBC Heritage in neighbouring South Carolina among the best of them. CT Pan won there in April having nearly won here last year, and there are form correlations everywhere you look.

Just as interesting are links to Sawgrass, with Simpson, Stenson, Si Woo Kim and Sergio Garcia all having done the double, and that throws former PLAYERS champion Martin Kaymer onto the radar once more.

Given that Kaymer's finest hour came here in North Carolina at the Ross-designed Pinehurst, and that I've been following him for months now, he's extremely hard to leave out having finished inside the top 20 in both starts here.

However, he was a little lacklustre in the Barracuda and, for all that his need for a top-10 finish could help, we're reaching the end of what's been an extremely draining summer. Perhaps he needs the rest which will be enforced if he fails to advance to the Playoffs.

Instead, I'd rather chance Cameron Smith, the Australian who turned his season around at this time last year and looks primed to do the same thing 12 months down the line.

Smith has progressed throughout the last few weeks with finishes of 29th, 20th and 12th, and it's ideal timing with the Presidents Cup looming large.

As an Australian, he'll be desperate not to miss out on representing Ernie Els and team at Royal Melbourne, and it's no wonder he's been working towards qualifying as his target for 2019.

"Yeah, that was one of my goals this year," he said at The Open. "That was one of my top things. Obviously I had a good run there when I started taking the rankings and kind of fell out through the middle there, but my game is coming back around."

Smith built on 20th at Portrush with 12th place in Memphis, and a return to the Wyndham, where he's been 18th and seventh from just three visits, is ideally timed.

"I love this course," he said on his last appearance here in 2017. "This is one of my favorite for the whole season. Just a really old school, tough course, big loopy greens and if you get putter rolling you really get something going out there."

Smith's putter started to do just that in Memphis and while he'll need to tidy up a little with his iron play, a red-hot short-game works wonders here and can carry him a long way.

As is so often the case on these more traditional courses, my shortlist for this is particularly lengthy. It includes J.J. Spaun, who was a little underwhelming last week but went very nicely here on his debut, and it includes Ryan Armour, who is 150/1 despite finishing no worse than eighth here over the last two years.

Lucas Glover is arguably playing the best golf of his life and is well worth getting stuck into for a top-20 finish, while Abraham Ancer's fairway-finding ability will serve him well and so will the combination of precise iron play and good putting for Canada's Adam Hadwin.

However, I want to speculate a little further down the list in an event which has thrown up some shocks down the years, not least when Monday qualifier Arjun Atwal triumphed at the start of the decade.

First, the outsider I really like is Roberto Castro, one of the most accurate drivers in this field when at his best.

It's rare for driving accuracy to carry real value, hence why Castro is way down the strokes-gained off-the-tee charts, but here it's a serious weapon and it could well set up a rare title challenge for the long-time maiden.

Castro has that Sawgrass form I mentioned, having shot a course-record 63 there on his debut, while his bank of Ross form includes an eye-catching 13th place in the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill as well as ninth at East Lake.

Having come closest to winning at this level at Quail Hollow, the PGA Tour's other regular stop in North Carolina, there are plenty of small factors which help support the most basic justification: that this course really works well for him.

Castro has been 18th, 66th, 20th and 28th on his last four visits, shooting rounds of 64, 65 (twice) and 66 (twice), and having been second in approach play at Barbasol a fortnight ago his game may be warming up in time to save his card.

At 141st in the FedEx Cup standings, Castro will need to get inside the top 15 or so and hope that's enough, and he's the sort of classier-than-most character who could summon what he needs.

Nick Taylor has already done that, as it was here last year that he shot a closing 63 to scrape his card, and he'll be glad there's no such pressure this time.

At 114th in the FedEx Cup, Taylor will be teeing it up in The Northern Trust next week but this is his last realistic chance of the season to add to his sole PGA Tour win, which came in the south in an event which requires a similar set of skills.

He's made the cut in six of his last seven starts, and more recently has been improving with his approach play with greens-in-regulation stats of 25th, 17th, 10th and third over the last four.

Having had last week off, he's fancied to build on 15th place at the Barbasol which effectively kept his rights for next year.

Kyle Jones is one for those who are happy to take a real chance. He was in my staking plan last week when producing his second top-20 finish in succession, but in this stronger company is as big as 500/1 in a place despite being among the most accurate drivers in the field.

He's going to need the performance of his life to hit the frame, however, whereas it seems within Tom Hoge's compass if he keeps hitting the ball well, as he has done for a little while now.

Last week, Hoge was second off the tee and 30th on approach, with the latter better than it appears - he'd have been well inside the top 10 but for one horror round with his irons.

The broader picture is a positive one, and for all that Hoge is weary at the end of a tough year, he's sure to be up for this having gone to college in North Carolina.

"I'm really starting to play my best golf," he said last week in Reno, and having shot rounds of 69, 66, 66 and 66 here last year, that's encouraging for backers at 200/1.

Look further back, and you'll see that while he was 38th on debut at the Wyndham, Hoge in fact led at halfway thanks to rounds of 62 and 67 only to struggle, understandably, alongside idol Tiger Woods in the third round.

Hoge has long been an excellent iron player - he's been well above-average during each of his years on the PGA Tour - and with no Woods to undermine his hard work this week, he's tipped to go very well at a price and at least advance inside the top 150 in the FedEx Cup standings from 157th going in.

Posted at 1940 BST on 29/07/19.

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