A week after the PGA Championship, many of the top golfers in the world got right back to work with the 2014 Wyndham Championship.
The tournament takes place Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, a course that could present many birdie opportunities for the talented golfers in the field.
Defending champion Patrick Reed discussed the importance of this event in launching him to more success, via Mark Lamport-Stokes of Reuters:
It's amazing, just the feeling coming back to a place where we won our first event, the support we've had ever since we've been here. It really jump-started my career, that's for sure. I played really well here, and being able to cap it off and win, it led to me being able to play very well for almost a full year in a row. Hopefully that will continue.
Reed will have his chance to win again, or this tournament could be the first of a long run of success for another young player. Anything is truly possibly at this wide-open event.
Follow along for a daily recap of the PGA event that will be updated throughout the championship.
Day 4 Recap
Following a strong finish in the final round, Camilo Villegas pulled out a victory at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday. He jumped up seven spots to take the tournament thanks to a score of seven-under 63 to win his first event of the season.
Here's a look at the final leaderboard from the Wyndham Championship:
|Pos.||Player||Final Score||Round 4|
Villegas wound up with four birdies and an eagle through the front nine before just one birdie on the back. The Colombian's eagle on the par-five fifth was easily his best of the day.
After being cut at the RBC Canadian Open in July, Villegas rallied on Sunday to rebound. In fact, it has been quite a while since he hoisted a trophy after a PGA event.
The PGA Tour's official account notes the time between wins for Villegas:
A victory for the 32-year-old player also shocked Dan Wolken of the USA Today:
Where the hell as Camilo Villegas been the last three years? Honestly haven’t heard his name. Wins in Greensboro out of nowhere.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 17, 2014
As for the players who came up just short, Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson tied for second with consistent rounds. Heath Slocum, on the other hand, struggled to maintain any constant play and dropped to fourth.
The American had plenty of good throughout the afternoon, including two birdies and an eagle on the front nine. Jeff Mills of the News & Record notes he had a chance to contend at the end:
And here comes Heath Slocum. Eagled both the par-5s today. Just made birdie putt on No. 16 to tie Villegas at -17. #WyndhamNR— Jefe Mills (@JeffMillsNR) August 17, 2014
On the heels of that strong start, though, Slocum slid down the leaderboard late with four bogies on the back to finish at three-under. Not only was the loss a tough one for Slocum, but it was also devastating for his season:
Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney rounded out the top five, with all three now in the top 100 of the FedEx Cup standings. After all three were competitive throughout the tournament, they come away from Greensboro with confidence.
With the season winding down soon, Villegas now finally looks competitive once again. As for the rest of the field, they have some more catching up to do in the standings after falling short.
Day 3 Recap
Consistency continued to set apart the contenders from pretenders Saturday.
After entering the day the leader, American Heath Slocum dropped down the board a few spots after four birdies and two bogeys, not exactly enough on "moving day" to keep the lead.
Nick Watney and Brad Fritsch shot five under on the day, which put the latter just one shot off the former's top mark. For Watney, it is a rather important milestone, as Justin Ray of the Golf Channel illustrates:
This will be Nick Watney's 1st outright 54-hole lead since the 2010 PGA Championship. He shot 81 that Sunday.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) August 16, 2014
For the top two names on the leaderboard, it was a rather interesting day. To reach his five under par, Watney predictably shot five birdies, including three on the back nine. For Fritsch, three birdies and an eagle on the par-four eighth were enough to get the job done.
The performance and his eventual contention Sunday are milestones for Fritsch, too, as the PGA Tour points out:
Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, courtesy of PGATour.com:
|T8||Bo Van Pelt||-10||68|
Joining Slocum two shots off the lead is Freddie Jacobson, who shot five birdies to one bogey.
Perhaps the day's worst round went to American Brian Studard, who had entered the round one shot off the lead after a 65. Saturday he collapsed and fell 15 spots down the leaderboard thanks to three bogeys and two birdies to card a 71.
It all equates to a wild finish Sunday. With names such as Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and Scott Langley just three shots off the lead, and a wealth of names—Bill Haas, Kevin Kisner and Camilo Villegas being the most notable—just four shots back, the top prize is assuredly up for grabs.
The theme so far has been consistency, which will not change come Sunday. Too many names sit within striking distance to make an accurate prediction, which is nothing but a good thing for fans one week removed from the PGA Championship.
Day 2 Recap
There were some major changes to the leaderboard on Day 2 as the more consistent performers were able to move forward.
Heath Slocum and Scott Langley have each posted 65 on back to back days to tie for a lead in Greensboro. Meanwhile, a crowded group of players sit only a stroke or two behind the top names to ensure things remain close heading into the weekend.
Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard through the first two days at Sedgefield, courtesy of PGATour.com:
|T7||Bo Van Pelt||-8||65|
Camilo Villegas came into the day with the lead, but could not take advantage of the course and had to settle for a lot of pars on second day at the Wyndham Championship.
He finally improved his score with birdies on the No. 15 and No. 16 hole to get to 10-under for the tournament. Unfortunately, he gave it right back with consecutive bogeys to end his day a few strokes off the lead.
This left the door open for others to move up and take control of the tournament.
Slocum was one of those players thanks to an impressive stretch on the back nine, as noted by Jeff Mills of the Greensboro News and Record:
Make it four birdies in a row for Heath Slocum. So far today: 7 birdies, 7 pars, 2 bogeys. He's 10-under, leads by 2 shots. #WyndhamNR— Jefe Mills (@JeffMillsNR) August 15, 2014
Arguably his best hole was No. 15, where he was able to have a beautiful approach to set up a birdie:
Also sitting at 10-under is Langley, who has matched Slocum shot for shot so far. Starting on the back nine, he simply remained close until the final two shots, where he made his move:
The two players have different styles, but they have been consistently getting to the green in regulation and posting low scores. If they keep this up, they each have a good chance of coming away with a tournament win.
Brian Stuard matched the leaders 65 on Friday thanks mostly to going five-under on his first five holes. He had three birdies and an eagle to start the day and then kept it up until he finished the day nine strokes under par.
After the round, Stuard explained his thoughts on the rest of the tournament, via Jeff Bleiler of MLive.com:
Obviously, I've been playing better than I have been, but the biggest thing is I've been able to score well the past two days. I've been putting well and have been able to make some birdies.
If I keep hitting the fairways, I think I'll do all right because I feel like I have a good feel for the greens. Hopefully they keep falling.
Veteran Bo Van Pelt is also very much in this competition after an impressive end to his round. He birdies four of his last five holes, including a quality effort on No. 18:
However, one of the best rounds of the day went to Nick Watney, who finished with a 64 on seven birdies and just one bogey. He ended the round just one stroke back and should be able to remain in contention throughout the weekend.
Andrew Svoboda appeared set to beat that mark with seven birdies in the first 17 holes, but a bogey on No. 18 put him just off the lead.
With people like D.A. Points and Carl Petterson sitting at eight-under, anything can still happen to the leaderboard in the coming days.
Ryo Ishikawa also deserves mention after posting a career-low of 62 in his round. He had six birdies on the back nine alone to get to eight-under for the tournament.
It will be up to the leaders to keep up their high level of play while the rest of the field looks to chase them.
Day 1 Recap
On a day where everyone was posting low scores, Camilo Villegas made few mistakes in his first round to get out to an early lead at the Wyndham Championship.
William McGirt and Webb Simpson are just one stroke off the lead after each player posted a 64 on Thursday. With dozens of players under par, though, things can change quickly in the coming days.
Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, courtesy of PGATour.com:
McGirt stumbled a bit early with two bogeys in his first three holes, but he recovered nicely to take the early lead on Thursday.
The 35-year-old competitor finished the day with eight birdies, including five on the back nine. He was excellent with his putter throughout the round, although his best shot might have been his last to card a 64:
His performance down the stretch seemed to surprise even him, telling Will Gray of Golf Channel, "I don’t really know where it turned around today, or why it did. I played pretty well the last 12 holes, and hit my irons really well."
The "why" does not matter if he can keep this up for the rest of the tournament.
Of course, he received quite a challenge from Simpson in the afternoon. The 2012 U.S. Open winner got off to an incredible start to the round, as noted by Jeff Mills of Greensboro News-Record:
Although he slowed down a bit, he was truly dialed in throughout the round. His pin-high approach off the tee on the 235-yard 12th hole was one of the best shots of the day:
Simpson ended up shooting a 64 as well, which is in line with his recent success at this tournament:
He has clearly made himself one of the favorites to win this event. As long as he can play to his ability, there are not many in the field who can beat him.
Still, it was Villegas who shined from one of the final groups off the tee.
The Colombian started with a 32 on the back nine but was even better in the second half. Scott Hamilton of the Winston-Salem Journal describes one of the best shots:
Villegas' eagle was eighth of the first round. He hit approach 180 yards to 3 feet, 2 inches. #wyndhamchampionship— Scott Hamilton (@ScottH_WSJ) August 14, 2014
He finished his flawless round with five birdies and the eagle to end up with a 63 and a one-stroke lead.
Martin Laird, Paul Casey, Mike Weir and others also remain in the hunt after finishing within a few strokes of the lead.
While these golfers are off to a good start, this tournament is still loaded with players capable of coming back in the next few days. Experienced players like Freddie Jacobson, Bill Haas, Ernie Els and even John Daly finished under par and could go on a run.
Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Brian Harmon and Reed have also had solid years and are always capable of posting low scores.
With three rounds remaining at Sedgefield, any one of these players can move up the leaderboard and challenge for a title.
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