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Wyndham Open

Tournament Preview

With Jason Dufner's emergence at the PGA Championship still fresh on many golf fans' minds, the tour returns to action Thursday with the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, at Sedgefield Country Club, a par-70, 7-130 yard course that carries $5.3 million in prize money.

Formerly the Greater Greensboro Open, the tournament is famous in large part for being the site of the first African-American golfer allowed to play in a PGA Tournament in the South - which happened in 1961 with the great Charles Sifford making history.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia leads a talented field in search of $936,000 - the champion's purse - as well as a further boost in the FedEx Standings.

The FedExCup, for those unaware, is a season-long points competition that culminates in the PGA Tour playoffs. The Cup standings offer $35 million in bonus money, the playoffs a further $32 million.

The top 125 players in the world advance to the FedExCup Playoffs - four tournaments with $8 million in prize money each - which offer quintuple the points relative to events in the normal season.

The playoffs begin with the top 125 men at the Barclays in New York. The top 100 rom there play the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, then the Top 70 head to Chicago for the BMW Championship. A reseeding takes place and the final 30 men play the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, where the overall FedExCup champion is crowned.

While most of the top talent is taking it easy this week, notable names in the Wyndham field include Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and Davis Love III.

08/15/13, Thursday

Rounds like the one Ross Fisher had at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday are what the PGA's FedExCup is all about.

One of dozens of players at the tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, attempting to qualify for the sports' season-ending, four-tournament playoff, Fisher shot a 6-under 64 to lead the tournament after one day alongside Chris Stroud.

The top 125 players qualify for the FedExCup playoffs, a four-tournament swing that ultimately offers $67 million in prize money. Fisher started the tournament ranked 162nd in those standings, meaning he has a lot of work to do.

He got off to a quick start with a birdie on No. 3 and an eagle on No. 5, hitting the turn with a 4-under 31, and adding two more birdies in the back nine.

Stroud, ranked 48th in the standings, originally had not planned to take part in Wyndham, but called his caddie and said there would be a change of plans after missing the cut at the PGA Championship last week.

Stroud was "all or nothing" on the front nine, with five birdies and two bogeys, but evened out down the stretch and had three birdies to finish with his own 6-under 64.

The friendly course saw a full 77 players, almost half of the 156-man field, shot at least 1-under, putting a huge number of players in contention for the lead with 54 holes to go.

Eight players are tied for third at 5-under: Americans Robert Garrigus, Adrew Svoboda, Jordan Spieth, Morgan Hoffman and Patrick Reed; Australia's Matt Jones; Spain's Sergio Garcia and South Africa's Trevor Immelman.

This is the 20-year-old Spieth's fourth event of 2013. he won the John Deer Classic in a playoff just over a month ago.

Defending champion Garcia staked his claim early with birdies on the first two holes, added three in the first five holes on the back nine.


08/16/13, Friday

Youth was served on Friday during Day 2 of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tour rookie Patrick Reed took the lead with a 6-under 64, to sit one stroke ahead of second-year player player John Huh and fellow rookie Jordan Spieth, who is 9-under.

With wife Justine serving as his caddy, Reed moved from third place to first, without making a single bogey on the day and putting up four birdies in the front nine.

After an opening-round 68, John Huh was 8-under at 62, the low round of the day, on Friday. Huh never went more than three holes without a birdie, totaling eight in all
Spieth, who already has a title under his belt this year, hit three bogeys, but counteracted that with seven birdies, including four in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to reach 9-under with a 66.

Beyond Spieth, six players are tied for fourth at 7-under, including Day One leader Ross Fisher and old pro Rory Sabbatini.

After his Sday One 64, Fisher was a more pedestrian 1-under on Friday. Twenty players in all are within six strokes of the lead at the halfway point, including Sergio Garcia and Zach Johnson, who both are at 5-under.

08/17/13, Saturday

The young continued to have the size of the course at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday - with tour rookie Patrick Reed and reigning PGA Rookie of the Year John Huh tied atop the leaderboard entering the final day.

Neither Reed nor Huh was particularly impressive on Saturday, with many scores affected by the rain.

In doing so, the two men - currently tied at 10-under for the tournament - have a lead of one or two shots on six other players, with a further six players within five shots of the lead.

After shooting 65 and 64 on the tournament's first two days, Reed was 1-over at 71, firing four birdies and five bogeys.

This allowed Huh to tie for the lead by shooting an even-par 70, which featured him overcoming a triple bogey 7 on No. 2.

Three players are one stroke behind the leaders - Zach Johnson, Bob Estes and Jordan Spieth. Spieth, also a tour rookie, also shot even par. Meanwhile Johnson made the biggest move of the day with a 4-under 66 to get to 9-under.

Johnson was tied for the lead after dotting his first 14 holes with five birdies, but his bogey on No. 18 dropped him back one spot.

The 47-year-old Estes shot a 2-under 68 to keep him in heavy pursuit of reaching the FedExCup playoffs. Estes entered the field ranked 129th, and needs to get to 125th to keep playing this year. One over at the turn, Estes fired consecutive birdies on No. 15 - 17.

Robert Garrigus and Matt Every each shot a 2-under 68 to move to 8-under for the tournament.

Falling way off the pce was the UK's Ross Fisher, who's 4-over 74 took him from fourth to tied for 23rd.  Fisher was 4 over through the first nine holes, and only saved himself from complete disaster by firing three straight birdies between No. 13 and 15.

South Korea's Charlie Wi saw his hopes go up in similar smoke, firing a 5-over 75 to drop from 4th to tied for 31st.

08/18/13, Sunday

Calling Sunday's final round a glimpse at the future of golf might seem a bit gregarious at this point, but it's hard to argue that two tour rookies - Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth - certainly made for an exciting afternoon.

Reed recovered from a miserable tee shot on the second hole of the two men's playoff to launch a 7-iron skimming below one tree and onto the green, about six feet from the hole, then took advantage of Spieth's narrow miss for a birdie to win the Wyndham Championship on the second playoff hole Sunday.

It is Reed's first PGA win and launches him into the Top 25 for next week's FedExCup Playoffs.

Spieth just missed becoming the youngest player of the modern era to win two tournaments in his rookie campaign (he's 20).

Both men recovered from bad shots late to perpetuate the tournament. Spieth knocked home a 30-foot par putt on the first playoff hole after racing to catch Reed in regulation with four birdies in his last six holes of regulation.

Reed finished 14-under for the tournament with a 65-64-71-66-266. Spieth also shot 14-under in regulation with a 65-66-70-65-266.

Reed collected $954,000 for his troubles. Spieth a cool $572,400. Both men easily move on to the Barclays for the beginning of the PGA Playoffs, with Spieth finishing eighth overall, vaulting from 16th a week ago.

Last year's PGA Rookie of the Year John Huh started the day one stroke behind Reed, and was in contention until the last two rounds - both of which he bogeyed - to finish 12-under at 68-62-70-68-268. He tired for third with American Brian Harman, who shot a final round 12-under 66.

The round of the day came courtesy Australian Matt Jones, who fired an 8-under 62, the best single-day score of the tournament. Jones bookended great rounds of 65 and 62 around a pair of 71s to finish tied for fifth with Matter Every and Zach Johnson.

Andres Gonzalez, Rory Sabbatini and Bob Estes rounded out the Top 10, tying for eighth with matching 10-unders.

Reed knocked in the six-foot birdie to end the tournament and waited impatiently for wife/caddie Janine to plant the flag back in the hole before kissing her to celebrate his first PGA tour victory.

The hard luck story of the day came from Robert Streb, who entered the tournament sitting at No. 133 in the FedExCupStandings. Only the top 125 players in the rankings make the post-season tournaments, and Streb was one of many players trying to make the final weekend push.

Streb's 3-under 68-70-70-69-277 tied him for 37th place, but only moved him up to 126th overall, meaning he will sit out the post-season.

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