By John Brasier
Get to Sedgefield Country Club early Thursday if you want to see Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry, Jason Dufner, Stewart Cink and Jimmy Walker play in Thursday’s opening round of the Wyndham Championship.
They should be finished about the time most of us are eating lunch.
Thomas (7:45 a.m.), Lowry (7:45), Dufner (7:01) and Cink (7:23) will each tee off before 8 a.m. Walker goes off at 8:07. But they’ll play later in the day in the second round, accommodating those who skip out from the office early on Friday.
The Thursday afternoon tee sheet includes Davis Cup captain Zach Johnson (12:38 p.m.), Wake Forest University product and two-time Wyndham winner Webb Simpson (12:49), Danny Willett (12:05) and Lucas Glover (12:49). Former Wyndham winners Si Woo Kim and Hickory native J.T. Poston tee off together at 12:49. Former Wake Forest golfer Cameron Young tees off at 12:27.
In the morning, it might be fun to check out Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. In the afternoon, fellow South Carolinian Wesley Bryan should be entertaining. Both advanced from a six-way playoff for three spots at Monday’s 4-spotter at Bermuda Run East.
Both are entertaining characters. One of the players Bryan beat in Monday’s playoff was his brother and YouTube co-host George. The Bryans are known for their trick shots and their YouTube trips to various courses. Gainey is a former assembly line worker who taught himself to play wearing two gloves and wielding a baseball grip. He’s had a colorful career.
Not to forget, the Bryans and Gainey were both contestants on GolfChannel’s “Big Break” show. Each player has one PGA Tour win.
The early withdrawals included Davis Love III and Lee Hodges, the winner Sunday at the 3M Open in Minnesota.
The 156-player field will be competing for a purse of $7.6 million, including $1.368 million to the winner.
The withdrawl of defending champion Tom Kim, ranked No. 14 in the FedExCup standings, due to an ankle injury suffered at the British Open left the Wyndham with 68 of the top 100 committing last week, but none of the top 17 in the points race. Si Woo Kim, at 18, is tops among the Wyndham entries.
While the first-place check provides plenty of incentive, the most important issue for the majority of the field is finishing in the top 70 in the FedExCup points race and making next weekend’s first-round playoff stop in Memphis.
Lowry (No. 76 in the standings) and Thomas (No. 79) are the biggest names capable of climbing into the top 70 with good performances this weekend.