Like several other of tournaments this year, the Wyndham Championship was not a runaway. Several golfers were tied at or near the top all four days. However, it started thinning out at the top late in the round and the outcome was not decided until the final hole, when Billy Horschel missed a birdie putt to tie eventual winner Jim Herman, who was 21-under par.
Webb Simpson, the highest-ranked player in the field, was seeking his fourth consecutive top-three finish at the event. He finished tied for third this year as well.
Si Woo Kim, the 2016 champion and second- and third-round leader, showed how much he liked Sedgefield Country Club with an ace on the third hole on Saturday, followed by a near-ace on the 12th hole the same day. His ace is the first hole-in-one since 2017 at the Wyndham Championship and the 30th overall at the tournament since the PGA Tour began keeping records. Kim went into the final round with a two-shot lead over Doc Redman and Rob Oppenheim.
"This course, just kept hitting the fairway and then that's more easier like a second shot, that's the most key here," the South Korean-born Kim said. "And then greens tough, but if not miss short-side, not a big trouble. Hopefully, tomorrow a little bit of pressure, but I'm going to keep fighting and hopefully get a win."
He might not like the course as much after Sunday, which was not as favorable to him. He lost a ball on the sixth hole, leading to a double bogey, dropping him out of the lead. He recovered to finish in a tie for third with Simpson, Redman and Kevin Kisner.
Herman started the day four strokes back. He just made the cut Friday at 5-under, but, he battled back on Saturday and Sunday, taking the lead from Horschel late Sunday and the eventual championship. This is Herman's third PGA Tour win.
Herman is a friend of President Trump who helped him out with Q-school prior to becoming president.
"I'm very fortunate. I've had him in my corner for a long time, one of my biggest fans," Herman said. "Maybe I've got another omen. I played with him a few weeks ago. Whenever I play with him, I usually have some good finishes. [My] last two wins, I had played with him either the week or two weeks before. Maybe three weeks is still within the reach of his, I guess, little bit of good luck for me.
"He's been very supportive of me."
As usual, rain was a factor as usual for the tournament, with a delay late on Friday and early start times and threesomes on both the front and back nine on Saturday. Preferred lies were used due to wet conditions. But that did not deter low rounds. At the end of the third round, five of the top eight players on the leaderboard either set or tied their career low rounds on the PGA Tour: Oppenheim (T2), Redman (T2), Herman (T5), Mark Hubbard (T5) and Peter Malnati (T7).
There seemed to be more cheering at this tournament than previous spectator-free events this year due to residents with homes lining the course sitting in their back yards to watch the play. Still, local favorites missed their fans.
"I just love playing in front of people that you know love you so much," said Harold Varner III, who is from Gastonia. "It's unfortunate this year because I enjoy the cheers and stuff, but we'll get through this year and figure it out. It's just good to be close to home."
He finished tied for seventh, his best finish at Sedgefield and best finish of the season.
With the quarantine and other hardships due to the coronavirus, the charities supported by the Wyndham Championship were even more important this year.
A nine-hole exhibition match on Wednesday prior to the tournament earned $160,000 for the First Tee of the Triad. The First Tee of the Triad runs after-school programs throughout the school year and various summer programs for 1,500 students at 18 Piedmont Triad locations
New this year for the Birdies for Backpacks Charitable Giveaway, during the third and fourth rounds, Wyndham Rewards donated $500 to the Birdies for Backpacks for every birdie or better made on holes 15, 16 and 17, also known as the tournament’s “Sweet Spot.”
But there was a bigger incentive on hole No. 16.
C.T. Pan had a hole-in-one on the par 3 hole on Sunday, earning a $1 million Wyndham Rewards point donation to the charity.
"It’s been tough out there for me this weekend, so it’s good to finish with a hole‑in‑one," Pan said. "I want to thank Wyndham Rewards for doing this charity. Hole-in-one, the chances are pretty slim, so I’m happy to help, and just really grateful for Wyndham Rewards for helping make society better and for helping kids out there.”
One out of five children in North Carolina is food insecure and the Birdies Fore Backpacks program works with local organizations to provide backpacks full of nutritious food for children in need when school is not in session.
PHOTO by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jim Herman celebrates with the trophy on the 18th green after winning during the final round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.
The good and the bad of the Wyndham
They came. They played 36 holes. They went home Friday night.
Many of the top golfers in the world – as well as several former champions – were absent over this past weekend at the Wyndham Championship as their scores were above the 3-under cutline. Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Brendon Todd, Jim Furyk, Nick Watney, Charl Swartzel, Charles Howell III, and others, along with former champions J.T. Poston, Arjun Atwal, Carl Pettersson and Ryan Moore.
Koepka, who has battled knee and back problems this year since the restart of the PGA Tour, mentioned after his 72 in round 1 that his body was nowhere near 100 percent. After his 70 in round 2, his comment was, "I know how to do it, I can do it, I just physically can't do it." His 142 for two rounds was five shots over the cut line.