The leaderboard has tightened heading into the weekend at the 2022 Wyndham Championship. With John Huh and Sungjae Im both unable to parlay Thursday's success into Friday, those off in the early hours of the second round at Sedgefield Country Club now find their names at the top of the leaderboard.
PGA Tour rookie Brandon Wu is tied with Tom Kim and Ryan Moore at 9 under. The three could not be more different, as Kim was given a special temporary exemption just two weeks ago, while Moore is simply searching for form heading into the 2022-23 season with the FedEx Cup Playoffs being the furthest thing on his mind.
While a victory for any of the three would be meaningful, it will not be easy as the chasers have lined up behind them with a fork and knife. In total, 38 players are within five strokes of the lead, as the latter stages of the second round still needs to completed early Saturday morning.
Defending champion Kevin Kisner entered the weekend seven strokes adrift in 2021, and while he will not be present this year, he did provide a blueprint for the pursuers. Trophies will not be the only item on the line as playoff chances and career aspirations will make or break in the coming days.
T1. Brandon Wu, Tom Kim and Ryan Moore (-9)
Wu and Kim have been in the spotlight at various points this year, but for Moore this performance marks an important return. Playing on a Major Medical Extension for most of the season, Moore fell short of retaining full-time status by roughly 75 FedEx Cup points after his final start at the Memorial Tournament. Fulfilling the requirements for conditional status, Moore would move from 183rd to 68th if able to convert a share of the 36-hole lead into his sixth victory on the PGA Tour and first since 2016.
"I am just not even in the frame of -- yeah, I'm so far out of it, it doesn't even matter at this point," said Moore of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. "I'm trying to do whatever I can this week. I'm just trying to gain some confidence going into next season, to be honest. Like I said, I've been dealing with this injury for a while and I know it's wrong now, I just need time to deal with it. So right now it's just trying to find a little form, a little confidence so I can find something to spring me into this fall."
T4. Sungjae Im, Russell Henley and John Huh (-8)
T7. Anirban Lahiri, Davis Riley and Brian Stuard (-7)
T10. Andrew Putnam, Satoshi Kodaira, Martin Trainer, Blake McShea and Brett Drewitt (-6)
Im was one of three players to headline the odds board to begin the week and for good reason. The South Korean has had a tumultuous summer, as he was unable to play in the PGA Championship due to COVID-19 and then showed signs of life at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Memorial Tournament.
He then hit another hiccup with missed cuts at the U.S. Open and Scottish Open before experiencing a forgettable Open. Yet despite all this adversity, Im appears at home at Sedgefield Country Club through the first two rounds even with experiencing some struggles on Friday. Arriving off a runner-up performance in his last start at the 3M Open, the 24-year-old has most definitely rediscovered his footing and remains the betting favorites through 36 holes.
Tom Kim appreciation post
Kyle Porter touched on Kim's, and on Friday the South Korean was able to avoid the early misstep and catapult up the leaderboard. Signing for a 6-under 64, the 20-year-old has quickly vaulted into the spotlight, as he only has one avenue through which he can qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs -- a win.
Given temporary status by the PGA Tour ahead of the 3M Open, Kim has since secured his card for the 2022-23 season, but will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat to make his way to Memphis next week.
"Yeah, it's been a crazy month," said Kim. "Last month before the Scottish I was like, you know, I guess just Korn Ferry Finals for me and that was the plan. One month later I secured my PGA Tour card without even going to Korn Ferry Finals. Yeah, it's crazy, but I guess just happy and grateful, that's what it is."
Things could get even crazier for Kim if he continues to perform like this. With the Presidents Cup looming next month, the world No. 34 has to be on the shortlist to be selected by International Team captain Trevor Immelman.
Bubble boys heading into the weekend
We will keep you updated on the biggest movers after each round as the FedEx Cup Playoffs are quickly approaching. While those battling for a spot inside the top 125 draw the most interest, it is worth reminding what else is up for grabs. Players ranked 126th to 150th will receive conditional status of some sort and approximately 15 starts for next season. Those standing 151st to 200th will join the 25 men ahead of them at the Korn Ferry Tour Playoffs, where at worst they will be demoted to the Korn Ferry Tour. Unfortunately for the players outside the top 200, they will be heading to Q-School.
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2022 Wyndham Championship updated odds and picks
- Sungjae Im: 39/10
- Tom Kim: 9/2
- Russell Henley: 11/2
- Brandon Wu: 11-1
- Ryan Moore: 12-1
- Davis Riley: 14-1
- John Huh: 16-1
- Anirban Lahiri: 22-1
- Aaron Wise: 30-1
- Billy Horschel: 35-1
- Tyrrell Hatton: 35-1
- Andrew Putnam: 35-1
The compressed leaderboard does give way for some opportunities down the odds board and Hatton would be my selection. Matching his pre-tournament price, the Englishman struggled on the greens in the first two rounds and sits four strokes off the lead. He is striking the ball superbly and his résumé should hold more weight than the market suggests. If Hatton is not your cup of tea, Keith Mitchell at 75-1 appears slightly off and should be in line for some positive regression on the greens over the weekend.