47th Brick Capital Golf Tees Off This Weekend – Brick Notes & Predictions

The area’s best players will converge on Sanford Golf Club this weekend with hopes of taking the most coveted amateur golf trophy in the Sandhills.  Over the last 46 years, this event has gone from a “Sanford” championship to a regional one, and the talent pool seems to grow every year.    Golfers will play this Saturday & Sunday over the par 71 layout and WFJA Sports will be at the Brick Capital for the 29th consecutive year – providing updates both afternoons.  

Brick Notes

  • Odds of a 1st time Champion could be as high as ever this year, with a smaller number of former champions than normal competing.   The overall talent may be as deep as ever, but several former winners had conflicts, and some have moved to the Senior Division.
  • Past Brick Champions competing for the title this year from Sanford includes 2022 Champion Brandon Jones, 2-time winner Jack Radley, 3-time winner Craig Sturdivant, and 4-time winner David Wicker – all from Sanford.  2016 winner Paul Jett of Pinehurst and 4-time winner Gerald Harrington of Wilmington are also in the field.
  • There is a large group of talented players that will be hoping for their 1st Brick Capital title.   The top contenders from Sanford include Walter Brinker, Jonathan Hockaday, Brad McDougald, Brad Wicker, and Nate Presnal.  Brinker has a handful of top 5s and was in contention down the stretch last year and Hockaday – also with several top 5s, lost the Brick in a playoff in 2020.    Former professional Steve Hamby will lead a group of Harnett County players that include Kenny Stewart, Ryan Patterson, Tony Fish, Todd Matthews, and Stephen Salmon.  Simon Cagle and Adam Webb – both from Raleigh are expected to compete for the title as well as Daniel Neveu of Pinehurst.
  • The 47th Brick Capital filled up just over two weeks ago and players are currently hoping to get in through the alternate list.   The tournament will play 160 players this weekend with players placed into competitive flights after Saturday’s play.    Championship Flight players will tee off from 1:30 -1:50 on Sunday with a conclusion expected around 6:00.
  • Weather is predicted to be a consideration over the weekend with decent chances each day for showers.   Players will need to be prepared and ready for another variable this weekend.

The Course and How to Win a Brick at SGC

Sanford Golf Course provides a very unique opportunity for a lot of players this weekend.   While many area courses would require a long driver with accurate irons to win a championship of this sort, Sanford offers an opportunity for players to “think” their way around the 6,000 +/- yard layout, using course knowledge, strategy and angles to navigate the weekend.    Length will always be an advantage in golf, but Sanford Golf Club places more importance on position, angles to greens, and accuracy than anything else.   

While there have been years where the “longest, best ball strikers” have won, there are just as many years where it wasn’t the case. Instead, it was the player that stayed in play, eliminated the big number, and had the patience to know that birdies will come.  There are several key shots in our opinion that will be more important than others – and shots that we feel the 2023 Brick Champion will handle the best.   Below we take a look at the how the winners will play Sanford Golf Club.

            Seven (7) Key Drives @ SCG

  • Players expecting to win the Brick will be required to hit key drives well in order to win.  Let’s start with the par 5s.   Holes 9, 16, and 18 should be birdie holes for the tournament’s best players.   A good drive on these 3 holes gives the players an iron to the greens and an opportunity for birdie.   There is no question that good drives on these holes turns the holes into par 4s for the best players and birdies here are expected. 
  • Just as important are the drives at 7, 12 and 17.   These three holes can produce big numbers and have cost players Brick titles in the past.   These holes bring in out-of-bounds or hazards and a good solid drive on these 3 holes is important.  These are 3 of the toughest holes at SGC and players will gladly take a couple of pars on each this weekend.

A Thinker Will Win

  • Those that have won multiple Brick titles have learned how to score at Sanford Golf Club.   There are certain strategies – especially on some of the shorter holes – that are important to winning a Brick.   Hole #8 is one that strategy and angle are important.  With players driving the ball farther every year, we often see players cutting corners on doglegs to set up shorter approaches.  But on a hole like #8 at SGC, the longer hitters can reap rewards with an easy birdie or bring trouble in play that they shouldn’t.    Players with plenty of experience at Sanford Golf Club will opt to leave their drives on the 8th with a 90-110 yard approach – one they can spin and stop on the small Donald Ross designed green, instead of driving around the corner and leaving a 50-yard shot off a downhill lie that you can’t swing at hard enough to spin.   Players will also prefer to be on the right side of the fairway leaving an approach to a left pin and farther down the fairway when the pin is right. (Smarter players would have checked this when teeing off on #4).  This thin green from front to back is simply built to accept a 100-yard shot better than one from 40-50 yards and those that take the safer tee shot and leave themselves a 100-yard approach will usually get the best results.  Knowing which angles and yardages give you the best results is something long-time SGC players understand.  Those that don’t – most likely won’t win this year’s Brick Capital.
  • The top players will hit short approaches to #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14, and 15.  That’s 10 of the 15 non par 5 holes.   Approaches on #2, 7, 11, 12, 17 will be a little longer but not past the middle irons.   One would think the best wedge players over the weekend will be near the top.
  • SGC’s greens usually speed up a little for tournament weekend.   While the speeds for the most part are very puttable, players will be aware – particularly on Sunday – that there are a few places where you need to be below the hole. 
  • The Senior Division is still taking shape and we’ll know more this weekend about who are the favorites.   With a required age of 62, several top players are still deciding whether to play Senior or against the young guys.  Decisions have to be in prior to tee off on Saturday but several players could change the whole dynamic of this flight with their decisions.
  • Winning Score – We always say the winning score will be 5-8 under par because that’s what recent history tells us.   Brandon Jones won last year at -7 after a 66-69 weekend and we feel that will be in the ballpark once again.   There is certainly talent in the field that could threaten Will Morgan’s Brick record of -11, but for now we’ll be a little more conservative with our picks.  SGC will see a lot of rain this week and that will lengthen the course and possibly slow the greens a little.   WFJA Sports projects a 67 to lead after day one and a 136 total to be the winner on Sunday.
  • WFJA Sports will air updates at :18 and :50 minutes of each hour from 12:18 thru 5:50 on Saturday and 12:18 thru 6:18 on Sunday. (tentative)

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