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BlogWells Fargo Championship Preview and Picks

Wells Fargo Championship

May 3rd – 6th, 2018

Quail Hollow Club

Charlotte, North Carolina

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: 7.7 million

with $1,386,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Brian Harman

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 53 of the top 100 and 26 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with just six player from the top-ten, #2 Justin Thomas, #6 Rickie Fowler, #7 Rory McIlroy, #8 Hideki Matsuyama, #9 Brooks Koepka and #10 Patrick Reed. The other top 50 players are #12 Tommy Fleetwood, #13 Paul Casey, #14 Jason Day, #17 Alex Noren, #19 Phil Mickelson, #20 Tyrrell Hatton, #23 Brian Harman, #24 Kevin Kisner, #29 Xander Schauffele, #30 Louis Oosthuizen, #31 Francesco Molinari, #33 Tony Finau, #36 Gary Woodland, #37 Daniel Berger, #41 Webb Simpson, #42 Ross Fisher, #46 Adam Hadwin, #48 Kyle Stanley, #49 Bryson DeChambeau and #50 Russell Henley.

Last year 17 of the top-50 in the world rankings played at Charlotte.  The year before when the tournament was at Quail Hollow the top 29 of 30 players.

The field includes 16 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #1 Justin Thomas, #2 Patton Kizzire, #4 Phil Mickelson, #5 Patrick Reed, #8 Tony Finau, #10 Andrew Landry, #14 Paul Casey, #15 Luke List, #16 Jason Day, #17 Rickie Fowler, #18 Brian Harman, #19 Chesson Hadley, #21 Alex Noren, #22 Bryson DeChambeau, #23 Gary Woodland and #24 Austin Cook.

The field includes 10 of it’s 14 past champions: Brian Harman (2017), James Hahn (2016), Rory McIlroy (2015 & ’10), J.B. Holmes (2014), Derek Ernst (2013), Rickie Fowler (2012), Lucas Glover (2011), Sean O’Hair (2009), Tiger Woods (2007) and Vijay Singh (2005).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Wells Fargo Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Wells Fargo Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Wells Fargo Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Wells Fargo Championship

Player Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic Genesis Open
Patrick Reed
(330.83 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP Win
(176)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T7
(18.33)
T2
(33.33)
T37
(6.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kevin Kisner
(223.17 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP T7
(55)
T28
(29.33)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 29
(10.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Justin Thomas
(223 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T17
(44)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(50)
Win
(44)
T9
(15)
Tommy Fleetwood
(214 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T17
(44)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP T14
(18)
4
(26.67)
T37
(4.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(212.33 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP T12
(50.67)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T16
(11.33)
T30
(10)
T24
(8.67)
DNP
Tony Finau
(205.17 pts)
6
(60)
DNP DNP T10
(53.33)
T24
(17.33)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T27
(11.5)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Chesson Hadley
(180 pts)
T4
(80)
T20
(30)
T7
(55)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Webb Simpson
(177.5 pts)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
T20
(40)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T37
(6.5)
T5
(23.33)
DNP
Brice Garnett
(169 pts)
T4
(80)
80
(0)
T42
(8)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Luke List
(168.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T3
(90)
DNP T24
(17.33)
T59
(0)
DNP T7
(18.33)
T16
(11.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
T26
(8)
Rory McIlroy
(158 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(93.33)
DNP T36
(14)
DNP Win
(44)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T59
(0)
T20
(10)
Phil Mickelson
(155 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(18.67)
T24
(17.33)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP T6
(20)
Trey Mullinax
(154.33 pts)
T31
(19)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(153.67 pts)
DNP 7
(55)
T16
(34)
T28
(29.33)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T49
(0.33)
T9
(15)
Rickie Fowler
(153.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(133.33)
T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP T37
(6.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sean O’Hair
(142.67 pts)
T25
(25)
T2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T64
(0)
Bryson DeChambeau
(140.67 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
T38
(16)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Alex Noren
(140.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T14
(18)
3
(30)
T16
(11.33)
Andrew Putnam
(137 pts)
T15
(35)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Paul Casey
(133 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T15
(46.67)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T12
(19)
DNP T49
(0.33)
Andrew Landry
(123.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
T42
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Adam Hadwin
(122.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(34.67)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP T6
(20)
Brian Harman
(120.67 pts)
DNP DNP T23
(27)
T44
(8)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T5
(35)
T33
(5.67)
DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(118 pts)
T10
(40)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
T16
(11.33)
DNP 7
(18.33)
T26
(8)
Jason Dufner
(117.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
T64
(0)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T55
(0)
T17
(11)
DNP
Keith Mitchell
(117.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T26
(24)
T55
(0)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kevin Streelman
(112.33 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
T7
(55)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Denny McCarthy
(109.67 pts)
T25
(25)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(109.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T50
(0.67)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP
Russell Henley
(102.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(46.67)
T8
(33.33)
T36
(14)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
T24
(8.67)
DNP
Beau Hossler
(94 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
T16
(34)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kyle Stanley
(91.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 52
(0)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP T25
(12.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Francesco Molinari
(91.17 pts)
DNP DNP 49
(1)
T20
(40)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP T25
(12.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Tiger Woods
(90 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T2
(33.33)
DNP 12
(12.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Watney
(84.67 pts)
T31
(19)
T20
(30)
T32
(18)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Wells Fargo Championship

Player Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico Honda Classic Genesis Open
D.A. Points
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Hurley III
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Tringale
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Mackenzie Hughes
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP
Smylie Kaufman
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Robert Streb
(-36.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Harold Varner III
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP 78
(0)
DNP T72
(0)
T60
(0)
Stephan Jaeger
(-33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Taylor
(-30.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Kyle Thompson
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This week the Wells Fargo Championship returns to its original course, Quail Hollow after being the venue of the PGA Championship.  Before we continue, have to mention how well Eagle Point Golf Club was and what a fresh new market Wilmington, N.C. is.  With a new schedule coming out next week it will be interesting to see if any new blood joins.  Right now there are cities like Denver, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Wilmington that would be perfect places to hold a PGA Tour event.  It’s looking more likely that Houston will lose it’s stop while Washington D.C. loses it’s event as it moves to Detroit.  Also the iconic Firestone Country Club, which has held PGA Tour events for 60 years will miss its tournament in 2019 when it moves to Memphis.

Now going back to Quail Hollow, the future of this course is great as it will host this year and next years Wells Fargo, then hold the Presidents Cup in 2021.  Rumor also has it possibly holding the 2025 or ’26 PGA Championship.

Now for the Wells Fargo, it will be interesting to see what it’s date will be next year.  For the last couple of years it’s been the week before the Players Championship, but with the Players moving to March, it will leave the Wells Fargo with no real lead up.  In 2015 the Match Play was held the week before the Players, and the Wells Fargo was the week after and did well.  The same will happen when the Players moves away, the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow will do well on just about any date.

Injury report

  • We haven’t talked much about injured players, last week we did see the return of Brooks Koepka.  Another player returning this week is Francesco Molinari, who admitted at Hilton Head that his shoulder had been bothering him.  He took a couple of weeks off and is playing this week, I don’t like players with pains that take a couple of weeks off and return, most of the time it’s more dangerous.
  • Another player taking time off is Luke Donald, who has suffered from back pains for most of the year.  He admitted the problem after missing the cut at Hilton Head, a tournament that he always did well in and is having treatment for the ailment.  He has no plans for a return, but it sounds it won’t be a couple of weeks, more like a couple of months.
  • One last player who withdrew this week is Camilo Villegas.  For most of the year, he has struggled with a shoulder injury and was forced to withdraw from Heritage and Valero Texas.  Before that he missed three straight cuts at Valspar, Arnold Palmer, and Houston and in 14 starts has only cracked the top-30 once, a T-17th at the CIMB Classic in October.  I don’t see him coming back for a few months.

Things you need to know about the Wells Fargo:

This is the 16th year of the Wells Fargo Championship, which has been played every year at the  Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina except for last year. Eagle Point was a big success, but with the return to Quail Hollow past champions like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler will be back into the field.

So this will be a change of pace, officials did pick a great course at Eagle Point, and the event will be another sell-out, something that always seems to happen to this event.  As for the players, past champions like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler won’t be in the field along with Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Hideki Matsuyama who played last year at Quail Hollow but won’t attend this year.  Three other notable absents will be Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Masters Champion Sergio Garcia.

Course information:

  • Quail Hollow Golf Club
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • 7,554 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • Quail Hollow features a course rating of 75.0 and a slope rating from the back tees of 140. The tees, fairway, and rough are 419 bermudaGrass with Perennial Ryegrass.  The greens were changed after last years event and are Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass.
  • One of the big secrets to Quail Hollow is that the players love the course. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina it’s considered one of the most exclusive clubs in America and the players’ eyes one of the best challenges. For years it was considered a “U.S. Open-type” venue and the PGA of America was smart enough to hold it’s major on it.
  • Quail Hollow Club is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private member club, founded by James J. Harris on April 13, 1959. The club hosted the Kemper Open from 1969 through 1979, the PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational from 1983 through 1989, and has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since it debuted in 2003.
  • The property was initially a dairy farm owned by former North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison. In the late 1950s, a group of affluent men decided to create a private club patterned after the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta. George Cobb was recruited to design the course, and it opened in June 1961. To attract members, one of the founding members enlisted the help of a close friend, Arnold Palmer. Palmer liked the course so much; he was instrumental in bringing the Kemper Open to Quail Hollow. The event was played there from 1969-79, then abruptly moved to Washington, D.C. in 1980.
  • Palmer didn’t forget Quail Hollow. When he began playing the Champions Tour in 1980, he worked to bring the Paine Webber Invitational to Quail Hollow, where it was played between 1983-88.  Palmer tinkered with the course in the late ’80s, but a significant renovation was done by Tom Fazio in 1997.
  • Over the last 16 months, a lot of things have been done to the course in getting ready for the PGA Championship.  Along with all of the greens being redone, thousands of trees were removed, a bit like what Oakmont Country Club did.  This will reshape the way the course plays and make the elements of wind come into effect more.
  • They also made significant changes in four holes.  The first and second holes were condensed into a single hole, a 540-yard par 4. The fifth hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4. A new second hole was built, a par 3. The 11th was given extra bunkering.  The average green size is 6,500, which is about average and the course is dotted with 62 bunkers.  Water comes into play on six holes (7, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18).  Along with the changing of the greens course architect Tom Fazio made some changes four years ago to the 8th hole making it play straight and now is potentially a driveable par 4.  He also made a significant change to 16, adding 18 yards to the hole and bringing the lake more into play, making it a lot tougher.  He also changed 17, moving the tee to the right and adding 20 yards to the hole.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Quail Hollow.

Quail Hollow is back at the Wells Fargo after hosting the PGA Championship just nine months ago. This course has a lot of history in the last 15 years of hosting events in golf and it will continue hosting not only the Wells Fargo, but in 2021 the Presidents Cup and who knows, in future years it could hold another PGA Championship (maybe as early as 2025) and possibly a Ryder Cup down the road.

So this week’s information is based on the most important stats for Quail Hollow, based on data from last years PGA Championship, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Quail Hollow in the 2017 Presidents Cup was 73.47, so with par being 71 (for that week) which meant the average score was two and a half shots over par, making Quail Hollow the hardest course to score on in 2017. For the PGA Championship, there were changes made to the course, first a new type of Ultradwarf Bermudagrass was planted. They also cut down several thousands of trees, so Quail Hollow is a lot sparser than before. They also have come up with four holes that will be totally different as the 1st and 2nd holes are now one long, 540 yard, par 4. The 5th hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4 and a new second hole was built, it’s now a par 3. Also, major work was done on the 11th hole. The famous finish wasn’t touched, but the course is now a par 71 compared to it being a par 72. Even with the reduce par, the course picked up 25 more yards and played at 7,600 yards. For this year’s Wells Fargo the course will play 46 yards shorter with most of that yardage coming off the first hole (29 yards, from 524 last year to 495 this year). The other change comes at the 4th hole (184 down to 167). Now the big difference players will see this week compared to what they saw last August at the PGA Championship is the rough and condition of the course. During the PGA at the end of summer, the course was bone dry and ran faster, the summer heat help grow the rough and make it thicker, while this year the course will be softer and rough not as tough.

From year to year Quail Hollow is demanding and tough, you look at the list of winners who are some of golf’s best ball strikers like Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Lucas Glover. Yes, some weird winners like Derek Ernst, Joey Sindelar, and James Hahn have won They are on the list, but most of the time you’re going to get a quality winner, someone that plays well in major championships and WGC events. So in looking at our four categories, they are all related to ball-striking, except for the last category which I think will be very important and that is scrambling.
First is driving accuracy, the field at the PGA Championship hit a total of 58.59% of the fairways and was the 19th hardest fairway to hit on the PGA Tour. But when the Wells Fargo was played at Quail Hollow in 2016 it was the 5th hardest as only 51.01% of the fairways were hit. At the PGA Championship, winner Justin Thomas hit 50.00% of the fairways and ranked T-62nd.
The course is also long, so players have to hit drivers off the tee and you don’t see many players lay back with a 3 wood or long iron. Our second category is proximity to hole, this is the cousin to greens in regulation which Quail Hollow was the hardest to hit last year, but it’s important to see how close a player can get to the hole and at Quail Hollow last year it was a bit over 43 feet and ranked 1st on tour in 2017. As for Thomas, he was T-29th. Our third category is strokes gained tee to green, again this gives an overall look at a player from the tee to the green, last year Thomas was 22nd which makes you wonder how Thomas didn’t seem to do very well tee-to-green but still won. That’s because he putted well, made lot’s of birdies and even though scrambling was the number one stat making Quail Hollow the hardest to scramble on in 2017, Thomas was T-30th. Still what Thomas did last year really didn’t conform to the average player which over the years has proven to be important elements in the victory.

 

 

So the secret is that this week a ball striker or a very good putter will rule and take the championship. I go more towards ball striking because the course usually in the past is important.

*Driving Accuracy: Important because the fairways are close to U.S. Open length and if you drive it into the rough, it’s tough.

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year Quail Hollow ranked 19th, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, Quail Hollow ranked 1st as the players averaged getting it 44 feet.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: You need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lots of greens. Last year the course was 36th in driving distance and 19th in accuracy. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*Scrambling: The percent of the time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better. Last year Quail Hollow was 1st on the PGA Tour showing how tough it is to scrambling at Quail Hollow.

 

 

Here are the 137 of 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2018

Here is the link to the other 123 players with stats for 2018

 

DraftKings tips

Of the 156 in the field, 118 have played at least once at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo since 2010 (In 2017 we used the stats for Quail Hollow in the PGA Championship):

  • Rory McIlroy is 65 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 49 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 39 under in 27 rounds playing 7 years
  • Webb Simpson is 26 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Stewart Cink is 25 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Ryan Moore is 24 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 17 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Lucas Glover is 17 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Geoff Ogilvy is 16 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Justin Thomas is 15 under in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • J.B. Holmes is 15 under in 24 rounds playing 7 years
  • Kevin Streelman is 14 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years
  • Martin Flores is 13 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jason Day is 12 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Patrick Reed is 12 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Rory McIlroy is 65 under playing 8 years (-2.17)
  • Phil Mickelson is 49 under playing 8 years (-1.63)
  • Justin Thomas is 15 under playing 3 years (-1.50)
  • Rickie Fowler is 39 under playing 7 years (-1.44)
  • Stewart Cink is 25 under playing 5 years (-1.39)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 17 under playing 4 years (-1.06)
  • Jason Day is 12 under playing 3 years (-1.00)
  • Francesco Molinari is 8 under playing 2 years (-1.00)
  • Webb Simpson is 26 under playing 8 years (-0.93)
  • Kevin Streelman is 14 under playing 5 years (-0.88)
  • Ryan Moore is 24 under playing 8 years (-0.86)
  • Geoff Ogilvy is 16 under playing 6 years (-0.73)
  • Martin Flores is 13 under playing 5 years (-0.72)
  • Louis Oosthuizen is 4 under playing 2 years (-0.67)
  • J.B. Holmes is 15 under playing 7 years (-0.63)
  • Lucas Glover is 17 under playing 8 years (-0.61)
  • Patrick Reed is 12 under playing 5 years (-0.60)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Rory McIlroy – $11,800
  • Justin Thomas – $11,300
  • Rickie Fowler – $11,100
  • Jason Day – $10,200
  • Patrick Reed – $9,700
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,400
  • Phil Mickelson – $9,200
  • Tiger Woods – $9,100
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,000
  • Paul Casey – $8,900

In the list above I can’t find much fault on anyone on this list, other than Jason Day who I think is having some problems.  McIlroy, Fowler, and Woods have won this event, why Mickelson has the best record in this event without a win.  Now Tommy Fleetwood played only once last year at the PGA Championship and was T-61st.  So you will struggle if you pick two of these guys, let’s see which ones make sense.

Rory McIlroy at $11,800 is a good pick even though he is expensive.  Has had three weeks to get over the hard finish at the Masters, you have to pick him because of his seven starts not including the PGA Championship he has two wins, a runner-up, and a T-4th.  He was T-22nd at the PGA Championship but was very tired, so I have to forget about last year.  Justin Thomas at $11,300 is also a good pick, but let’s say he is too expensive and will struggle.  Doesn’t make sense other than it’s hard to defend a major and that is what Thomas is doing, so pass on him.  As for Rickie Fowler at $11,100 he was T-5th last year at the PGA Championship and won in 2012 so he is a good pick.  Patrick Reed at $9,700 is right, remember Reed was runner-up last year at the PGA Championship.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,700 is an excellent choice because he was T-5th last year and the course suits his game.

Phil Mickelson at $9,200 is an excellent choice. Frankly, he has come close to winning this, and I think he can win this year.  He is high on my list.  Also, have Tiger Woods at $9,100 high on my list, think he has been working hard on his game and will be ready come Thursday morning.  Paul Casey at $8,900 is also a goodbye, was T-13th last year and can give lot’s of points

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Watch out for Louis Oosthuizen at $8,800, he was runner-up last year at the PGA Championship, played well last week in New Orleans and has good production numbers in the 2 times he has played at Quail Hollow.  Ryan Moore at $8,500 is also an excellent pick due to him playing well of late, and he has a great record at Quail Hollow, his game is perfect for the course. Webb Simpson at $8,400 is a toss-up, you see his missed cuts in 2017 and 2016 that worries you.  But remember 2017 was a different course, he was T-33rd at the PGA Championship and has high numbers for the year in scrambling, driving accuracy and proximity to the hole.  He has lots of birdies and eagles, 120 total in 28 rounds at Quail Hollow so he will be a good choice.  I like Alex Noren at $8,100, the price is right, and he has not played much in the last six weeks.  So he is fresh and ready to go.  Brian Harman at $7,900 is a good buy, yes he won last year on a different course, but has finished in the top-ten once at Quail Hollow and was T-13th last year at the PGA Championship.  Lastly like Emiliano Grillo at $7,700, he has excellent numbers on tour as he not only is a good driver but good iron player and scrambles well.

*Are there any “Bargains” out there?

Yes, a lot out there.  I like Ross Fisher at $7,500, he has played well this year and despite playing terrible at Quail Hollow last year, think he will bounce back.  Chesson Hadley at $7,500 is another of those picks for playing well and no real record at Quail Hollow.  Andrew Landry at $7,500 is also a good choice, he hasn’t played at Quail Hollow, but his great play at the Valero Texas Open is a good omen since the course is a lot like Quail Hollow.  Stewart Cink at $7,100 has to be one of your picks, his record on tour this year is good, and he has excellent production numbers at Quail Hollow averaging four and a half eagles/birdies per round.  Talk about good numbers is Lucas Glover, a former champion that plays great, he is at $6,800 and should also be a pick.  Our last bargain is Sam Ryder at $6,500, he has no record at Quail Hollow but has been ok on tour this year and could produce some good numbers.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Wells Fargo Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

Hit it long and straight, avoid the 130 of bunkers and putt well making all your putts inside of ten feet.

Here are some more key stats to look for this week:

  • Since the course will play at more than 7,554 yards, the “experts” will say bombers hold an advantage. But as you will see length is not the only strength you need to play well at Quail Hollow. Four of the 14 Wells Fargo winners (James Hahn, Jim Furyk, David Toms and Joey Sindelar) do not have the reputation as long hitters even though the 2005 winner Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Rory McIlroy, Derek Ernst and J.B. Holmes do hit it long.  So it’s a 50/50 proposition on if longer hitters have an advantage.
  • Quail Hollow joins Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Riviera and Bethpage that have held a major championship and PGA Tour events.  The course will play a bit easier than it did for the PGA Championship, mostly because of weather conditions and course setup.  Still the fairways will be tight with three-inch plus rough and fast undulating greens.  The course always ranks as one of the toughest courses the pros play year in and year out.
  • Since the greens have some roll in them, it will also be tough to not only hit the green but get it close. Sharp iron play will also help along with the imagination when you do get in trouble. But as we have seen in the history of Quail Hollow, the winners are diverse as Justin Thomas last year in the PGA, along with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods.  One thing that is interesting of the 14 different winners at Quail Hollow (including Justin Thomas at PGA), seven of them (Thomas 2017, McIlroy 2015 & ’10, Glover 2011, Woods 2007, Furyk 2006, Singh 2005 and Toms in 2003) have won a major championship.
  • Scrambling will be at a premium, look for good chippers like Phil Mickelson or a Rory McIlroy to have a great advantage here. On this year’s scrambling list, Louis Oosthuizen, Webb Simpson, Kevin Streelman, Johnson Wagner and Rory McIlroy are in the top-ten for 2018 so these are folks to watch this week.
  • Putting is always a key to winning, but this year good putters should have a field day this week. Green speeds were lowered in 2008, and Anthony Kim was 2nd in total putts.  But it popped up in 2009 as Sean O’Hair was T47th, the worst of any champion.  In 2010 McIlroy was T38th in this category while in 2011 Glover was 3rd.  In 2012 Fowler was T40th while in 2013 Derek Ernst was T34th. J.B. Holmes was T4th in total putts in 2014 while in 2015 Rory McIlroy was T-13th in putts and James Hahn in 2016 was T-14th.  Last year Justin Thomas was 6th in total putting, 4th in Strokes gained-putting and 2nd in putting average at the PGA Championship.
  • One of the keys to mastering Quail Hollow is playing well on the final four holes. Showing the difficulty of this stretch dubbed the “The Green Mile,” holes 16, 17 and 18 have been in the top-70 of the PGA Tour’s hardest holes.  Throw in the par 5, 15th it’s a challenging stretch in which the last five champions have excelled on.  How good, last year at the PGA Championship Justin Thomas was 1 under on the last four holes.  In 2016 James Hahn played the stretch in 1 over, the same total as Rory McIlroy played it in 2015.  J.B. Holmes played the stretch in 3 under, in 2013 Derek Ernst was four under, in 2012 Rickie Fowler was 3 under, in 2011 Lucas Glover was 1 under and in 2010 Rory McIlroy was 3 under.
  • Last but not least we have to look at the weather this week.  Look for bright skies through Saturday with some cloudy skies on Sunday with a 50% chance of rain.  The good news,  temperatures will be high right around 80 each day and winds will be below 10 mph each day.
  • Need for patients.  This is one of those courses that par is your friend, so don’t look for low scoring.

Who to watch for at the Wells Fargo Championship

Best Bets:

Justin Thomas

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T7

Seems to do well when he returns to places he has won before. May not be playing that well, but his game will heat up as the weather gets warmer.

Rickie Fowler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 T38 T73 Win T16 6

Game seemed to get better at the Masters, think he will have a great week in Charlotte.

Rory McIlroy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T4 Win T8 T10 T2 CUT Win

Guy seems to play his best golf at Quail Hollow, forgot whatever has happened this year, he will do well this week.

Best of the rest:

Patrick Reed

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T12 T28 T58 T32 T32

We will see the momentum that he gained with his win at the Masters. Has a chance to break away from everyone else for Player of the Year, so it will be interesting if his newfound confidence doesn’t let him come close this week.

Phil Mickelson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T18 T4 T4 T11 3 T26 T9 2 T5 T12 T3 T35

Best record of anyone that hasn’t won at Quail Hollow. His Game was terrible at Augusta but has had time to fix it since the Masters.

Hideki Matsuyama

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T20 T38

Haven’t heard much from him since his injured wrist, this is a course that is perfect for his game and one that he can win on this week.

Tiger Woods

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT 4 Win

He seems to be taking little steps in getting better each week, his driving needs to get better and if it does he will contend this week.

Solid contenders

Louis Oosthuizen

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT

Good record in this event plus played well in New Orleans.

Ryan Moore

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T47 T18 T6 T5 T33 CUT CUT CUT T75

His game is perfect for Quail Hollow and he should contend every time he plays in Charlotte.

Webb Simpson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T2 T38 T32 4 T21 CUT CUT

Lives down the road and would love to win in his hometown.

Brian Harman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
Win T35 CUT T65 T10 T57

The defender has the game to win at Quail Hollow.

Emiliano Grillo

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T42 T61

His stats on tour shows that he has all the right numbers to play well this week.

Long shots that could come through:

Ross Fisher

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T10 T43 T29

Watch him, again he is a great player and one that should win in America

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T31

Another European that can win this event hasn’t played much of late so is well rested.

Lucas Glover

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T52 8 T28 CUT T27 CUT Win T22 T2 69 T34 T4

From tee to green he is perfect for this course if he can only putt half decently.

Stewart Cink

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T20 T23 T15 T9 CUT CUT T8 T5 T26

Always plays well in this event and cashes a nice check year in and year out.

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