Wells Fargo Championship Preview
What: Wells Fargo Championship
Where: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, NC
When: May 3-6
Defending Champion: Brian Harman
FedEx Cup Points: 500
Purse: $7.7 million
After a one-week absence we’re back with another weekly fantasy golf preview. Before we get into picks for the Wells Fargo Championship, let’s review the results from the Valero Texas Open two weeks ago. Andrew Landry took the win with a score of 17-under by two strokes over Sean O’Hair and Trey Mullinax.
Valero Texas Open Results
This week we head to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, which was the home of the 2017 PGA Championship and has hosted this event since 2003. Brian Harman took the win last year with a score of 10-under. He took the prize by one stroke over Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez. We will see a great field this week as golfers need a final tune-up before The Players Championship next week and the U.S. Open in June.
In the past, Quail Hollow has been up-and-down in terms of difficulty. We’ve seen Rory destroy this course at 21-under, but we’ve also seen it play as one of the 10 most difficult courses on tour. Quail Hollow is also a course that fits a lot of games. Gaining strokes off the tee and driving distance are certainly benefits, as the shorter hitters need to be incredibly accurate. Predicting them could be harder, but a short-hitter could do well this week with good enough iron and short-game.
This Week’s Wells Fargo Championship Picks
Rory McIlroy: Rory is the perfect golfer for this course. He hits the ball hard and far enough to automatically contend with that part of his game alone. Not to mention his ability to catch fire with his irons and putter. McIlroy owns the course and tournament records with wins in 2010 and 2015. He also owns another six top-10s and a playoff loss in eight other appearances.
Justin Thomas: Missed the cut at the Zurich Classic, but that shouldn’t bother us at all. His worst finish on the year has been T22 and he was the winner of the 2017 PGA Championship held at this very course. His other Wells Fargo Championship appearance in 2015 was a T7. We could see Thomas gunning for the world no. 1 rank fairly soon.
Rickie Fowler: Fowler is another great style-fit for this course. He has erased his recent struggles with a runner-up finish at the Masters and has now refreshed with nearly a month off. Rickie won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2012 and has another three top-6 finishes here. That includes a T5 at the PGA Championship last year and a T4 at this event in 2016.
Phil Mickelson: A gigantic 13 starts at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, Phil has made the cut in all 13. He owns seven top-5s and another four finishes no worse than T12. His missed cut at the PGA Championship last year is well in the distance as Phil as enjoyed a great year so far. He has eight top-25s, five top-10s, a win, a runner-up finish and is second in strokes gained: putting.
Tony Finau: Finau is breaking out big-time. As long as the heavy hitter keeps it straight he will once again be in contention here. He’s made all three cuts at this course with T16s and T28s in his Wells Fargo Championship start, and a T44 last year at the PGA. The 28-year-old has two runner-up finishes this year to go along with nine top-25s.
Patrick Reed: You’d like to see more than 10 cuts made in 14 tries this year from the Masters champion, but that’s nitpicking. It’s been six events since he missed a cut, however, and this comes with five top-10s. Reed finished T2 at the PGA Championship last year, but hasn’t finished better than T28 in his four Wells Fargo Championship appearances. Reed is primed to go on a run here.
Tiger Woods: Tiger should be well rested after sitting out since the Masters, so his past issues of fatigue and injuries could be in the rear-view mirror. The slightly new layout to Quail Hollow will be new to Tiger, so if he can’t make a charge as early as Friday the whole weekend could be an adjusting period. In Tiger’s last six trips here he has two missed cuts, a T11, a fourth-place finish, a T3, and a win.
Webb Simpson: View Webb as more of a guy who “gets pushed out” by the men listed above him as he’s hardly played like a “third-tier” value. His putter has helped him achieve 11 of 12 cuts made this year, with seven top-25s and four top-10s. Simpson finished T2 here in 2015 and is a member of this course, what more could you want?
Jason Day: Day hasn’t missed a cut since the Travelers Championship. That was last June. Day has only played in four events since mid-March, but that comes with a win, a runner-up, and six top-25s on the year. The Aussie has played sparingly at Quail Hollow (ninth at the PGA last year and T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2012), but that shouldn’t matter. He ranks first on Tour in strokes gained: putting, 19th in driving distance, and 36th in strokes gained: off-the-tee.
Louis Oosthuizen: Only one start at this event and he missed the cut, but at the PGA Championship he had a T13 last year and three previous top-20s. I’d bet not very many people realize he has five top-25s in six cuts made this year. Or that he’s seventh on Tour in strokes gained: off-the-tee.
Francesco Molinari: Put up a T2 at the 2017 PGA Championship and has a T17 in his other lone Wells Fargo Championship appearance. The world no. 31 has missed just one cut in his last 15 worldwide starts with six top-20s. The Italian ranks sixth in strokes gained: off-the-tee, 19th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and should be fully rested with his recent two-and-a-half weeks off.
Gary Woodland: Since winning the WMPO in early-February, Woodland has missed four cuts and has no better finish than a T29 in seven starts. The good news is that he’s playing this often and has a good track record here. He finished T22 at the 2015 PGA, and T4 at the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship and has four straight top-25s here.