After basically an off week (that’s what I am considering it) at the Zurich, the PGA Tour heads to the famous Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow has been home to the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003 with the exception of last year, where it hosted the PGA Championship.
The course went under some renovations last year to make the course difficult for the 4th major of the year. A few of the holes were lengthened and the rough was grown out to be more punishing. It is my understanding that this year the course should be back to playing similarly as it has in the past for this tournament. We have seen on twitter that the rough should be playing much easier this year.
The most recent winner of the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow is James Hahn in 2016. It was a completely unexpected win as Hahn had missed the cut in all of his recent start prior to playing that week. The rest of the leaderboard was littered with some of the best players in the world.
This is a highly popular tournament each year and draws a loaded field. It does not hurt that this is the week leading up to The Players, so many guys are trying to get in form ahead of next week. Some of the players we will be seeing tee it up this week.
- Rory McIlroy
- Justin Thomas
- Rickie Fowler
- Jason Day
- Patrick Reed
- Phil Mickelson
- Hideki Matsuyama
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Paul Casey
And…last but not least, Tiger Woods.
Quail Hollow is a very long par 71 at 7,554 yards, with four par 3s and three par 5s. As I alluded to above, the rough should not be playing nearly as penal this year, which favors the bombers even more. It is still not entirely clear what changes will be upheld from last year, but either way this course should be playing long.
The greens are bermuda grass and typically play very fast. With the course playing so long, there will be a lot of longer approach shots into the greens. This typically will lead to either longer putts or missing the greens altogether.
The final three holes at Quail Hollow are known as the Green Mile and they play extremely difficult. Hole 16 is a par 4 playing over 500 yards, 17 is a 221 yard par 3 and finally the 18th is a 493 yard par 4. Needless to say, these holes do not give way to a lot of birdies. The players will be just trying to avoid any big numbers as they close out their rounds.
I have stated a few times the having length on this course is an advantage. It is not just length off the tee but being good with the long irons will also be important to finding success here. I have seen a few times that a corollary course is Riveria. I agree that it should play similar, but Quail Hollow may be a bit less punishing for those who tend to miss the fairway.
The stats I will be using in my model:
- Strokes Gained Off the Tee (25-30%)
- Strokes Gained Approach (15-20%)
- Driving Distance (15-20%)
- Par 4 Scoring 450-500 (10-15%)
- Proximity 175-200+ (10-15%)
- Par 5 Scoring (10-15%)
Normal fantasy stroke play strategy comes back into play here. Emphasis should be placed on getting 6/6 through the cut, while maintaining winning upside. This is loaded field, so you can make a good-looking lineup fairly easily. Tiger Woods is also playing, so there will be more casual money in the GPPs than usual.
I expect the most popular roster construction to be to take one guy above $10k and then work down from there. I think this is a viable roster construction strategy and I will build a lot of my teams this way. If you look at course history, the guys up top have had a ton of success here, so I can easily see them garnering a lot of ownership.
I will be building lineups that attempt to correlate certain skill sets for players. For instance if the rough does in fact play easily, then building a team of bombers who may not be as accurate could lead to a lot of success. Conversely, I do not hate building a team of guys who may not be as long off the tee, but are great with long irons. This is a popular strategy utilized by a lot of the top fantasy players in the industry and has yielded some great results.
As always, be sure to leave a little money on the table to differentiate your lineups and eliminate the chance of duplicates. Monitor ownership and try to find some leverage throughout the week. I like to use Fanshare Sports each week to get a feel for how ownership is trending. In addition to the tag count for each player they release ownership projections on Wednesday night and I think it is a crucial to use these when building lineups. They also have a few new articles coming out related to strategy that I have found very insightful. Be sure to check them out here, the pro membership truly is a steal.
*Disclaimer – these are done early in week and may be subject to change as ownership projections evolve*
Rory McIlroy ($11,800) – There is not much that needs to be said here about Rory. His skill set is perfect for this course and he has the history to prove it. Rory has been in good form this year as well and I fully expect him to be pushing for the win this week. The issue is he is the most expensive golfer, so if you roster him you will need to dive down into the low $7k’s to help fill out the roster.
Justin Thomas ($11,300) – JT rates out number 1 in model over the last 36 rounds and he won the PGA Championship here last year. The course played more difficult last year for the Major so I expect he can have even better results this year. Again, he is very expensive so you will have to take a hit elsewhere when building lineups, but I do not mind doing this because the field is so loaded.
Phil Mickelson ($9,200) – Phil is a risky play, but he has been in great form this year. He is very long off the tee and if the rough is not playing too penal this course should set up perfect for him. If the approach shots are not hitting greens, there is no one better than Phil at scrambling. He is a GPP only play for me, but I will have some exposure.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,000) – Fleetwood sets up very well for this course with his length off the tee. He also is a great long iron player, which is crucial to success here. I was hoping he would fly a bit under the radar this week with the field being so deep, but it looks that he will be popular. I will not be fading him, but rather differentiating elsewhere.
Paul Casey ($8,900) – Casey is a model for consistency. He does not kill it in any stat category I am looking at this week, but he is very solid in all of them. I think he is a cash viable play and I was a bit surprised he was not in the $9k range. He may not be the most exciting play on the board, but you can plug him in a feel confident he will make the cut.
Tony Finau ($8,700) – Finau is the longest player off the tee on tour this year and he scores very well on the par 5’s. He played incredible at The Masters while basically on one leg. I think he will be very popular this week, but it is chalk I will be willing to eat.
Luke List ($7,400) – List is the stat king this year and he seems to pop in my model every single week. Unlike past years, he has been backing it up with the exception of two weeks ago. The price discount we get on him is really incredible and I will have a lot of exposure to List. I really hope the missed cut keeps his ownership down a bit and we can keep making money off of Luke.
Xander Schauffele ($7,400) – This seems like a pricing mistake to me by Draftkings. Xander rates out very well in my model and he has the recent form to go with it. He also finished T24 here last year and at this price that is all you will need. I think he will be chalky, but he is cheap and has T10 upside this week.
Grayson Murray ($6,900) – Grayson is a volatile player but I think he has the game to have T15+ upside here. He is a bomber and also rates out very well from 200+ yards on the approach. He is a volatile player and is very live to miss the cut, but I will have some exposure in large field GPPs.
Trey Mullinax ($6,900) – I like Trey Mullinax and on paper he should fit this course very well. I will be closely monitoring his ownership projection though because I do not plan to play a chalky Mullinax. I am hoping Niemann, the amateur that everyone has fallen in love with, will soak up some of that ownership and we can get Trey around 5%. Again just another GPP flier, but if you need the relief I like this play.
I think this is an awesome bounce back tournament from the Zurich, especially with the loaded field. You will absolutely need 6/6 through the cut to have a chance at taking down any GPP, so keep that in mind when building. I am leaning toward being as balanced as I can be with still having a few players with winning upside. Looking forward to this week, it should be a fun tournament.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @thetipsandyips & @TheGolfFamily. Hope you all have a good week and win some $$$. Good luck and feel free to share your results!
Thanks for reading!