Wells Fargo Championship – Golfers to Target

Mark Diana
Golf Analyst

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Following Sam Burns’ maiden PGA Tour victory last week at the Valspar Championship, the PGA Tour travels to North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow Golf Club is a classical, championship-style golf course that will test golfers to execute on all phases of their game. The long, Par 71 course measures over 7,550 yards and will give longer hitters an advantage. Like most Carolina courses, golfers will face narrow, tree-lined fairways.Missing the fairway will land golfers in penal rough which will make saving par on these fast, overseeded Bermudagrass greens very difficult. I will be targeting golfers who have a complete game and are particularly good from over 200 yards. Efficient Par 3 players will be valuable as golfers will struggle for Par on these four holes and will need to capitalize on the Par 5s in order to contend. 

Each week, I will highlight golfers from different price tiers to help you build your betting card! The four price tiers I will highlight this week will be the: the top-tier, mid-tier, sleepers, and longshots. Top-tier golfers will consist of golfers who are 30-1 or less. The mid-tier will consist of golfers who are longer than 30-1, but shorter than 60-1. Sleepers will consist of golfers who are longer than 60-1, but shorter than 100-1. Longshots will consist of golfers who are longer than 100-1.

Top-Tier (Under 30-1)

Rory McIlroy 18-1

It is no secret that Rory McIlroy has been struggling with his golf game both mentally and physically. However, the four-time Major champion returns to a course where he recorded a seven shot victory back in 2015. McIlroy has played this course ten times in his career. He has made nine cuts, he’s won twice, and has seven Top 10 Finishes. While the results have not been there, McIlroy has still played well recently. Over his last 24 rounds amongst this field, McIlroy ranks: second in Driving Distance, 12th in Proximity from 200+ yards, and 16th in Tee-to-Green. Given his pedigree on this course, this is the week where the 31-year-old Irishman rights the ship.

Xander Schauffele 19-1

The last time we saw Xander Schauffele he was making a Sunday charge to win a Green Jacket before a costly mistake on Augusta’s Par 3 16th hole led to a very anticlimactic finish at the Masters. The four-time PGA Tour winner has played very well this season but has been unable to close the door on a victory. Since last September, Schauffele has played in thirteen total events, and has six Top 5 finishes in that span. The 27-year-old is a complete player who does not dominate any strokes gained category but is good in all of them. Using ShotLink data for the 2021 PGA Tour season, in this field Schauffele ranks: Ninth in Putting Average, 12th in Tee-to-Green, 13th Around-the-Green, 14th in Driving Distance, 17th in GIRs Gained, and 18th in Proximity from 200+ yards. Schauffele checks off all of the boxes, the big question is whether or not he will be able to actually win the event.

Viktor Hovland 21-1

Hovland backdoored his way into a T3 finish at the Valspar Championship after a -6 round on Sunday. Hovland is a high-ceiling golfer who can rattle off birdie streaks out of nowhere, but he is also victim to blow-up holes. If Hovland can avoid posting a big number on one individual hole, he has what it takes to win on any given week. Over his last 24 rounds in this field, Hovland ranks: first in Strokes Gained on Par 5s, fifth in Proximity from 200+ yards, fifth in Tee-to-Green, and sixth in Total Strokes Gained. Hovland has played well at WGCs, Majors, and at other events with strong fields. The style of golf he plays translates well for tough courses and I expect to be on him in the matchup market.

Will Zalatoris 29-1

The meteoric rise of Will Zalatoris has seen the rookie do just about everything except for win a tournament. His name lives at the top of leaderboards and he is one of the most confident players on Tour. As a temporary member, the only way for Zalatoris to become a full-time PGA Tour member is to win an event. Following his second place finish at the Masters, Zalatoris said in an interview that he knows a win is coming and he just needs to keep playing at a high level. Since the U.S Open in September, Zalatoris has played in sixteen PGA Tour events and has posted eleven Top 25 finishes. The 24-year-old is a ball-striking machine who has shown an ability to play his best when the best players are in the field. While his number is relatively short, it is short for a reason. Sportsbooks know that Zalatoris is going to win soon.

Mid-Tier (Longer than 30-1, shorter than 60-1)

Tony Finau 31-1

Similar to Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau is an elite player who does everything except win. Finau is one of the best drivers on Tour, and his ball-striking leads to many Top 10 finishes. Finau’s consecutive runners-up finishes earlier this season at Genesis and Farmers is attractive to me because those two courses are similar to Quail Hollow. The balance in Finau’s game allows him to be competitive when the scoring conditions are tough. This season amongst this field, Finau ranks: seventh in Total Strokes Gained, eighth in Tee-to-Green, eleventh in Strokes Gained on Par 5s, 14th in Proximity from 200+ yards, and 17th in Driving Distance. Finau can change the narrative about him this week with a breakthrough win at a championship level course.

Sungjae Im 36-1

One of the biggest concerns with Sungjae Im is his lackluster iron play in recent weeks. However, he has two good recent finishes with a T8th at the Honda Classic, and a T13th at the RBC Heritage. Im has been riding a hot putter where he has gained .80 strokes per round with the flatstick over his last 32 rounds. Im has the ability to get on birdie streaks and avoid big mistakes. While his overall iron-play has been sub-par, the one area on Approaches where he has excelled has been with the long irons. Over his last 50 rounds, Im ranks ninth in this field in Proximity from 200+ yards. With a very condensed top of the betting board, dipping down into this range could prove fruitful and I love the value on Sungjae at this number.

Max Homa 36-1

The defending Wells Fargo Championship, Max Homa, earned his first career PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow back in 2019. Homa has shown himself to be a streaky player, and is trending upwards. Prior to his victory at the Genesis Invitational in February, Homa had put together a string of good finishes. In his last six events, Homa has four Top 20 finishes which includes two Top 10 finishes. Homa is a grinder, and plays well on tough courses as highlighted by his two career PGA Tour victories. Over his last 24 rounds in this field, Homa ranks: second in Proximity from 200+ yards, third in Total Strokes Gained, fifth in Strokes Gained on Par 5s, and 13th in Tee-to-Green. Homa profiles well for this event and his recent form is indicating he might be peaking for another victory. 

Cameron Tringale 43-1

Cameron Tringale continues to rack up high finishes. Tringale has three Top 15 finishes over his last four events and has been a model of consistency. Tringale is a good Tee-to-Green player and gains strokes in every category. Over his last 30 rounds, Tringale is gaining 1.01 strokes per round with his ball-striking while also gaining .80 strokes per round with his short-game. Tringale is a complete player, who is not elite at anything but is above average at everything. While he has never won on Tour before, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern considering the defending champion of this event, Max Homa, earned his first PGA Tour victory here back in 2019.

Jason Day 55-1

Betting this number would be a complete number play. The 2018 winner of this event has not been in great form recently, but this is a course that he loves. Day has played at Quail Hollow five times with one win, and five Top 25 finishes. Day is a long hitter who has been struggling to find form. However, over his last 25 rounds Day is gaining strokes ball-striking and Around-the-Green. Getting a 12-time PGA Tour winner, who has won on this course at this number seems like something I could be talked into. 

Sleepers (Longer than 60-1, Shorter than 100-1

Lucas Glover 80-1

The 2011 Wells Fargo Champion has played this event 16 times with five Top 10 finishes. Glover’s familiarity with this course is appealing, especially coming off of a fourth place finish a few weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open. Over his last 24 rounds, Glover is 14th in Proximity from 200+ yards, 21st in Tee-to-Green, and 23rd in Total Strokes Gained. Glover is a solid player who can play well at these grinder types of events but I would be wary of his boom/bust potential.

Matt Wallace 80-1

Wallace does not play on the PGA Tour too often, but when he has he’s played pretty well. Wallace has made five straight cuts and his worst finish in that span was a T34 at the Masters. Wallace is a great approach player, ranking 8th amongst all PGA Tour players in that category this season. Additionally, Wallace is a great putter, ranking 17th amongst all PGA Tour players this season. Past winners have shown the trend of combining Tee-to-Green and Putting for a winning weekend. I think Wallace is underrated and undervalued because people aren’t familiar with him, but I like his prospects for surprising some people and contending this week. 

Long Shots (Longer than 100-1)

Cameron Davis 130-1

Cameron Davis is one of the longest hitters on Tour, ranking tenth among all PGA Tour players in Off-the-Tee and eleventh in Driving Distance. The 26-year-old Australian has never won on the PGA Tour but I think he will soon. It makes sense that if he does win, it will be at an event where he can use his length to separate from the field. I don’t love the 60-100 range this week as it is pretty slim, which opens up the possibility of adding some longshots. Davis is third in Proximity from 200+ yards over his last 36 rounds, and eighth in Driving Distance. I love this number on a player who has such a high ceiling.

Carlos Ortiz 130-1

Carlos Ortiz has already won once this season, and he is back into the 100+ range which is crazy to me. Ortiz is a talented golfer but has struggled recently, missing two straight cuts. However, over his last 36 rounds he has been middling in some of my key stats for this week. He ranks 14th in Proximity from 200+ yards, 17th in Three-Putt Avoidance, 24th in Total Strokes Gained, 25th in Strokes Gained on Par 5s, and 28th in Driving Distance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ortiz hang around this week, and would look to add him in the Top 40 / Top 30 market.

Lanto Griffin 150-1

Lanto Griffin profiles very similar to both Carlos Ortiz and Matt Wallace. Middling in a lot of stat categories, recent missed cuts, but a good combination of Approach and Putting. Among all PGA Tour golfers, Griffin ranks 32nd in Approach and 16th in Putting. Most impressively, Griffin’s approaches from 200+ yards where he is 27th amongst golfers in this field. Griffin definitely has missed cut potential, but I think he gets back on track this week and lands himself inside the Top 40.

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