The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
The Wells Fargo Championship received elevated event status for 2023 and will feature a massive 20M prize purse and elevated FedEx Cup points. That means the event has also attracted a star-studded field headlined by three-time Wells Fargo Champion Rory McIlroy. McIlroy has had a less-than-ideal start to the season, missing the cut at the Masters and then withdrawing mysteriously from the RBC (after he spear-headed the effort for elevated events and more elite player participation...). With Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm skipping out this week, McIlroy will be the center of the media’s eye.
There are other past winners at this event, as both Jason Day and Max Homa have won at Quail Hollow recently, as has Justin Thomas, who took home his first major win here in 2017. A couple of names that got added to the field late include Akshay Bhatia and Alejandro Tosti, who qualified after their great performances in Mexico. The cut this week again will feature the top 65 players and ties and take place after Friday’s round.
Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K Pitch + Putt [$200K to 1st]
Location: Charlotte, NC
Quail Hollow: Par 71, 7535 yards; Greens: Champion Bermuda
This event returns to Quail Hollow again in 2023. Outside of two years off when it was on hosting duties for major events (2017 and 2022), Quail has remained the host course for the Wells Fargo since its inception in 2003. Despite its longevity, the course is much different than it was in the early days of this event. The overall yardage now spans up to 7,600 yards, and the par has changed from a 72 to 71, making it one of the longer venues in play on the PGA TOUR.
Quail is a traditional par 71 with just three par-5s, but its length really plays out in the par 4s, eight of which span well over 450 yards. The course begins with one of the toughest holes on the course — the par-4 first — that plays as a dogleg par 4 at over 500 yards. It also ends with one of the toughest finishing stretches on the PGA (the Green Mile), where players are tested with two monster par 4s and a long par 3 guarded by water.
Quail is essentially a classic tree-lined course that challenges golfers with tough driving holes and doglegs throughout but still adds in the odd scoring hole here and there to make things fair. In 2018, it played as the fifth-toughest venue on the PGA TOUR, playing to a 72.132 scoring average, and in 2019 it played as the eighth-toughest venue at a 71.762 average score. In terms of profile, it’s very similar to what we see at Cooperhead CC (host of the Valspar) and also profiles well with Riviera, where there is always a big emphasis on great tee-to-green play. 2019 Wells Fargo winner Max Homa (who also has a win at Riviera and a top-10 at the Valspar) provides a good link to all three courses.
From a profile perspective, this venue has tended to favor good drivers of the ball (and longer hitters), and that theme has been even more evident since the renovations. Of the past eight winners at Quail Hollow, none have ranked worse than 36th in Driving Distance for the week—Thomas ranked first in Driving Distance at the 2017 PGA Championship, while Jason Day ranked 14th in this stat in 2018 when he won here. Winners have tended to gain nearly as many strokes off the tee as they do on approach, with good long to mid iron play also key given the number of longer approaches players will be facing this week.
2023 Weather Outlook: The weather for 2023 looks mostly benign. The temperature isn’t expected to be overly warm for this event, with highs in the mid to high 70F range. However, winds are expected to be mostly irrelevant, and none of the four days have winds forecasted above 10mph. The first two days provide almost zero advantage for either wave making it a good week just to throw out tee times in classic DFS contests on DraftKings and use skillsets or trends for stacking. Rain is expected on Saturday, which could make the rough tougher and the course a little longer. Sunny skies return Sunday, however, where the course may even play a little softer if the Saturday rain forecast sticks.
Last 5 winners
2022—Max Homa** -8 (over Keegan Bradley -6)
2021—Rory McIlroy -16 (over Abraham Ancer -15)
2019—Max Homa -15 (over Joel Dahmen -12)
2018—Jason Day -12 (over Nick Watney and Aaron Wise -10)
2017—Brian Harman* -10 (over Dustin Johnson and Pat Perez -9)
*played at Eagle Point
**played at TPC Potomac
Winners Stats and Course Overview
*Last event winner (Quail Hollow): Rory McIlroy—2021 (15-under-par)
- 2021 lead-in form (MC-MC-10-MC-6)
- McIlroy came into this event in 2021 playing inconsistent golf but managed to right himself on this course where his power game off the tee gives him a huge advantage
- From a performance perspective, the last few winners at Quail have all been strong off-the-tee players who have also relied on strong putting to help them to a win
- Course history is something to key in on this week, as is recent form in long iron proximity (>200 yards) and off-the-tee play
- From a DFS perspective, a lot of the field this week simply won’t have the distance or consistency off the tee to compete, so really nailing down those who do have the power and upside in that one area will be key
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Justin Thomas +2200 and $8,900
Tommy Fleetwood +4500 and $8,100
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Rory McIlroy ($11,100; best finishes: win-2009, 2015, 2021): McIlroy loves Quail Hollow. On top of winning this event three times already, he set the event scoring record in 2015 and holds the overall course record at 61 as well. Even with his poor start to 2023, he’s a near must-roster this week.
2. Jason Day ($9,000; best finishes: win-2018): Day has really taken to this venue since the remodel, and the changes seem to be positive for his bomb and gouge sort of approach. He finished T9 at the PGA Championship in 2017, won this event in 2018, and finished T24 at Quail in 2021. He’s gained over +4.0 strokes ATG here in each of the last two seasons and clearly likes the longer, tougher setup.
3. Rickie Fowler ($8,800; best finishes: win-2012, T4-2019): Fowler grabbed his first PGA TOUR win at this venue back in 2012 and has been a force at this event most seasons. He finished T4 at this event back in 2016 and put up a T5 in 2017 at Quail during the PGA Championship. With his game showing better form in 2023, don’t be shocked if he pushes for another solid week.
4. Luke List ($6,900; best finishes: T3-2013, T4-2015, 2016): List is the prototypical bomber off the tee who gains from the tougher off-the-tee setup at Quail. He’s landed top 10s at this venue in two of his last three visits to the course. His recent form is worrisome, as he has now missed five of his last six cuts in 2023.
5. Keith Mitchell ($6,900; best finishes: T3-2021, T8-2019): Mitchell is an excellent off-the-tee player, and it has shown through in his Quail Hollow results. The former Honda Classic winner has posted top 10 finishes at this venue in his last two visits and has generally done his best work around these kinds of tougher layouts.
1. Tony Finau ($10,200; win-T31-T26): Finau has now gained over 3.0 strokes on approach in his last nine measured starts on the PGA TOUR. He’s now won four times in his last 17 starts on the PGA.
2. Jordan Spieth ($9,600; T2-T4-T3): Spieth nearly went back-to-back at the RBC Heritage, losing out in a playoff to Matthew Fitzpatrick. He’s posted top-five finishes in each of his last three stroke play events.
3. Patrick Cantlay ($10,500; T3-T14): Cantlay has ripped off three top-five finishes over his last six events. He hasn’t been able to get hot enough on the greens to grab a win yet but isn’t far off.
4. Patrick Rodgers ($7,500; T10-T19-T5): Rodgers enters this week with top-20 finishes in each of his last three starts. He’s shown vast improvement in his ball striking this season and has posted some solid results on this week’s venue.
5. Jimmy Walker ($6,500; T15-T25-T22): No, it is not 2014 again. Walker has started to play solid golf and has finished top 25 in each of his last three starts. He was once one of the best putters in the game, so if that club stays hot, he can keep on producing.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Expect a roar from Rory
We haven’t seen Rory McIlroy ($11,100) since the Masters, but without knowledge of an injury or anything else, we have to assume the break was more mental health related. Quail Hollow has been a sort of refresher spot over the years for the Northern Irishman who has won here three times now and lastly did it in 2021 while also in the midst of a mid-season slump. If you’re playing cash games, using the depth of the field to your advantage and starting with McIlroy will be key. Cameron Young ($8,700) and Wyndham Clark ($7,800) are two big hitters who offer loads of value at their price points this week and should be seen as good McIlroy partners. Further down, the likes of Patrick Rodgers ($7,500) and Emiliano Grillo ($7,500) also make a ton of sense in cash game formats.
Tournaments: Morikawa and Fowler hungry for a win
If you are fading the top player in DFS (or even fading everyone over $10,000), then starting lineups with the perennially great Collin Morikawa ($9,800) is a solid idea. As a fantastic long-iron player, it’s a little bit of a shame that Morikawa will be making his first start on Quail Hollow this week. His T6 at Riviera was a great showcase of what he can do on a longer championship golf course, and you shouldn’t be surprised if he rises to the occasion for a great week here as well. Fowler looks slightly overpriced this week at $8,800, but five top-20 finishes in his last six starts means that he’s also earned that salary. The great course history and form shouldn’t be faded in GPPs, even if it means spending a little more than you want on the 2012 winner of this event. Other targets for this format include: Cameron Davis ($7,500 - see below), Patrick Rodgers ($7,500), David Riley ($7,500) and Cameron Champ ($6,600)
MY PICK: Viktor Hovland ($9,200)
Hovland is without a win this season but has featured in nearly every event he’s started on the PGA. A T10 at Bay Hill could have been a playoff win had he not dunked an easy approach on the final par 5, and his T7 at the Masters was highlighted by a superb opening which saw him hold the lead after round one.
Hovland’s lack of touch around the greens may be holding him back from winning more, but he has made some strides in that regard this season. Despite still ranking near the bottom of the PGA in strokes gained around the greens stats, his level of performance has improved in that area by 0.4 strokes over last season. It’s not huge, but it does showcase the fact that he’s getting better.
Despite shakey scrambling, Hovland’s ball-striking remains a masterclass. He’s first in overall proximity stats and 10th in proximity from >200 yards while also ranking first in strokes gained ball-striking over the last 24 rounds. Considering the fact the last two winners of this event (when played at Quail) gained less than a stroke around the greens, this week would make sense for that breakout win we have been waiting on to finally occur.
Even if he’ll be a popular upper-tier value, fading him at this price seems foolhardy just given how well his skillset suits this course. At +2000 or greater on the DraftKings Sportsbook, he’s someone you can keep betting on this week as well, with a win looking likely to be on the horizon soon.
MY SLEEPER: Cameron Davis ($7,500)
Cameron Champ, Patrick Rodgers and Gary Woodland all look like solid plays at this week’s longer venue, and all have a solid upside for DFS this week. However, the player in the mid-7K range who looks the most likely to potentially pull off a Kurt Kitayama ($7,200)-style upset is Aussie Cameron Davis. Davis had a rough stretch at the beginning of 2023, where he missed five cuts in a row and was apparently battling a health issue of some kind. The health seems to have rebounded over the last month or so, and a fresh mental approach has now seen the Aussie reel off two top-10 finishes in his last three outings. His T7 at the RBC (his last start) was perhaps his most impressive this season, as it came despite him losing over -1.0 strokes putting for the week.
Davis is a massive talent who has as much distance off the tee as anyone on the PGA. He’s now gained over 3.0 strokes OTT in each of his last two starts and also ranks third in proximity from >200 yards over the last 12 rounds. He’ll be playing Quail Hollow for the third time this year (a bonus) and posted a T26 at this venue in 2021, but he was within the top 10 after round three before a poor final round. At massive +15000 odds, he makes for a great outright target on the DraftKings Sportsbook and is a solid value to target for DFS this week as well.
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