This week will feature another difficult tournament in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The course will play as a par 71, measuring 7,521 yards and be putt on Champion G12 Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa trivialis. The tournament was canceled last year due to COVID-19, making Max Homa (2019 winner) your defending champion this week. There are 156 golfers in the field at press time, and the top 65 and ties will make the cut.
Ten of the top-15 ranked golfers will be playing this week with the PGA Championship just two weeks out. Jon Rahm (+1100, $10,800), Xander Schauffele (+1400, $10,500), Bryson DeChambeau (+1600, $11,000) and Patrick Cantlay (+2800, $9,600) have elected to make a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina to get their respective games ready for Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
One of the first things you notice about Quail Hollow is the length, especially on eight of the par 4s that measure above 450 yards — two of which measure over 500 yards. The average driving distance here is also more than the TOUR average, as are the approach shots from 200-plus yards, coming in at eight percent higher (31.1%). This week is one of the few tournaments where Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee is the predominant statistic that leads to success. Winners here are gaining an average of 1.545 strokes Off-the-Tee, which is twice as much as Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green. Focusing on driving this week doesn’t mean approach isn’t essential. Quail Hollow sports four water hazards in play on seven holes and greenside bunkers on every hole. The fairways are tight, and the greens historically play hard and fast, so ball-striking is vital. The course starts with three par 4s over 450 yards and ends with the Green Mile holes 16 through 18, which also have two par 4s over 494 yards.
The top 10 in DraftKings scoring in 2019 was reasonably balanced, with an average price of just under $8,500. The cheapest golfer was the eventual winner, Max Homa, who was $6,600. The most expensive was Rickie Fowler at $10,600; he finished eighth in DraftKings scoring but fourth in the tournament. In 2018, the average price was about $500 less, averaging just above $8,000. The most expensive golfer was the eventual winner, Jason Day, at $10,200; the cheapest was Johnson Wagner at $6,800.
Jon Rahm (+1100 to Win , $10,800 on DraftKings)
When it’s a long, difficult, traditional American course, Rahm should be at the top of the list. There isn’t a ton we need to say about world No. 3 that you don’t already know. He’s excellent on these courses, ranking 14th in Strokes Gained: Total over the previous 50 rounds in difficult scoring conditions. He also won the Memorial Tournament last season, a comparable test of golf similar to this week. Quail Hollow will demand a robust Off-the-Tee game, and few are better than Rahm, who hasn’t lost strokes in this category since August 2019. Rahm finished fourth here back in 2017, which is his only time teeing it up at Quail Hollow before this week.
Refer a friend and get $20 DK Dollars! Head to the DraftKings Playbook Promo page for more details!
Will Zalatoris (+3000 to Win, $9,400 on DraftKings)
A second at Augusta National, a 21st at THE PLAYERS Championship, a 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a 15th at The Genesis Invitational and a sixth place at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot should tell us that when the scoring conditions get challenging, Zalatoris shows up. He lost just under five strokes Off-the-Tee at the RBC Heritage, which could’ve been some post-Masters hangover. His driving becomes much better when we zoom out, gaining Off-the-Tee in nine of his last 11 measured rounds. His ball-striking has been fantastic, and he should be able to score on the par 5s, ranking fifth over his previous 24 rounds. Also, consider Joaquin Niemann (+3000, $9,100) in this range. Like Zalatoris, Niemann’s strength Off-the-Tee gives him a significant advantage over the field, more so than Zalatoris. Over his last 24 rounds, Niemann ranks eighth in Off-the-Tee and 22nd in approach.
Erik Van Rooyen ( +16000 to Win, $7,200 on DraftKings)
Like Rahm and Zalatoris, we should be looking for players who can take down Quail Hollow with their driver, and Van Rooyen has gained strokes Off-the-Tee in three of his last four events. Van Rooyen finished inside the top 15 at the Valero Texas Open last month, where he gained 4.7 strokes driving. Van Rooyen has strong performances on similar courses, finishing 22nd at the Memorial Tournament (Muirfield Village) and 23rd at the U.S. Open (Winged Foot) last season. Another player to consider is Ryan Moore (+12500, $7,100), who has a knack for playing on these longer, American-style courses with his driving and long-iron accuracy. Over his previous 24 rounds, Moore ranks 15th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and inside the top half of the field in both approach proximity from 175 to 200 yards and 200-plus yards away. If we scale out the timeframe to the last 50 rounds, Moore ranks top three in approach proximity from 175 to 200 yards.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.