This should be an interesting week. We have one of the best non-major/WGC fields we’ll see all year and a fantastic course.
The Wells Fargo Championship takes place at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC. It’s a long par 72; coming in at 7,562 yards. There are some long par 3s, getable par 5s, and one (maybe two) driveable par 4s.
2015 Wells Fargo Championship
1. Rory McIlroy -21
T-2. Patrick Rodgers -14
T-2. Webb Simpson -14
T-4. Gary Woodland -12
T-4. Phil Mickelson -12
T-4. Robert Streb -12
T-7. Geoff Ogilvy -11
T-7. Justin Thomas -11
T-9. Kevin Streelman -10
T-9. Shawn Stefani -10
T-9. Jason Bohn -10
T-9. Brendan Steele -10
As you can see, Rory ran away with it last year. He’s been great at Quail Hollow and is sure to be popular this week.
TARGET STATS (courtesy of FantasyGolfMetrics.com)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Birdie or Better %
- Proximity from 125-150 Yards (aka “The Scoring Range”)
- Par 5 Scoring
- Scramble Proximity
If you’ve been paying attention to other sources of information, you have surely heard that Quail Hollow is a “bomber’s course.” I asked the guys at FGM why driving distance didn’t show up in their key stats, and the reason is distance has been adequately accounted for through the weighting of SGT2G and par 5 scoring. It makes sense to me, but wanted to clarify for anyone who thought we’re just ignoring length.
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
Let me start with this. I view anyone from Rory at $12800 down to J.B. Holmes at $9100 practically interchangeable (price considered). You could probably throw Ben An into that group, as well. If you have a favorite, play him. I’m not going to list them all off, but I will probably have a piece of each. You won’t see Rory below, but that’s just because I like other plays at the top better. Doesn’t mean I’m fading him. My least favorite of the top nine prices is Patrick Reed, but I don’t have a real problem with him at all.
Also, I assume everyone is going to want to fit 1-2 of those top guys into their lineups. You don’t need me to tell you about Rory, Rickie, Rose, etc. So I focused more on providing value plays to help you build around your stars of choice. Now let’s get into it.
Adam Scott $10600
Scott should fly a bit under the radar. He’s coming off of a T-42 at the Masters and doesn’t have the outstanding course history like Rory, Rickie, or Phil. However, the 2015-16 version of Adam Scott should dominate this course. He’s #1 in the field at 2.24 SGT2G and seems to have gotten the hang of the shorter putter (#26 in the field at 0.39 SGP). When accounting for field strength over the past 12 weeks, Scott also has the #1 birdie rate, #6 par 5 scoring average, and is #6 in proximity from 125-150 yards. He’s also well above average in terms of scrambling proximity. Statistically, he’s the prototype. Consider his recent lack of success in Charlotte a blessing in disguise.
Phil Mickelson $9500
In terms of statistics coupled with course history, Mickelson is right there with McIlroy… but he’s $3300 (or half a Wilcox) cheaper. Phil has eight top-12 Wells Fargo finishes in the last nine years. EIGHT. It’s not hard to see why he likes the course. Length is obviously important at a 7,500-yard track, but courses like this also tend to place importance on scrambling and scoring from 100-150 yards. Phil excels in both areas. If it weren’t for his back-to-back missed cuts, he’d easily be the most popular player in the field.
Hideki Matsuyama $9300
Matsuyama has only played three events in the last two months, but he’s shown up in all three (T-6 @ API, T-18 @ Dell, T-7 @ Masters). He’s also played reasonably well at Quail Hollow, averaging +23.8 DK points against field average in two career starts. Although not a “bomber” per se, he traditionally averages around 295 off the tee. Good enough. Hideki is one of the best in the field in terms of SGT2G and birdie rate, and he’s well above average in all other key categories save for SGP. I’d put him in a class with Fowler, Stenson and Rose, but he’s roughly $1k cheaper.
Byeong-Hun An $8600
The Ben An bandwagon is probably going to get a little crowded this week, but that’s fine. Here’s to hoping enough people drop down to Charles Howell III. I like An this week for a lot of the same reasons I did last week: he’s good tee-to-green, a passable putter, makes birdies, and scores on par 5s. You have to think the near miss last week will only motivate him going forward.
Bryson DeChambeau $7800
He lost a little shine after that MC in Texas, but hey, it happens. I like Bryson this week for three reasons:
- Solid SGT2G.
- #1 in the field over the last 12 weeks from 125-150 yards.
There are no real glaring weaknesses in his game, and he’s a relatively safe play at $7800.
Patton Kizzire $7700
Kizzire has been playing some great golf of late; posting back-to-back top-15 finishes. Like I said last week, the guy is just a pro. He’s alright tee-to-green, but excellent around the greens. He does a fantastic job avoiding the big number, and that keeps him in a lot of tournaments.
Danny Lee $7600
I have a working theory… Play Danny Lee at “bomber’s courses.” He tends to go overlooked at these events, as he ranks 144th on tour in driving distance at just under 285 yards. However, his tee-to-green game is strong and he holds his own on par 5s. I’m not saying he goes out and dominates these longer tracks, rather it’s a set of circumstances of which to take advantage.
Graham DeLaet $7400
Trust me, I was as surprised as you are when his name popped in my process. DeLaet is a great ball striker and birdie-maker at a reasonable price. He also kills it from 125-150 yards. Three top-15s in his last four events. No course history, but worth a flier IMO.
Luke List $6900
Luke List is becoming a staple of my fantasy lineups on a weekly basis. He missed the cut on the number last week, but I forgive him. List has five top-30s in his last eight events. Not bad for a sub-$7k golfer. He’s well above average in terms of SGT2G and par 5 scoring, and he averages 305.5 yards off the tee.
Will Wilcox $6600
Wilcox has been playing much better golf of late (T-33 @ RBC Heritage, T-15 @ Zurich), and you have to think he’s going to improve on that 0.01 SGT2G number going forward. This is more of a prospective pick than one based in recent statistics. He finished T-57th here in 2014.
Lucas Glover $6300
The Lucas Glover renaissance continues… He’s become a favorite of sharps for a couple of reasons:
- His SGP number is the best it’s been in years. Glover has always been an elite ball striker, but his putting had deteriorated to the point where he just became unplayable in DFS. That’s no longer the case.
- Despite his routine bottom of the barrel pricing, he gains nearly a full stroke on the field tee-to-green.
- He’s made each of his last four cuts and 10/15 overall on the season.
For our purposes this week, Glover has also scored an average of +22.8 DK points above field average in his last 10 Wells Fargo starts; a number which includes a WIN, 2nd, and 4th.
Roberto Castro $5900
Castro has played this event three times before, made two cuts, and has an 8th place finish to his credit. His SGT2G number is good (0.87), his SGP number is bad (-0.54), and he ranks near middle of the pack in the other key areas. At $5900, I think his combination of course history and SGT2G more than justifies a play.
David Toms $5700
Toms is an excellent value at $5700, and spending down this far really opens up the top-end of your roster. I don’t think a top-20 finish is out of the question here. Much like Castro, he offers a nice combo of course history and SGT2G (0.82). Toms is 5/6 in cuts made at Quail Hollow (his lone miss was on the number in 2010), has four top-25 finishes, and has averaged +16 DK points against the field per start. He’s also made each of his last four cuts and 7/10 overall this season.
Tyler Aldridge $5500
If you don’t have the extra $200 for Toms, I’m okay taking a shot on Aldridge. The recent Web.com grad finished T-14 at the Heritage and T-36 at Zurich last week. His SGT2G number is… sub-optimal (-0.12), but he makes up for it with solid putting, accuracy on approach shots, and scrambling. If you’re looking to get Rory + another top-end guy in your lineup, you could do worse.