Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Wells Fargo Championship
An absolutely loaded field arrives at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. Last week, Sam Burns earned his first career win at the Valspar Championship. The top 2 players in the world, another top 10 player, and four more in the top 20-25 golfers in the world teed it up at the Copperhead Course, all in all a solid field. Quail Hollow, on the other hand, will host 10 of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
A full field is led by Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, where one of the PGA Tour's toughest tests awaits. The 7,521-yard par 71 demands excellence across the board, and it's no surprise Quail Hollow was tabbed to host the PGA Championship in 2017, a rarity for a regular rotation course to get the call up. A well-rounded game is required here, one of the longest courses on Tour that also features some of its narrowest fairways.
When looking back at prior seasons, note that 2017's Wells Fargo was played at Eagle Point Golf Club, and for performance at Quail Hollow we should be looking to the year's final major.
Some early week showers could soften the course a bit, but for now the playing conditions look beautiful, with sun and some clouds expected along with steady winds. The course should dry up throughout the tournament and could play completely different on Sunday than in the early rounds.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Quail Hollow Club
Distance: 7,521 yards
Fairways/Rough: Celebration Bermudagrass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis
Quail Hollow features some of the longest par 4s on Tour, with 9 of the 11 measuring 449 yards or longer and four playable to 500 yards or so depending on the pin. With challenging par 4s, the pressure to score on the three par 5s becomes even greater than normal. The 577-yard 15th is the final chance to make a move, as the brutal closing stretch -- aptly nicknamed The Green Mile -- is composed of a 506-yard par 4, a 190-yard par 3, and a 494-yard par 4.
For courses that require elite ballstriking, we can point to the South Course at Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open and this year's U.S. Open), Riviera Country Club (The Genesis Invitational), and Augusta National (The Masters). Given these comps, it's no surprise Quail Hollow got the major championship upgrade in 2017 and will rightly make it an indicator for the upcoming PGA Championship at the Kiawah Island Resort's Ocean Course.
Max Homa's win at the Genesis earlier this year give us a recent overlap at Riviera, and that he was in the mix this past weekend at the Valspar Championship points us to the Copperhead Course as a potential comparison. Like Quail Hollow, Innisbrook features narrow fairways that force either approaches from the rough or a longer second shot after clubbing down to keep it in play off the tee.
These stats have proven vital to success in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
|Key Stats for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club|
|Strokes Gained: Off The Tee|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained from 200+ yards|
Much of this is covered above but bears repeating -- we need our golfers to be able to do it all, and that starts with ballstriking. Strokes gained: off the tee captures total performance, and while we would favor distance over accuracy if pressed, the fact is we need a bit of both.
Approach play is more straightforward, and especially from long range the difference between a birdie putt and a dicey chip can sometimes be a matter of just a couple yards. To that end, we add proximity from 200 yards and beyond, a range that captures at least two of the par 3s, and sometimes the 17th depending on tee and pin placement.
The long par 3s and par 4s makes performance on the three par 5 birdie opportunities all the more important. Each of the past four champions ended the week inside the top five in strokes gained on par 5s, and Thomas was 12th in his PGA victory.
Course History Studs
Rory McIlroy is a two-time champion at Quail Hollow, having won in 2015 and 2010. He missed the cut in his title defense in 2011, but since then he has six top 10s in seven tries, with the other result being a T16.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in 2019, but prior to that had 12 top-12s in 16 appearances. Recent finishes starting in 2018 are 5th, 18th, 4th, and 4th. His best is far behind him, but as he showed at Augusta National, he can still hang around at courses he's familiar with.
Rickie Fowler won here in 2012, and in his last three appearances, he's finished 4th in 2019, 21st in 2018, and 4th in 2016. He was fifth at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017.
Further down the board, Pat Perez was 8th in 2019, 28th at the 2017 PGA Championship, and 20th in 2015. Vaughn Taylor was 13th in 2019, 42nd in 2018, 35th in 2016, and 10th in 2013. And finally, Robert Streb missed the cut in 2019 but before that was 42nd in 2018, 22nd at the PGA in 2017, 28th in 2016, 4th in 2015, and 23rd in 2014.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.