This week allows us to analyze a lot of historical data, with Quail Hollow Club hosting the Wells Fargo Championship every year except 2017, when the event was moved to Eagle Point with the 2017 PGA at Quail. Of course, there were significant renovations at Quail Hollow before that PGA, so there are some differences in a few holes—but mostly, this is the same venue we’ve seen in the past.
The data tells us that Quail Hollow rewards players who hit it far and straight, as the par-71 layout (only three par 5s) can be stretched out to about 7,600 yards. The course key stats model that I run each week at RickRunGood.com favors strokes gained/off the tee as the most important stat at Quail Hollow. In fact, there are only four other courses in which SG/off the tee is more important.
There will be plenty of bombers teeing it up this week, including Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. The scuffling Rory McIlroy will look to “get right” at Quail Hollow, where he holds the tournament scoring record and is the only two-time winner of this event.
Here are my favorite plays (and fades) in each price range for the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship.
Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
The range of outcomes for DeChambeau is probably the widest of any top player on the PGA Tour and that is by design. He’s willing to embrace risk to unlock rewards, which means there will be plenty of wins to off-set his disappointing finishes. Quail Hollow is a big course that will certainly benefit those who have length off the tee, and nobody has length like Bryson. He finished fourth in his last trip to this event in 2018.
Safest Option: Jon Rahm ($10,800 DraftKings | $12,100 FanDuel)
It’s a testament to Rahm’s greatness that we don’t really talk about the unbelievable stretch of golf he is on right now. Over his last 10 events, he has eight top-10 finishes but doesn’t have a win in that span. Without a victory, few have been giving Rahm the credit he deserves for being one of the consistently great players. He’s seemingly a lock to finish inside the top 10 each week, and Quail Hollow should be an excellent fit for the No. 3 player in the world.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Patrick Reed ($9,300 DraftKings | $10,900 FanDuel)
I’m not really worried about Reed’s missed cut last week, but more concerned with how Quail Hollow will set up for him. He possesses the desired shot shape but lacks the distance to take advantage of that shot. He’s played at Quail Hollow six times in his career and has never missed a cut but only has one finish inside the top 25.
Pick To Win: Justin Thomas ($11,300 DraftKings | $12,300 FanDuel)
Justin Thomas is a very on-brand golfer. He’s going to be one of the best players from tee to green on a weekly basis and sometimes the putter will not cooperate. That’s exactly what happened in his T-13 finish last week at the Valspar Championship. He gained 13.19 strokes from tee to green (best in the field) but lost 6.45 strokes putting (third-worst of any player to miss the cut). This isn’t really unusual for Thomas, who has had these terrible putting weeks before. The good news is that he is usually quick to bounce back. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Thomas has lost at least five strokes putting twice in the past year. Each time, he was a positive putter in his next start and, each time, he won an event within three starts.
$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Jason Day ($8,600 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel)
Day certainly lacks consistency at this point in his career, but his positive attributes offer upside. He’s gained strokes off the tee in four of his past five stroke-play events, which included a seventh-place finish at Pebble Beach. He still flashes a brilliant short game at times, and he won here in 2018. I certainly wouldn’t consider him safe, but he’s capable of popping.
Safest Option: Cameron Tringale ($8,400 DraftKings | $10,100 FanDuel)
It was another great finish for Tringale at the Valspar, a T-3 that marks his third consecutive finish of 13th or better in stroke-play events. Outside of the team event, he has missed only one cut in his past 12 starts, and he’s been piling up top 20s along the way. His playing style is the reason he’s earned such a high floor. Per the RickRunGood.com database, he’s gained strokes in ball-striking (off-the-tee plus approach) in 13 straight starts. That’s the solid foundation for him to be in contention on a near weekly basis.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Brian Harman ($8,700 DraftKings |$10,300 FanDuel)
Let me be clear: I really like Harman this week considering he enters with four consecutive top-15 finishes, but I think many will incorrectly interrupt his record at this event. Technically, Harman won this event in 2017, but it was the only year where it was played at Eagle Point when Quail Hollow was used for the PGA Championship. When you look at Harman’s Quail Hollow history, it shows seven starts. His best finish was a T-10 in 2013, and he also earned a T-24 in 2019. Outside of those, it’s a bunch of middling results. You might still like Harman this week, but just be sure you’re clear that he did not hoist a trophy on the 18th at Quail Hollow.
Pick To Win: Keegan Bradley ($8,500 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)
Most will look at Bradley’s Sunday performance and label it a disappointment, but I don’t agree with that at all. He missed a few short putts, but that’s exactly what Bradley does. He was second in the field in SG/tee to green last week and has gained strokes putting in four of his past five measured events. That’s the blueprint for Bradley to contend often.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Cameron Davis ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)
On paper, Quail Hollow should allow Davis to embrace his best weapon: the driver. He’s a top-15 player on tour in driving distance and SG/off the tee. His results have been erratic recently, thanks to a leaky short game, but he’s been showing signs of plugging those leaks. This would be a good spot for him to “get right.”
Safest Option: Stewart Cink ($7,900 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)
I’m not sure what else there is to say about Cink, who has already won twice this year, tied for the most wins with DeChambeau. He’s gained a total of 17.92 strokes on approach in his past three starts, per the RickRunGood.com database. He’s longer than you’d expect off the tee, currently 27th on tour. He’s in a great place with his game right now, and there’s not much reason to think that stops anytime soon.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Zach Johnson ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,400 FanDuel)
Johnson kept his name near the top of the leader board for a while at the Valspar before fading to a T-29. While he has had some decent finishes recently, I’m really worried with the sustainability of those results. Per the RickRunGood.com database, he has lost strokes from tee to green in nine of his past 10 starts. In short, he’s relying heavily on a scorching hot putter. Combine that with a long course, and it would take quite the week for Johnson to contend.
Pick To Win: Matt Jones ($7,400 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
Many will attribute Jones’ great metrics to his win at the Honda Classic, which isn’t entirely true. He’s made the cut in 13 of his past 14 stroke-play events, including a T-26 at the Masters. Since the start of 2021, he’s gaining strokes in every major strokes-gained category, which helps illustrate how solid his game has been.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: Phil Mickelson ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,600 FanDuel)
Mickelson missed the cut on the number last week, but still seems to be trending in the right direction. He’s gained strokes on approach in five straight events and has been a net positive off the tee in those same starts. His putter has let him down recently but if he can summon the Mickelson short-game magic, he can contend.
Safest Option: Vincent Whaley ($6,400 DraftKings | $7,000 FanDuel)
Safety doesn’t usually attach itself to this price tag, but Whaley has made the weekend in five straight events. Even more impressive, all five of those finishes have been between T-28 and T-36. He doesn’t have one strength that he relies on but also doesn’t have one main flaw either.
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Most Likely To Disappoint: James Hahn ($6,800 DraftKings |$8,500 FanDuel)
Hahn won this event in 2016, outlasting Roberto Castro in a playoff. More recently, Hahn has missed three consecutive cuts and also crumbled when he took the Sunday lead at the Phoenix Open earlier this year. There’s not much pointing in his favor outside of his victory five years ago.
Pick To Win: Tom Lewis ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel)
Lewis is seasoned and playing well, a solid combination. He’s made the cut in six straight events and also earned a top 10 with Thomas Pieters at the Zurich Classic. This will be his first trip to Quail Hollow, which is intriguing for Lewis, whose best weapon is his driver.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.