This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Wells Fargo Championship
Quail Hollow Club (7,554 yards, par-71)
$1,422,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Following Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer's collective victory at the Zurich Classic last week, the PGA Tour schedule really starts to heat up as the month of May commences with the Wells Fargo Championship and concludes with the Memorial Tournament, while the PGA Championship now falls somewhere in between. As a result of the upcoming chaos, Quail Hollow is set to play host to a weaker field than we've seen in years past as just 35 of the top-100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are slated to make the trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the more disappointing absences includes that of Masters champion Tiger Woods, electing to spend additional time basking in his fifth green jacket before heading to Bethpage Black in a couple weeks. The weather forecast for the next several days at Quail Hollow appears rather benign with the only significant chance of precipitation coming late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning.
Recent Past Champions
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Putting inside 10 feet
Driving distance is the name of the game at Quail Hollow this week as 10 holes measure longer than 450 yards, while a trio of par-3s come in at 210 or more yards to place even more of an emphasis on power. The Wells Fargo Championship was one of the most difficult non-majors last season, so don't expect lofty GIR percentages or elite proximity numbers as the event won't become a birdie fest by any means. Nonetheless, there are a couple shrimpy par-4s and reachable par-5s that will certainly cede par-breaker chances. Otherwise, putting from inside 10 feet on these bermuda greens is paramount in order to stay afloat. Jason Day couldn't hit a green in regulation to save his life here in 2018, but he won by scrambling proficiently and making nearly everything from short range on the dance floor.
FanDuel Value Picks
Rory McIlroy, $12,500 - Leading the PGA Tour in a handful of statistical categories such as SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Tee-to-Green and holes per eagle, McIlroy heads to Quail Hollow as the clear betting favorite once again with six top-10s and a pair of wins already under his belt at the venue. He's gained a ridiculous average of 10.1 strokes tee-to-green over his last five measurable starts, a stretch that included results of Win-T6-2-T4-T5 from the PLAYERS Championship to the Farmers Insurance Open. McIlroy averaged over 340 yards off the tee at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship when he finished second in driving distance, and he'll continue to nuke it this week while compiling additional scoring chances on the par-5s.
Jason Day, $11,800 - The defending champion relied on a scorching hot putter to reach the winner's circle last year as he hit a measly 41 greens in regulation, so regression could very well be in the forecast if ball-striking mediocrity continues. Day has gained an average of just one stroke tee-to-green over his last 10 tournaments, though he rebounded from a missed cut at the Valspar Championship by tying for fifth at Augusta National. The Aussie ranks top-5 on Tour in both SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Putting, but he's fallen to 193rd in proximity.
Rickie Fowler, $11,600 - Having picked up his first career PGA Tour victory at the Wells Fargo Championship seven years ago in a three-man playoff over McIlroy and D.A. Points, Fowler still rides the wave of positivity whenever he returns to Quail Hollow as evidenced by four top-6 finishes in eight career appearances. He's one of the best putters in the world, but Fowler has also gained strokes on approach shots in four consecutive measurable starts dating back to when he earned runner-up honors at the Honda Classic. The 5-foot-9 Oklahoma State product is sneaky long as well, currently ranking 29th on Tour in driving distance.
Webb Simpson, $10,800 - Home sweet home for this Charlotte resident and Quail Hollow member, though Simpson owns just two top-10s in 11 tournament appearances at the private club. Nonetheless, he's coming off finishes of T16-T6 in his last two starts at the RBC Heritage and the Masters, impressively gaining 7.6 strokes tee-to-green at Harbour Town. Over his past 36 rounds, Simpson ranks fourth among this week's field in SG: Around-the-Green and fifth in SG: Approach.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Jhonattan Vegas, $9,500 - Up to third among his peers in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 24 rounds, Vegas is finding success with the driver as he ranks 23rd on Tour in driving distance this season. He's also 32nd in SG: Around-the-Green and 21st in scrambling, however, so he's not just a one-trick pony. Vegas has finished T30 or better in five consecutive starts from the Honda Classic through the Valero Texas Open and made the cut in each of his last three Wells Fargo showings.
Zach Johnson, $9,400 - He might not fit the mold as a potential champion here due to his lack of power off the tee, but Johnson can be exceptional around the greens and he makes for a quality cash-game play as a result. Par will be an acceptable score more often than not on this difficult track, but Johnson has also snuck up to 52nd on Tour in par-5 scoring. He's made the cut in nine of 12 career appearances at Quail Hollow, highlighted by a T6 in 2011.
Aaron Wise, $8,500 - Wise strolled to four scores of 70 or better en route to a T2 during his Quail Hollow debut in 2018, notching a tournament-best 19 birdies in the process as he tied for third in putting average. He's finally rounding back into form with top-20s at the Masters and WGC-Mexico after a slow start to 2019 that included three straight missed cuts from the Desert Classic through the Genesis Open. On the season, Wise ranks 24th in driving distance, eighth in birdie average and first in par-3 scoring.
Sam Burns, $8,500 - With top-30s in each of his past four starts dating to the Valspar Championship, Burns' solid recent form makes him a trendy sleeper pick, particularly because he made the cut in his Quail Hollow debut last year. Over his last 12 rounds, Burns ranks second in SG: Putting and 12th in SG: Off-the-Tee, which makes for quite an intriguing combination in Charlotte. He's currently 18th on Tour in driving distance and 27th in club head speed, so look for Burns to swing away with driver this week.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
Paying up for McIlroy at the top of the board isn't too much of a hindrance with more than enough value options in the sub-$10k range, and Rory rates out much better than Justin Rose or Jason Day, so the Irishman should remain popular at such an expensive price. A couple blatant fades for shiny young names include Cameron Champ and Joaquin Niemann at $9,700. Casual gamers might lean toward Champ for his power off the tee at a venue like Quail Hollow, but he's been horrible since mid-February and has bothered by a minor back injury as well. We're still waiting for Niemann to pop off one of these weeks, but the talented 20-year-old missed back-to-back cuts at the Corales Championship and Valero Texas Open. He failed to capitalize against a weak field at the Chile Open back home on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica in his most recent start, falling to the likes of John Somers and Alex Weiss (who??).