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The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, North Carolina this week as golfers play the Wells Fargo Championship from Quail Hollow Golf Club. Quail Hollow is a 7,575 yard par 72 course with four par 3s and four par 5s. It is a lengthy course best known for its closing three hole stretch nicknamed The Green Mile. This is one of the toughest closing stretches on Tour and no lead is safe on Sunday going into 16, 17, and 18. The 16th hole is a 508 yard par 4, the 17th is a 221 yard par 3, and the 18th is a 493 yard par 4. That’s three very long holes and the nickname is quite appropriate. If golfers play those holes at even par, they deserve a pat on the back and might be holding the trophy at the end of the week. You really notice the length of the course when you see the yardages of where most approach shots are hit from. Since 2005 over 55% of all approaches have come from 175 yards or more. Off the tee golfers will see narrow tree lined fairways that are some of the hardest to hit on Tour with an occasional fairway bunker and water only on a few holes. Less than 50% of fairways have been hit by golfers since this tournament began here in the early 2000s but since the trees aren’t that bunched up and there aren’t too many bunkers or water off the tee, missing fairways won’t kill golfers chances this week. The rough is thick, so when golfers miss the fairway, hitting it long can be helpful since it is much easier to hit a shorter iron to the green out of thick rough.
Accuracy off the tee seems less important here as seen by JB Holmes winning in 2014 with only 26/56 fairways hit. I wouldn’t avoid shorter hitters all together though. If they have good GIR stats and can putt well, shorter hitters could be worth using. Another aspect off the tee for golfers to face is a lot of right to left doglegs, which could favor golfers who hit a natural draw. On approach shots golfers will be hitting into greens that are average in size with multi tiers and massive undulation. Bunkers surround some greens and water is in play on a couple of approach shots as well. After having some problems with the green’s upkeep the course switched to Bermudagrass greens a few years ago. These are very difficult greens to putt on. Over the years this course has consistently had the lowest make percentages in putts inside of ten feet. Even though I don’t mention it on my key stats, looking at good putters inside of ten feet might be a good play this week. The weather looks great in Charlotte for the tournament, which is wonderful news after the weather debacle we just witnessed at the Zurich Classic but it looks like it will be quite chilly early Thursday morning which could make the course play even longer for the unlucky ones in the AM/PM wave. As usual, check the forecast right before the tournament starts to see if a specific wave will have an advantage.
Looking at the course description above and trends for the course the last few years, a few key stats come to mind. I will be using these stats, current form, and course history to select golfers for my DraftKings lineups this week.
Key Stats For The Course
***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P) which is a key stat almost every week.
Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G):
Quail Hollow is a very tough test for the golfers this week and on difficult courses I like looking at SG:T2G more than I would on other weeks. Since 2005 24/32 golfers with registered stats that finished in the Top 3 were inside the Top 54 in SG:T2G for that specific year. 29/32 golfers that finished Top 3 were inside the Top 75 in SG:T2G for that specific year as well.
Par 5 Scoring (P5) AND Par 4 Scoring (P4):
The par 5s are reachable in two for most golfers, so they will need to take advantage of the par 5s to contend. 22/32 golfers that finished in the Top 3 since 2005 were ranked inside the Top 40 in this stat for the specific year they finished Top 3. Playing par 5s well is important on most courses with lengthy/difficult par 4s but I was surprised to see how the trends showed that par 4 scoring was almost equally important. 22/32 golfers that finished Top 3 since 2005 were ranked inside the Top 48 in P4 for that specific year.
Driving Distance (DD):
The course is long. Hitting the ball far will be helpful. Not only will DD help golfers reach the par 5s in two, but distance will also help when golfers are facing the par 4s that are close to 500 yards long. 10 out of the 11 past winners at this event were inside the Top 65 in DD for that specific year.
Since over 50% of tee shots miss the fairway, golfers could have a tough time landing on these tricky greens from the rough. Greens will be missed and how a golfer fares in getting it up and down will be important.
High End Picks ($9000 and up)
Rickie Fowler ($10,900)- GPP and cash
Justin Rose ($10,000)- GPP only
Patrick Reed ($9,700)- GPP and cash
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300)- GPP and cash
JB Holmes ($9,100)- GPP and cash
Mid Level Golfers ($7000-$8900)
Paul Casey ($8,900)- GPP only
Byeong Hun An ($8,600)- GPP only
Daniel Berger ($8,400)- GPP only
Charles Howell III ($8,100)- GPP and cash
Kevin Chappell ($7,900)- GPP and cash
Gary Woodland ($7,800)- GPP and cash
Patton Kizzire ($7,700)- GPP and cash
Patrick Rodgers ($7,700)- GPP only
Tony Finau ($7,600)- GPP only
Luke Donald ($7,300)- GPP only
Low End Value Picks ($5300-$6900)
Luke List ($6,900)- GPP only
Harold Varner III ($6,900)- GPP and cash
Will Wilcox ($6,600)- GPP only
Jhonnathan Vegas ($6,400)- GPP only
Lucas Glover ($6,300)- GPP and cash
Retief Goosen ($6,200)- GPP and cash
Brendon de Jonge ($5,900)- GPP only
Roberto Castro ($5,900)- GPP only
Davis Love III ($5,500)- GPP and cash
Vijay Singh ($5,300)- GPP only
That’s it for this week. For more PGA DFS knowledge check out my Podcast. It’s called Fantasy Golf Degenerates and you can find it on iTunes. I will also be co-hosting a web chat on Slurv.com every Tuesday at 1pm EST so if you have questions you can ask me there. You can also follow me on Twitter @KendoVT_DFS for more fantasy golf info! Good luck to everyone this week and hopefully you win big!