Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Wells Fargo Championship
The PGA Tour returns to its traditional format this weekend with the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the past few years, Quail Hollow has earned a rightful reputation as one of the hardest venues in golf, as the 7,554-yard par 71 features narrow fairways, fast greens, and heavy rough.
Length is the name of the game this week, as drivers off the tee and long irons on approach are required on almost hole. The famous closing stretch, aptly nicknamed The Green Mile, features a 506-yard par 4, a 223-yard par 3, and a 494-yard par 4.
Even before it was supercharged up to host the 2017 PGA Championship, Quail Hollow had played like a major championship course. Well rounded, complete players are the way to go here, and a hot putter is incredibly important and incredibly hard to predict. What fun!
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: 7,554 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Celebration Bermudagrass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivialis
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
*In 2017, Quail Hollow was the host of the PGA Championship, not the Wells Fargo. For comparison purposes, this table lists the course history, not event history.
This course is a mammoth that requires an accurate driver, long approaches, and - especially since the redesign - a solid short game. Quail Hollow is the second longest course the Tour will face this year, with only the South Course at Torrey Pines measuring longer. Golfers in the Farmers Insurance Open only play three of their rounds at the South Course, so technically this is the longest event of the season.
Like Torrey Pines, Quail Hollow features some of the narrowest fairways on Tour. Last year, the South Course had the lowest driving accuracy percentage, and Quail Hollow was the sixth lowest. Much of that is due to the necessity to pull driver off the tee. It's no surprise to see success at Farmers correlated to success at Quail Hollow - Jason Day pulled off the double dip with victories at both events last year.
Both ballstrikers and short game specialists have contended and won here, as well as a few really random winners. The 2016 champion James Hahn is out there far enough, but how about 2013 winner Derek Ernst, who has just four finishes better than 30th in the six years since his victory here? That said, the bump in difficulty after the course was beefed up for the PGA Championship certainly makes it unlikely that such an out-of-the-blue winner will emerge.
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: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (450-500)|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
It is essential to have a solid all around game to find success at Quail Hollow. Distance off the tee is a must, but Day's win last year and the sustained success for scramblers like Webb Simpson (see below) make it clear that off the tee, approach, and around the green are all ingredients in the winning recipe here. Strokes gained: tee to green captures all of those metrics. Approach is still king, though, and giving extra weight to golfers who knock it close from long range (175 yards and longer) is a good idea given how long the par 4s and par 5s are.
Rather than focus on proximity stats, it makes sense to look to opportunities gained. Quail Hollow had the 10th lowest greens in regulation percentage on Tour last year, and it ranked no higher than 12th in GIR percentage from 2014-2016. Proximity is still important, but as opportunities gained includes all birdie chances within 15 feet, it accounts for the most valuable of those approaches already.
Five of the par 4s fall in the key range of 450-500 yards, including four of the six hardest holes on the course and two thirds of the Green Mile. Gaining strokes on these holes is a clear path to contention, and sure enough four of the five biggest gainers last year finished in the top 10.
While gaining on the hardest holes helps, keeping pace or gaining on the field on the easiest holes is also crucial at Quail Hollow. Strokes gained on par 5s, especially long par 5s, helps to highlight birdie makers and long hitters.
Course History Studs
Rory McIlroy leads the way as the only multiple winner at the Wells Fargo, having earned the title in 2015 and 2010. He missed the cut on 2011, but besides that blip, he has finished T16 or better every year since that first win.
Phil Mickelson has 12 top-12s and has played this event 16 out of the last 17 years. He has never won but has three top 5s in the last four years.
Justin Rose doesn't play here often, but when he does he delivers the goods. He finished T28 in 2011, 5th in 2014, and 3rd in 2016.
Simpson, on the other hand, plays here every year. He’s a Carolina native and has two top 5s here since 2012. He finished T21 here last year.
Robert Streb and Roberto Castro are not household names, but they each have solid history at this event. Streb has made five consecutive cuts with a T4 finish in 2015 thrown in and a T22 at the 2017 PGA. Castro has two top-10s in his last three appearances dating back to 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.