Wells Fargo Championship Course Breakdown
Course: Quail Hollow Golf Course (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Yardage: 7,562 – Par 71
Purse : $7.7 M
Field: 156 players
Past Wells Fargo Champions
|2017||Brian Harman (Eagle Point GC)|
Wells Fargo Championship Preview
Before the week off from the DFS scene, as a result of the team formatted Zurich Classic (won by Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy), Andrew Landry beat out Trey Mullinax and Sean O’Hair by two strokes in the Valero Texas Open. In a tournament that saw all of the top-valued players underperform, Landry shot four rounds in the 60s with a final round 68 to win his first event on the PGA Tour. Landry, had his 15 minutes of fame as a Web.Com member, when he made the final group in the 2016 U.S Open at Oakmont. He predictably faded on Sunday, but Landry would go on to gain his PGA Tour card at the end of 2017. Now with his first PGA win, he is guaranteed to be a PGA member in 2019 and has a spot in next year’s Masters.
DFS golf contests resume this week with the Wells Fargo Championship. After taking a year off to host the PGA Championship, the tournament returns to its usual site at Quail Hollow Golf Club. The big boys are back, as many use this week to get ready for golf’s fifth major, the Players Championship. Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas headline the fairly star-studded field. Woods is making his first Tour start since the Masters, and Thomas will be returning to the course where he won his first major in 2017. Two-time Wells Fargo champion Rory McIlroy and 2012 champion Rickie Fowler both make their first start since narrowly missing out on a green jacket to Patrick Reed at Augusta. The newly minted green jacket winner will also be in attendance. The big names don’t stop there with Top 25 golfers Phil Mickelson, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman all choosing to play at the Charlotte Tour stop. This week will also see the return of the 2017 U.S Open Champion Brooks Koepka. After sitting out for three and a half months with a wrist injury, Koepka will have six weeks to get back in form and attempt to defend his first major at Shinnecock Hills.
Quail Hollow was held as a major last year after having a remodeling done between 2016-17. Previously, the course was a Par 72, but the renovations changed it into a Par 71. Before its first major appearance, scores could range from -8 to -21, the latter shot by McIlroy in 2015. The course goes with a no-rough approach. The lies are generally beautiful, fluffy, flier lies that jump off of the face of the club, going further than a shot would from the fairway. That means driving accuracy (hitting the fairway) is not as relevant as strokes gained: off-the-tee, and driving distance. With the ability to move tees around, the course plays between mid 7400s and 7600 yards, not short at all for a Par 71. Long par 3s inhabit the course with three of the four measuring over 200 yards. Finding players who are highly ranked in Par 3 scoring will be a big factor for success, as these Par 3s commonly yield double bogeys. If you look at the past winners, the trend leans closer to better ball-strikers than putters.
It’s tough to say whether the scores will be closer to the major-version of this course or the version before last year. Justin Thomas won with an 8-under score last year, which was tied for the highest (strokes) score since Quail Hollow joined the PGA Tour. The greens probably won’t be as fast as they were last August, so my guess is that that would make the winning score three or four strokes lower. Lastly, you should target players that can make birdies on the bulk of the 400-450 yarders this week (Birdie or better % on Par 4 400-450 yards). The players that have success here usually are making a few birdies on the longer Par 4s and are at least shooting around even on the Par 3s. Beating the Par 5s is a given, but with only three of them on the course now, I value Par 3 scoring more than Par 5 scoring.
Strokes gained: off-the-tee
Par 3 Scoring
Birdie or better % on Par 4 400-450 yards
Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Michael Thomas