Wells Fargo Championship Predictions
When: May 5-8, 2016
Where: Quail Hollow Golf Club – Charlotte, NC
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
Most of the current PGA news seems to revolve around Tiger Woods’ practice rounds and his paperwork fillings. That could lead you to believe that there is not much happening in the world of golf but that really isn’t the case as we head into the Wells Fargo Championship. We come off a soggy and short finish to the Zurich and head to Charlotte where a strong field is ready to battle it out at Quail Hollow. Rory McIlroy is set to defend his 2015 Fargo crown against several of the top-15 in the world, including Quail Hollow member Phil Mickelson. Jim Furyk has progressed enough from his fall wrist surgery so he will be making his 2016 debut and we again get to see Bryson DeChambeau tee it up as a pro.
The Players Championship is just a week away and the U.S. Open is looming on the horizon so getting right is on everyone’s list of things to do. Quail Hollow has PGA roots dating back to the 1960’s but has been part of the modern Tour since 2003. The 7,575 yard, par-72 course will host the PGA Championship next season and the President’s Cup in 2021 so the Charlotte area gem has gained high esteem since being reintroduced to the rotation. American players have won most of the Wells Fargo Championships with Vijay Singh and Rory the only foreign-born champs. McIlroy is the only two-time winner here and while scores are routinely in the teens under par, only one occasion saw a player record four rounds in the sixties.
The layout winds its way through a natural landscape and players will face tree-lined fairways on just about every hole. Number 10 is the only hole that is legitimately straight away with all other requiring some kind of dog-leg shot management. There aren’t a ton of bunkers here but the ones that are present are definitely well-placed and gobble up errant tee balls and approaches. The final three holes are referred to as the “Green Mile” with some conjecture that they are the hardest final three on Tour. The raw distance of this course sets up the longer players at a bit of an advantage but the winner will have had a solid all-around week as Quail Hollow is a top-to-bottom test of all skills.
Each week, we take a look at the 5Dimes Sportsbook and highlight the best bets available. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches. Here are our picks to win the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship!
Patrick Reed (22 to 1 odds to win)
Of those players without a win this season, I doubt anyone has had a better go than Reed. In his 13 starts, he has made the weekend on 12 occasions and has been inside the top-10 eight times. He has two runner-up finishes, including the Valero so he is consistently contended but is still looking for that win. Given the demands of Quail Hollow, you want a player that can be long off the tee and pretty straight as well and Reed clocks in at 37th in total driving. He is accurate enough to navigate the layout but also long enough to take advantage of the scoring chances on the par-5’s. While he has not made a ton of birdies, he has putted well, especially on the par-saves, ranking 5th in scrambling. He is 3rd in overall putting average so he will gain strokes on the field if his tee-to-green game is in shape.
Paul Casey (40 to 1)
If you watched the Masters, you saw Casey at his near-best as he hit quality shot after quality shot and wound up tied for fourth. That high-end play is well within his week-to-week game and he is well-suited for this course. Casey is 12th in total driving, 8th in ballstriking and nets the 15th best scoring average. His nemesis has been the putter where he ranks outside the top-125 but that has led to poor play for him, rather bout of average play that leave him outside of contention. Quail Hollow will reward his strong driving and iron game so his relative lack of putting prowess will be muted to some extent. An average week from Casey should produce a top-20 here but I expect another week like he had at Augusta and we should see him push onto that front page come the weekend.
Gary Woodland (60 to 1)
I really don’t like betting one trick ponies but if you are going to hit a longshot, at least bet one that is matched with the course. Nothing about the 7,500+ yards at Quail Hollow will scare the longest driver on Tour and even his rather ugly fairways hit percentage won’t hurt him too badly here. Gary nets the 31st best greens hit mark after those bombed drives and he leads to Tour in birdies or better on holes where players can reach the greens under regulation which basically amounts to the par-5’s. He will have to have a good week in saving pars and making clutch birdies but he will have more scoring chances than a good portion of the field, maybe he can turn that into a big win.
Picks to win matches based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check with Bovada Sportsbook (50% bonus and credit cards work there!) for single round matches and prop bets.
Justin Rose v. Adam Scott (pick to win: Rose)
There are plenty of big names in the field this week and these two will certainly find themselves up against each other and most of the rest of the top-end players. I like Rose here as he has kept up with Scott’s Tour-leading scoring pace despite not putting nearly as well. Scott has been a little more mistake prone off the tee than Rose and while pretty intangible, Rose has been better when grinding than Scott has been when not hitting on all cylinders. Both players will likely see solid results this week but I look for Rose to have an advantage based on a little more consistency through the season, even though Scott does have a bit higher gear when he is right on.
Bill Haas v. Charles Howell III (pick to win: Howell III)
Haas is at a bit of an immediate disadvantage here in that he is outside the top-160 in driving distance while Howell is inside the top-20. There are plenty of courses where that wouldn’t be an issue but that matter at Quail Hollow and Howell’s distance advantage will give him more looks at birdie this week. Haas is surely the more accurate player of the two but both men hit about the same amount of greens and are roughly equal in the overall ballstriking as well. Unless you are predicting a week where Howell can’t keep it out of the trees, eventually Charles is going to use his length and edge in putting performance to outscore Haas.
Good luck and good golf!
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