The Wells Fargo Championship 2023
The PGA Tour heads north from Mexico to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship – an event that has been around since 2003. We have a full field of 156 players in action this week, and the top 65 players plus ties after round 2 will move on to play round 3 on Saturday and round 4 on Sunday.
There’s $20M to be won this week, the winner takes home a ridiculous $3.6M, and also banks 500 FedEx Cup points. Quail Hollow Club is 7,160 yards in length, is a par 70, and the greens are Bermudagrass and overseeded with poa. The average winning score at this tournament over the last ten years is -13.4, so the course is more challenging than the average PGA Tour track. The record at this tournament is -21 and it occurred just two years ago when Rory McIlroy beat Abraham Ancer by an incredible 7 strokes. In order, some core key stats to focus on this week include strokes gained: off the tee, strokes gained: tee to green, strokes gained: approach, driving distance, and strokes gained: around the green.
Three questions that are relevant to the Wells Fargo Championship this week:
- Strokes gained: off the tee is the most important key stat this week, so which 10 players have fared the best off the tee over their last 24 rounds? Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Hayden Buckley, Gary Woodland, Luke List, Cameron Young, Sungjae Im, Tyrrell Hatton, and Cameron Davis.
- Which 10 players gained the most strokes total (minimum 8 rounds) at this event since 2018? Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Jason Day, Emiliano Grillo, Nick Watney, Keith Mitchell, Joel Dahmen, Rickie Fowler, Lanto Griffin, and Keegan Bradley.
- What’s my top calculated bet for the week (the goal here is to at least double the wager)? Given Rory has three straight top 8’s here, three wins, and can dominate at any point in time, I like McIlroy to finish top 10 this week at -105 which almost doubles your money – close enough.
Below you will find players that I will bet, might bet, and five random bets that interest me. The odds come from DraftKings Sportsbook and are outright numbers. My betting strategy is to hedge quite a bit so my upside isn’t huge but neither is my downside, and I’m profitable or break even in roughly 70% of the weeks I’m active.
5 Players That I’m Absolutely Betting
Rory McIlroy (+700) – Rory has already won here three times and I can see him being right in contention to make it four wins at this venue. He has two top 3’s in his last four starts, two wins in his last nine starts across the globe, and I really like that he’s a very strong ball-striker and can ride a hot putter anytime he’s active. He also holds the tournament record and the course record, so everything is pointing in McIlroy’s direction this week. I like him to win, to finish top 5, and top 10.
Cameron Young (+1800) – He finished co-runner-up here last year in his first look, had a runner-up three starts ago at the match play event, earned a T7 at The Masters last month, and is on the verge of really breaking through on the PGA Tour. I think betting him to win wouldn’t be a crazy thing to do, and you can hedge against that with a top 5, top 10, or even a top 20 will more than double your wager at +110.
Jordan Spieth (+1800) – Spieth is sizzling now with four top 4’s over his last six starts and he had a T6 at the Phoenix Open eight starts ago, so he’s in mighty fine form and should be in the hunt again this week given his outstanding approach play. I think you can bet Spieth any way you’d like to this week, and even a top 20 at +105 will more than double your bet.
Rickie Fowler (+3500) – He broke through on this course in 2012 with his first PGA Tour win, and has been a big-time strokes gainer on this track over the years. He has seven top 25 finishes over his last ten starts, and has been gaining a lot of strokes total over his last 36 rounds. I like Fowler as a top 10 and top 20 bet this week, especially the latter at +175.
Hayden Buckley (+13000) – You may not know it, but Buckley is actually one of the better ball-strikers on the PGA Tour. He’s on a pretty good run right now with two top 10’s in his last two stroke-play starts including a T5 at the RBC Heritage in a similar field to this week’s. I think you can be aggressive with a top 20 bet this week given this course should be a great fit for him, and you can more than double your money even with a top 40 wager.
5 Players That I Might Bet
Jason Day (+2500) – Day won here by two strokes in 2018, and has been playing excellent golf since last Fall. Recently he has five top 10’s in his last seven starts, and his stats look really tight especially his short game. I feel pretty good about laying down a top 20 bet on Jason this week as he has three of those in his last five looks here, and may even consider a top 10 wager given he has been sound for a while and is comfortable here.
Max Homa (+2800) – He has missed his last two cut lines but he has played amazing here with a win in 2019 and he’s the defending champ from last year. He is going to get on another top 10 run soon and it could easily start this week. I think I feel confident in betting him to finish top 20, but don’t want to venture into top 10 territory given he has been cold recently. He should feel right at home this week though on a course he knows how to win on.
Dylan Wu (+35000) – Wu is a consistent player who makes cut lines, had a top 10 eight starts ago, and has two top 20’s in his last four starts. He’s a good ball-striker and he can likely make you some money this week – even a top 40 bet is sitting at +240 which I feel is quite generous. He had a T62 here a year ago and is a better player now, so he should be able to sneak into a top 40 position come Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay (+1200) – You got to like Cantlay’s high floor and ceiling as he has finished between 3rd to T19 over his last seven starts, and five of those have gone for top 9’s if you include the Zurich Classic. He has a solid game throughout, and should make some noise this week. I might bet him to win this week and hedge with a top 10, but I’m not going to sort that out until Wednesday evening.
Viktor Hovland (+1800) – Hovland is such a strong ball-striker, and when he gains with his short game he typically finishes top 10 or top 20. He has three top 10’s over his last four stroke-play starts including a T3 at THE PLAYERS Championship and he also had a T3 here two years ago gaining strokes across the board including 8.42 ball-striking. I’m looking at Viktor as an outright wager, top 10, and even top 20 since his DK odds are at +105.
5 Other Interesting Bets
Top 40 – Patrick Rodgers (+105) – He’s finding his legs now with two top 10’s in his last three starts including a 5th at the Valero Texas Open, and he has finished no worse than T19 during this stretch. He’s really ball-striking well at the moment, had consecutive top 30 finishes in 2018 and 2021, and even finished T2 in 2015. I like him as a top 40 bet this week and will likely pull the trigger on it before Thursday morning.
To Make the Cut Parlay – Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, and Cameron Young (+115) – These players all regularly make cut lines and all four of them could be in contention come Sunday evening. This bet is a no-brainer in my opinion.
To Make the Cut Parlay – Viktor Hovland, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Matt Kuchar (+185) – If you’re looking for another one of these bets then this one looks fairly attractive also. My only concern is Matt Kuchar missing the cut but he does have three straight top 19’s, so he should at least find his way into weekend play.
Nationality Props – Canadian – Taylor Pendrith (+450) – His big blasts off the tee should play well into his hands this week, and he’s coming off a T30 last week in Mexico gaining 4.31 strokes ball-striking and 1.78 putting. Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, and others could give him some trouble, but the +450 is too good to ignore.
Bogey Free Round – Round 1 – Rory McIlroy (+1000) – McIlroy has been lights out on this course, so I believe he can have a flawless round in either round 1 or round 2 – pick your poison, or bet both.
Be sure to do lots of research and due diligence on each player before parting with your hard-earned money, and all the best in having a profitable week!
Jeremy has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 successful years, and actively plays golf, hockey, baseball, and table tennis. He has over three years of fantasy sports writing experience – including writing a daily fantasy sports strategies and tools eBook in 2016. He is an active member of DraftKings – specializing in NHL and PGA contests over the past 5 years. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to hot places in the frigid Canadian Winters, binge-watching on Netflix, and starting and managing digital businesses.