Yahoo Fantasy Golf Contest Tournament Preview- Wells Fargo Championship

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 1, 2015 14:20

This week the PGA Tour heads to The Quail Hollow Club located in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow is a par 72 and measures 7,562 yards long and is the longest course on tour all season long. This tournament has been held here since 2003, though under different names. The final three holes of Quail Hollow have been nicknamed The Green Mile and are considered one of the toughest closing stretches of any course. There are four Par 3s and four Par 5s and as you would guess with a long course, a few of the Par 5s are extremely lengthy. Hole #5 measures 570 yards, #10 is 591 yards, and #15 is 566 yards. There are also several Par 4s that measure nearly 500 yards including #4, #9, #16, and #18. The course contains over 60 bunkers and water comes into play on 6 holes.

Last year J.B. Holmes held off Jim Furyk to win by one stroke for the first time since brain surgery briefly forced him to the sideline. Holmes led by three strokes heading into the Green Mile in which he had two bogeys. This made it close, but Holmes was able to make his 71 hold up, sealing his first victory since the 2008 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Holmes will be joined by 11 of the Top 25 players in the world including Furyk, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson,

Tournament history is always a key factor that we analyze every week and this week at Quail Hollow is no different. A few guys that have had a lot of success here in the past include: Jim Furyk (5 career Top 10s), Rory McIlroy (4 Top 10s in 5 events including a win), and Phil Mickelson (7 career Top 10s). For a complete tournament history for every player at The Wells Fargo Championship, check out our tournament history page.

One of the statistics that is most meaningful this week is driving distance. Of the fifteen players who led in driving distance last year only three of them finished outside of the Top 10, with Champion J.B Holmes finishing 1st in driving distance. In 2013 five of the 11 longest guys off of the tee finished in the Top 10, including champion Derek Ernst. In 2012, of those players ranking in the fifteen highest in driving distance, seven of them finished in the Top 15, including champion Rickie Fowler and runner up Rory McIlroy. Now, it is obviously important to have some accuracy as there are some significant hazards, so we will also look at total driving as well. The other statistic we are going to target is putting. Of the Top 10 finishers last year, five of them ranked in the top 10 in putting. The same was true in 2013 as The Top 10 contained five guys who ranked in the top 10 best putters. If a player is long off the tee and putts well in this tournament, he is gold. Last year, winner JB Holmes ranked 1st in driving distance and 4th in putting.

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The Favorites:

Last week at The Players Rory McIlroy had a T8 off of a cross country trip after winning the WGC Cadillac Match Play. Earlier in the PGA season Rory had a T9 at the WGC Cadillac, T11 at the Arnold Palmer, and 4th at The Masters. He has absolutely dominated the Wells Fargo Championship with an 8th last year, 10th in 2013, runner up in 2012, mc in 2011, and a championship in 2010. Rory ranks 12th in driving distance, 29th in driving accuracy, 39th in greens in regulation, 10th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 105th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 8th in Total Strokes Gained. Pretty outstanding statistically except in putting, although he putted very well at Harding Park for the WGC Match Play when he won two weeks ago. We are going to give him the nod again this week. The defending champ, J.B Holmes is obviously long off the tee, ranking 7th in driving distance. Holmes also ranks 10th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and 17th in Total Strokes Gained. He is not typically a great putter (ranking 153rd so far this year) although he finished up 4th in overall putting last year at Quail Hollow. In addition to winning last year, he also has two other career Top 10s, including a 9th in 2011. Holmes has been great this year, albeit mixing in some brutal mixed cuts out of nowhere to derail a lot of fantasy golfers. He started his real nice run at the Farmers with a runner-up finish, then followed it up with a T10 at AT&T Pebble Beach, T22 at Northern Trust, and runner-up at WGC Cadillac. Then he missed the cut at Arnold Palmer, won the Shell, and missed the cut at The Masters. How is that for consistency? Henrik Stenson started on the PGA Tour hot, but then he dealt with a virus, which clearly affected his play. Last week at The Players he turned in a T17, which is not bad, but not up to his standards. He has had a lousy tournament history here with three missed cuts, so we would definitely give Rory the edge over Stenson. Statistically, he is one of the most dominate players on tour ranking 7th in driving accuracy, 3rd in greens in regulation, 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 1st in Strokes Gained Putting, and obviously 1st in Total Strokes Gained. Webb Simpson, the Charlotte, North Carolina native (actually lives about a mile from the clubhouse) has performed well at his home course in the past four years with a 38th last year, 32nd in 2013, 4th in 2012, and 21st in 2011. Before that he missed the cut a couple of times. Last week at The Players, he played well enough to make the cut, but then faded over the weekend and ended up T66. Before that he had made six of seven cuts in 2015, including a T13 at Sony, T7 at Humana, T7 at the WGC Cadillac, and a T28 at the Masters. Simpson is an outstanding ball striker and ranks 14th in greens in regulation, 51st in driving accuracy, 73rd in driving distance, and 11th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. Here is where we are not all in on Webb this weekend, he ranks 162nd in Stokes Gained Putting, absolutely atrocious on the greens. As we mentioned before, good putting is important on this course. If Simpson can putt average, he will deliver a solid finish and might set you apart from others in the yahoo contest.

Our picks Mcllroy, Holmes, Stenson, Scott, Furyk, Simpson


The favorites:

The B-List is wide open this week and will allow you to set yourself apart. Daniel Berger- Before last weeks missed cut, he has had a really great season, with a couple of missed cuts mixed in. A T6 at Zurich, T72 at RBC Heritage, T25 at Shell, mc at Valero, T13 at Arnold Palmer, mc at Valspar, runner-up at Honda, and T10s at AT&T and Waste Management. Berger’s stats are very solid, ranking 16th in driving distance, 26th in greens in regulation, 24th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 102nd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 27th in Total Strokes Gained. He obviously does not have any tournament history here as he is a rookie, but played well at Arnold Palmer, Shell, and Zurich, those courses that are long and closest in distance to Quail Hollow of all the courses he has played this year and he did well at all of those. He probably will not be the most widely owned on Yahoo this week, so if he does well it will definitely set you apart from the pack and we really do think he will do well. Phil Mickelson obviously has an unbelievable tournament history at Quail Hollow with seven career Top 10s, including an 11th last year and a 3rd in 2013. He has not played consistently and missed the cut last week at The Players, but in a thin list this week, he is a pretty decent option. This season Kevin Kisner has made 11 cuts in 17 events played, including four Top 25s and three Top 10s. He currently ranks 118th in driving distance, 36th in driving accuracy, 82nd in greens in regulation, 50th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 84th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 48th in Total Strokes Gained. In addition, Kisner also had a 6th place finish last year in the Wells Fargo Championship. As a total shot in the dark we are going to mention George McNeill. Quietly, Mcneill is putting together a really solid season, most recently placing T17 last week at The Players Championship. Overall he has made 11 in 14 events and four Top 25s. His six tournaments prior to last week resulted in a T12 at Zurich, T44 at RBC Heritage, T20 at Valero, T35 at Arnold Palmer, MC at Valspar, and T11 at Honda. Last year at the Wells Fargo Championship, Mcneill missed the cut, but he has four Top 25s in eight career appearances, including a 16th in 2013, 15th in 2012, and 18th in 2009. He ranks 120th in driving distance, 87th in driving accuracy, 139th in greens in regulation, 92nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 53rd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 72nd in Total Strokes Gained. McNeill is not a guy who is going to light up a tournament field with his game, but he should provide you a solid performance at a place he has played well in the past, and maybe sneak into the Top 25.
Our picks: Berger, Matsuyama, Mickelson, Mahan, Kisner
Possible Sleeper Picks: George McNeill or Chesson Hadley


The favorites:


Russell Knox is one of our favorite plays this year, as we have recommended him many times, and he has delivered for us most of the time. A T17 at The Players last week, T43 at Zurich, T18 at RBC Heritage, mc at Valero, T29 at Arnold Palmer, T33 at Valspar, and T3 at Honda round our Knox’s last two months. He only has one appearance at Quail Hollow and he missed the cut three years ago. Knox ranks 142nd in driving distance, 21st in driving accuracy, 9th in greens in regulation, 34th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 76th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 31st in Total Strokes Gained. Brendon De Jonge has been extremely consistent and delivered nicely for us just about every time we have recommended him. Last week was a bit of a disappointment with a T63, but he still made the cut in a week where it was very difficult to get guys through the cut. De Jonge has made six straight cuts at Quail Hollow including two Top 10s (6th last year and 4th in 2010). He has made 7 cuts in his last 8 events Including a T63 last week at The Players, T22 at Zurich, T18 at RBC Heritage, T5 at Shell, and a T10 at Puerto Rico. De Jonge is not the longest of hitters, ranking 138th in driving distance, but he ranks 44th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 35th in greens in regulations, and 25th in driving accuracy. We like his consistency and like him to continue his success at Quail Hollow this week. Jason Kokrak- Last week at The Players, Kokrak missed the cut by one stroke. Prior to that he had a T18 at RBC, missed cut at Shell, T11 at Valero, T6 at Arnold Palmer, and T7 at Valspar. We like where he stands in the statistical rankings for this week at Quail Hollow particularly because he ranks 10th in driving distance and 54th in Strokes Gained Putting. In addition, he ranks 72nd in greens in regulation, 49th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 31st in Total Strokes Gained, 36th in Par 4 scoring, and Par 5 scoring. Kokrak has improved his results in the Wells Fargo Championship over the last three years as he missed the cut in 2012, took 50th in 2013, and 23rd last year. The fact that he currently resides in Charlotte does not hurt the fact that we really like Kokrak to deliver a really solid effort this weekend. We think Keegan Bradley will be somewhat highly chosen this week and frankly he is not playing good golf and we think there are a lot better options out there. Ryan Moore has really played well at The Wells Fargo in the past with an 18th last year, 6th in 2013, 5th in 2012, and 33rd in 2011, He did miss the cut the three years prior to that. Overall, Moore has played well this year with a T12 at The Masters, T57 at Shell, 5th at Valspar, T9 at WGC Cadillac, T22 at Northern Trust, and T17 at Waste Management. Moore doesn’t have great distance, ranking 172nd in driving distance, but he putts alright, ranking 62nd in Stokes Gained putting. He also strikes the ball well, ranking 17th in driving accuracy, 91st in greens in regulation, and 33rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green

Our picks: De Jonge, Reed, Knox, Kokrak, Moore, Thomas

Possible Sleeper Pick: Kyle Reifers (Charlotte Resident)


Best of luck to all of you in the Yahoo contest and let us know how you are doing.

-Fantasy Golf Insider

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 1, 2015 14:20

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