Wells Fargo Championship Contenders
McIlroy is gunning for a record breaking four Wells Fargo Championship having won his third just last year, though at a single figures price he looks extremely short for our liking. Firstly, with Quail Hollow being prepped for the imminent President’s cup, this event will be moved temporarily to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in what can only be a setback to the Northern Irishman.
Secondly, while McIlroy is strong enough a player to shoot low at any course he plays, statistically Potomac doesn’t necessarily suit his game, with bombers not gaining much of an advantage on this short Par-70, and driving accuracy rewarded more than at most courses on the circuit.
Kyle Stanley and Francesco Molinari
Luckily, we have some recent events to go off at Potomac, with both the 2017 and 2018 runnings of the Quickens Loan National being staged here. Kyle Stanley and Francesco Molinari were the respective winners, and while there was a stark contrast between Stanley’s rainy seven-under play-off win in 2017 and Molinari’s 21-under eight-shot victory a year later in the basking sun, there were also some consistencies between the two successes.
Both players led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Greens-in-Regulation, while both were also in the top five for Driving Accuracy. That’s extremely unsurprising on a course featuring notably short and narrow fairways, with putting on these fast greens proving relatively insignificant in comparison to the long game.
Wells Fargo Championship Best Bets
It’s on that basis that Corey Conners looks to be worth a punt. One of the most consistent ball-strikers on tour ranks 13th this season from tee-to-green, with only Russell Knox and John Rahm hitting a higher percentage of greens than the Canadian. That’s long been the staple of his game and it’s his short game that has often seen him unwind, so this could be just the course for him.
Even with that said, he’s gained strokes on and around the green so far this season, so confidence in those areas of close proximity will be there more than ever for the 30-year-old.
What’s more, he has the form to match, with figures of 11-26-35-6-12, with a 6th at the Masters the most impressive of those results at a course that also rewards the strongest iron players in the game. He also reached the final four of the Match Play, while in his appearance here in 2018 he shot par or better in all four rounds.
Our second pick goes the way of Russell Henley who statistically is another good fit for Potomac. Having played here in 2017, the American shot two 3-under par rounds in the rain, though he went AWOL in the middle of the weekend to keep him out of contention after being eighth after day one.
Conditions are expected to be much better this week than five years ago, and that will serve Henley well. Henley ranks sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green on the PGA Tour this season and ninth for Greens in Regulation.
While he’s yet to win this season, we’re still early doors and with four top-15s so far he’s got solid foundation on which to build here and in what isn’t the strongest field, his prior experience here will give him an edge so he’s certainly worth getting behind.
Finally, it’s Ryan Armour that gets our pick as a very long outsider. Armour is way down the betting market, though statistically he’s a near perfect fit for this course and deserves some credit.
His form this season hasn’t been strong by any stretch of the imagination, though 15th at Corales Puntacana just over a month ago was promising, where he ranked fifth for Greens-in-Regulation which bodes well here.
Even more impressively, he leads the tour in Driving Accuracy and that will give him a huge advantage here in Maryland, and if he can dial his irons in, his lack of effective short game shouldn’t be an issue at all.
What’s more, he has previous here at Potomac, finishing second behind Molinari in 2018 and at his price it’s a no brainer to have a small flutter on the American.
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