Fantasy preview: Wells Fargo Championship

May 01, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

Gamers, remember that my Fantasy Mailbag publishes on Wednesdays. As I've mentioned before, I take a broad-stroke perspective at it so you can use the information as a point of reference over the course of the season. A neat feature is that you can post comments and carry on a dialog with other readers. I'll also contribute to the discussion whenever necessary.

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Power Rankings
Rob Bolton breaks down the Wells Fargo field in this week's Power Rankings and provides five players who could surprise.

With a dreadful 1-4-0 record at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, I'm now 33-26-1 with 71 points in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook. Chris Stolle and Frank share a six-point advantage atop the overall leaderboard. Both have 93 points.

My picks for the Wells Fargo Championship:

Jonathan Byrd over Lucas Glover Tiger Woods over Lee Westwood • Rickie Fowler over Jason Day • Rory McIlroy over Keegan Bradley • Phil Mickelson over Jim Furyk

Power Rankings Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... Phil Mickelson (1); Jim Furyk (3); Zach Johnson (6); Keegan Bradley (8); Kevin Na (13)

Group B ... Rory McIlroy (2); Tiger Woods (4); Hunter Mahan (5); Bo Van Pelt (7); Rickie Fowler (9); Bill Haas (11); Ken Duke (14)

Group C ... Cameron Tringale (10); Ben Curtis (12); Vijay Singh (15)

Sleepers Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... none

Group B ... Mark Anderson; Michael Thompson

Group C ... Erik Compton; Bobby Gates; Charlie Wi

On a Roll (Yahoo! Group)

Webb Simpson (A) ... This week's snub in my Power Rankings is due completely to a 1-for-3 record at Quail Hollow with a T21 last year. The Charlotte resident tied for 13th last week in New Orleans where he ranked seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting. He leads the PGA TOUR in birdie average.

John Huh (C) ... Despite the fact that he's the only PGA TOUR rookie with a victory, and he has four other top 15s, including a T2 in his last start in San Antonio, there is a contingent that refuses to hop aboard the bandwagon. However, he's the exception to my rule of the learning curve requiring three years to pay dividends. His only weakness is inexperience, and he's proving that it really isn't.

Chris Stroud (B) ... Top 25s in five of his last six starts entering this week. Ranks 16th on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting, fourth in scrambling and 13th in bogey avoidance.

Ryan Moore (B) ... If it's possible for someone with his cachet to be piecing together a quietly sound season, he's succeeding. He's 8-for-10 with top 10s in two of his last three starts. Not the best of fits with Quail Hollow but you could have argued the same thing at TPC San Antonio where he tied for eighth and ranked T2 in greens hit and 17th in Strokes Gained-Putting. Perhaps the best dynamic as it relates to him is that he's still only 29 years of age. His prime is approaching.

Rob's Yahoo! lineup
Group A: Jim Furyk; Phil Mickelson
Group B: Hunter Mahan; Rory McIlroy; Bo Van Pelt; Tiger Woods
Group C: John Huh; Cameron Tringale
YAHOO! STATS: 2,340 points; 22,425th place
SPRING: 533 points (19,928th)
ONE-AND-DONE: Rory McIlroy
2012 EARNINGS: $1,389,720.00
DUFFER: Ryuji Imada
2012 EARNINGS: $252,732.00

.avid Hearn (C) ... Doused an 0-for-4 skid with top 25s the last two weeks. Most impressive is that he's finished both of those starts with bogey-free rounds. Sits 24th on TOUR in scrambling and T27 in bogey avoidance.

David Mathis (C) ... The North Carolina native is coming off a T10 in New Orleans, just his second career top 10 on the PGA TOUR. That chased a T18 in San Antonio. He closed with a flourish at TPC Louisiana, circling four birdies and an eagle on his last seven holes. He ranked a respective 18th and fifth in Strokes Gained-Putting the last two weeks.

Horses for Courses (Yahoo! Group)

Jonathan Byrd (C) ... Crazy record at Quail Hollow. After missing the cut in his first five trips, he's finished T5 (2009), missed another cut (2010) and lost in a playoff last year to fellow Clemson Tiger, Lucas Glover. Byrd sits 50th on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting and 25th in scrambling. He hasn't played since a T27 at the Masters. I endorse him in Yahoo! this week.

Carl Pettersson (C) ... Committed late but he hasn't missed this event yet. Cracked the top 20 for the first time with a T9 last year. Missed the cut in New Orleans last week, but TPC Louisiana can be a quirky track even for those like the Swede who entered having finished second and first in his two previous starts. Currently 22nd on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting and sixth in adjusted scoring.

David Toms (B) ... Since a secondary factor to success at Quail Hollow is hitting fairways, it's no surprise that one of golf's most accurate drivers won the first edition of the Wells Fargo Championship in 2003 and has top 25s in three of his last four appearances. He's stumbled a bit of late, so if he's on your short list this week and you need to break a tie, cut him.

Robert Garrigus (A) ... Two top 20s in five appearances here, including a career-best T9 last year. Similar to Rickie Fowler (Power Rankings) and Brendon de Jonge (Sleepers), Garrigus has overcome suspect putting at Quail Hollow. Meanwhile, four of his five cuts made this season have gone for top 20s, including a T13 in his last start at Harbour Town.

Leaking Oil (Yahoo! Group)

D.J. Trahan (C) ... He's missed his last three cuts and five of the last six. His solo fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open represents over 89 percent of his season's earnings.

Josh Teater (C) ... Since his disqualification in Houston, he's missed three straight cuts. Also 0-for-2 at Quail Hollow.

Arjun Atwal (C) ... Only cut made in 11 starts this year was a T51 at Bay Hill. Zero top 50s of two cuts made in three appearances at Quail Hollow.

Ryuji Imada (B) ... Has missed his last six cuts, including in New Orleans by eight strokes. Now 2-for-11 with two MDFs.

Brendon Todd (C) ... In his last 10 starts, he's traded two top 15s with eight missed cuts, including his last five. Hasn't broken par in any of his last 10 rounds.

Sunghoon Kang (C) ... Missed the cut in New Orleans by four strokes, his fourth straight. Just 4-for-14 on the year with zero top 25s.

Richard H. Lee (C) ... Since sharing 15th place at Pebble Beach, the PGA TOUR rookie has missed five cuts and withdrawn once.

Danger (Yahoo! Group)

Lucas Glover (B) ... The defending champ has recorded four top 10s in eight appearances at Quail Hollow, so it's a prime locale for him to find some form. Unfortunately, he's yet to exhibit any value worthy of our attention. The bright side is that he's ground out a pair of cuts made his last two times out, but neither time did he crack the top 65.

Lee Westwood (B) ... Not the snub from my Power Rankings that most think. In 10 rounds at Quail Hollow, he hasn't broken 71 and neither of his cuts made resulted in a top 35. Furthermore, while he leads the PGA TOUR in total driving and greens in regulation, his short game remains his weakness. He's 144th on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting and 138th in scrambling. Quail Hollow exposes that, which makes the Englishman a trap. The label is underscored by the fact that he won the Indonesian Masters in his last start two weeks ago.

Nick Watney (A) ... Last week's missed cut in New Orleans was his first MC in a non-major since last year's Wells Fargo Championship. Moreover, he's currently 152nd in Strokes Gained-Putting and 145th in scrambling. In 2011, he ranked 12th in both stats.

Mark Wilson (B) ... The University of North Carolina product tied for seventh at Quail Hollow just two years ago but he hasn't cracked the top 60 in two other cuts made of five starts. His T24 at the RBC Heritage three weeks ago was his first top 25 in six starts, but the moral of the story is that Yahoo! gamers don't need to go this deep in Group B this week.

Medic! (Yahoo! Group)

Gary Woodland (B) ... Returns to action after a wrist injury bumped him from the Masters after three rounds. Forgettable record at Quail Hollow. Plummeted 40 spots on last year's leaderboard with a closing 79 to finish T68. Even if he hadn't been sidelined recently, his putting alone is enough of a concern this week.

Jason Day (B) ... First start since withdrawing from the Masters after 25 holes with an ankle injury. Shared 22nd place in his only appearance at Quail Hollow in 2010. Give him a week to get his legs back under him.

Anthony Kim (B) ... Hoping to return following a reported strained tendon in his right elbow. It forced him to withdraw after 14 holes in San Antonio two weeks ago. Certainly, AK's owners are monitoring him closely. If you're still on board, perhaps this week's event could serve as his final test given he owns the tournament record for low aggregate (16-under 272 in 2008).

Angel Cabrera (C) ... First appearance at Quail Hollow since a solo third in 2010, but he withdrew after 27 holes in New Orleans last week with a pulled muscle in his left leg. That followed a WD in Argentina earlier in April.

Matt Bettencourt (C) ... Go ahead and add an eye injury to his growing list of maladies in recent years, as he cited that as the reason he walked off TPC Louisiana at the midpoint of his second round last week.

Charlie Beljan (C) ... Called it quits on the third hole of his second round last week in New Orleans due to a finger injury. The rookie is not an advisable own.

Bart Bryant (n/a) ... In the field at the Stadion Classic at UGA on the Nationwide Tour. Hasn't played competitively anywhere since July 2009. Still has nine starts on a Major Medical Extension on the PGA TOUR. Turns 50 in November.

Notable WDs (Yahoo! Group)

Graeme McDowell (C) ... Tied for 57th in New Orleans, and then withdrew from this week's tournament on Monday. On Twitter, he wrote, "I was a little under the weather both physically and with my game last week. very much wanted to play Quail Hollow, but didn't want to go there undercooked. Practice and rest for me this week." He'll return at next week's PLAYERS.

Davis Love III (C) ... Cracked rib still preventing him from competing. He's eligible to tee it up in THE PLAYERS next week.

Thomas Bjorn (C) ... Second time in seven weeks that he's withdrawn early from a tournament after the commitment deadline. If he's able, look for him at TPC Sawgrass next week.