After a one-week hiatus to observe the team competition in New Orleans, PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf resumes with this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Quail Hollow promotes hitting drivers, so we're likely to experience an uptick in bonus points for drives of at least 300 yards that find fairways. However, Quail Hollow doesn't yield low rounds or clean scorecards as often as most other courses. Last year, there were only five rounds of 65 or lower and just 11 bogey-free scores.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Wells Fargo Championship (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Byeong Hun An; Wyndham Clark; Tony Finau; Sungjae Im; Jason Kokrak; Luke List; Justin Rose; Aaron Wise; Gary Woodland
Driving: Paul Casey; Joel Dahmen; Tony Finau; Sungjae Im; Jason Kokrak; Harold Varner III; Aaron Wise; Gary Woodland
Power Rankings Wild Card
Jason Kokrak … You can see the veteran licking his chops as he struts into his 200th PGA TOUR start as a professional this week. His trending of the last three months has been terrific, but it marks an elevation of consistency that dates back to last summer. He didn't crack the Power Rankings because he's yet to solve Quail Hollow. Including a T33 at the 2017 PGA Championship, he's just 3-for-7 with one top-30 finish (T23, 2014), but don't let that discourage you from confident ownership in every format.
J.B. Holmes … If he didn't win at Quail Hollow in 2014, it's probable that you wouldn't be reading about him here. Because he's been able to sustain a comfortable existence in the FedExCup standings, even when he's not already fully exempt via a victory, his long-term value is exponentially stronger than any weekly analysis can support. He's proven not to be a horse for any course or even a fit for any course profile, but that mystery makes him dangerous because he's so rarely under pressure. Blend him in liberally in multiple DFS lineups and give him a look in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf since bonus points are directly proportional to distance of all drives this week.
Aaron Wise … There's a lot to like about the 2017-18 Arnold Palmer Award winner who finished T2 here last year, just not a lot to love at the moment. I'm not concerned that he's looking ahead at his title defense at Trinity Forest next week because golf doesn't work like that, but he's nearer a sophomore slump than a validation season. Still, a solo 17th at the Masters where he ranked seventh in putts per greens in regulation (T21) was impressive because it was his first appearance. And that's the valuable reminder for gamers. Because of his new stature, he's experiencing another layer of the learning curve by competing against the best of the best throughout this season … and he's still holding his own.
Zach Johnson … But barely. Maybe wiggle him into one or two lineups to attach emotionally. Despite his gradual fade of form, he still makes most cuts. He's also strung together nine straight cuts made at Quail Hollow, including a T48 at the 2017 PGA Championship. This is his first WFC on the course since 2014 (T14).
Roberto Castro … He already had been making most cuts prior to a T5 (with Cameron Tringale), but that yielded important breathing room in the FedExCup where he's now 112th. Piggyback him at Quail Hollow where he's 4-for-4 with a career-best P2 in 2016 and a T9 in 2014 with red numbers in all eight of those rounds.
Scott Stallings … To reiterate the recent theme, begin ignoring past results on tracks where's he committing. His renewed approach in 2019 is making a difference, so let course-history buffs scoff at a 2-for-7 without a top 50 at Quail Hollow. The 34-year-old is detaching from the old reputation as a streaky player who pops infrequently. As he evolves, we'll learn how well he can sustain the success, but there's confidence in his conviction right now.
Sungjae Im … Quail Hollow is a perfect test for the quality of his game, which is ridiculously balanced at just 21 years of age. It's the same consideration that could have been made at Bay Hill (T3), Copperhead (T4) and TPC San Antonio (T20).
Harold Varner III … The local is a flier for the feels, but he's also gone T24 and T55 in the last two editions of this tournament at Quail Hollow, so his experience on the track in competition has additional value. While inconsistent in the long-term, his fit for the course is good. Can hang with most from tee to green.
Byeong Hun An
Henrik Stenson … Prior to a T13 at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, he was 2-for-6 on the course in the Wells Fargo Championship without a top-55 finish. His scoring average was 73.44. While he's shown a few flashes in 2019, the luster is wearing away. Given the combination of variables in play this week, a top 25 would be a surprise.
Nick Watney … Last year's share of second place was an anomaly. It was his only top 10 of the season and he still didn't open the FedExCup Playoffs inside the top 100 in points. But when everything goes right, one week can make a season. He led the field in greens hit and ranked T4 in proximity and seventh in strokes gained: putting. It wasn't the first time he played well at Quail Hollow, but he had missed the cut with four over-par scores in his previous two trips in 2014 and 2015. Entering this week, his last top-35 finish in an individual event was a T23 at The RSM Classic in November.
Brian Harman … Prevailed in this tournament when it was contested at Eagle Point Golf Club in 2017, but he's turned in a pair of top 15s in seven trips to Quail Hollow, including a T13 at the 2017 PGA Championship. Still, he arrives having missed four straight cuts and he's recorded only one top-30 finish (T8, PLAYERS) in the last 10 months.
Daniel Berger … Dropping him in here as one to monitor as he continues to search for consistency. He missed the cut at the 2017 PGA Championship, but he's 3-for-3 at Quail Hollow in the non-major.
Brendan Steele … Solid slate at Quail Hollow includes top 15s in 2015 and 2016, but 2018-19 has been a nightmare on the greens. Consider that he's third in total driving and 14th in greens hit, but 181st in putting: birdies-or-better and 201st in strokes gained: putting. No doubt that frustration is mounting as playing chances are reducing. Currently 158th in the FedExCup but fully exempt through 2019-20.
Peter Uihlein … Continues to scuffle at 146th in the FedExCup. Punctuated a T5 in his debut here last year with a third-round 62, but he didn't break par in any other round.
Nick Taylor … Something will give as he's arriving having connected eight straight paydays, but he's 0-for-3 at Quail Hollow. Contrarian DFSers should tilt toward the drought ending.
David Hearn … With a predictably strong T5 (with Seamus Power) at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Canuck continues to capitalize on his chances with conditional status. He's 134th in the FedExCup standings and a good bet to return to the Playoffs for the first time in three seasons, but wait another week to invest. Quail Hollow has had his number. He's just 3-for-6 without a top 40.
Returning to Competition
Zack Sucher … Technically, he's returning to the PGA TOUR because he's made already seven starts on the Web.com Tour in 2019. He sat out from competitive action for 17 months, but that included a 13-month stretch without any golf due to knee and ankle injuries. Now equipped with a medical extension in the reshuffle category – he's at the very bottom – the 32-year-old has six PGA TOUR starts to remind us why he procured status in the first place. If he collects 250.639 FedExCup points, he'll secure conditional status for the remainder of the season, but gamers are advised to keep an eye on him for 2019-20 should he navigate his way back via the Web.com Tour Finals as a secondary conduit. He's currently 60th on that circuit's money list after a T4 in San Antonio on Sunday.
Chris Kirk … It's been a lost season for the four-time PGA TOUR winner who will turn 34 on May 8. He's just 6-for-17 with one top-40 finish (T15, Bay Hill). He hasn't shared anything pertaining to an injury, but his decision not to play Quail Hollow, his position in the FedExCup (177th) and that he's not fully exempt for next season, it's possible that he's tried to play through something. Watch this space.
Stewart Cink … He's missed five consecutive cuts for the first time in his career that spans 576 events as a professional. Just 167th in the FedExCup standings.
D.A. Points … It's been seven years now since he lost in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship that would serve as Rickie Fowler's coronation, but Points has gone this entire season without a top-40 finish among only three cuts made in 13 starts. And we won't see him for a while now as he'll be having surgery on his neck on Thursday. In another tweet, he cited that he's done for the season, so the 42-year-old presumably would begin 2019-20 on a Major Medical Extension. Of course, there's always the chance that he'd earn his card at the Web.com Tour Finals if he's ready to go by the time that series arrives in August.
Davis Love III … It's been a whirlwind of a month that's included a withdrawal from the RBC Heritage to attend the birth of his granddaughter and a last-place finish (with son Dru) at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Currently 172nd in the FedExCup. Also sitting out the Insperity Invitational on the PGA TOUR Champions.
Talor Gooch … He didn't withdraw because he didn't commit. The reason he's included here is because he would've gained entry on his number if healthy. On April 16, he alerted his followers on Twitter that he's recovering from an injury to his "thumb/hand." At 74th in the FedExCup standings, he's in the catbird's seat to wait as long as he can before returning to competition. Given its difficulty, Quail Hollow would have been a curious choice, but he got over on it with a T13 in his debut last year. So, retain for now despite his status (conditional) and situation. Keeper leaguers also are advised to remain patient.
Power Rankings Recap – Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Power Ranking Team Result
1 Jason Day-Adam Scott MC
2 Billy Horschel-Scott Piercy T13
3 Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown T5
4 Sergio Garcia-Tommy Fleetwood 2nd
5 Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay MC
6 Henrik Stenson-Graeme McDowell T18
7 Jon Rahm-Ryan Palmer Win
8 Louis Oosthuizen-Charl Schwartzel MC
9 Tony Finau-Kyle Stanley MC
10 Cameron Smith-Jonas Blixt MC
Wild Card Abraham Ancer-Jhonattan Vegas MC
Sleepers Recap – Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Brian Gay-Rory Sabbatini T3
David Hearn-Seamus Power T5
Kevin Streelman-Vaughn Taylor MC
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
April 30 … none
May 1 … Stuart Appleby (48); Chris Couch (46); Sepp Straka (26)
May 2 … none
May 3 … Brooks Koepka (29)
May 4 … Rory McIlroy (30)
May 5 … none
May 6 … none