Power Rankings: Wells Fargo Championship
April 26, 2021
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
All-time shots from Wells Fargo Championship
The current fortnight on the PGA TOUR correlates to and aligns with the administration of final exams across the country right now. It wasn’t the original plan but the rescheduling of the Valspar Championship immediately preceding this week’s Wells Fargo Championship has set up a pair of the toughest tests for membership.
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, is poised to host 156 who have registered. Scroll past the projected contenders for its similarities to Copperhead, how it sets up this week, how Max Homa prevailed in 2019 and more.
POWER RANKINGS: WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP
Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider will include Patrick Cantlay, Patrick Reed, Joaquin Niemann and former Wells Fargo Championship winners Rickie Fowler and Jason Day among the notables.
When both Copperhead and Quail Hollow last staged their respective competitions in 2019, they ranked a respective 1 and 2 among the hardest par 71s of all non-majors. Further consider that Quail Hollow’s scoring average of 71.762 reflected a significant drop from its 72.132 as the hardest par 71 in a non-major during the 2017-18 season. It had served as the backdrop for the 2017 PGA Championship for which it debuted as a par 71 after playing to a par of 72 as host of the Wells Fargo Championship from 2003-2016. (Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, hosted the 2017 edition of the WFC.)
Quail Hollow also is the longest par 71 on the PGA TOUR, although this year’s maximum walk of 7,521 yards reflects a reduction of 33 yards, all as a result of the decision not to use the back tees on the par-3 17th hole that now tips at 190 yards.
Like Copperhead’s closing three holes dubbed The Snake Pit, the last three at Quail Hollow Club also has a nickname. It’s The Green Mile. The par 4-3-4 sequence averaged a collective 0.780 strokes over par in 2019. As compared to all holes on the course, they ranked third, first and second, respectively. No. 17 was the fourth-hardest of 197 par 3s in all of 2018-19, while the finisher was 24th-hardest of 522 par 4s.
Given the challenge nearest the finish line, whoever prevails will want to be the front-runner when he pencils in his score on the par-5 15th hole on Sunday. Max Homa birdied the last of the trio of par 5s in his final round before closing bogey-par-par for a three-stroke breakthrough victory. For the week, he scored 2-over on The Green Mile.
The length of the course in conjunction with greens that are slightly above average in size promotes the bomb-and-gouge equation, and that has had merit over time, but Homa converted on his coronation with his shortest sticks. He finished inside the top 25 in distance of all drives, greens in regulation and proximity to the hole, and then led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting and ranked second in scrambling. He also paced it in par-4 scoring and ranked T2 in par-5 scoring.
Inclement weather early this week will have moved on by the time balls are in the air on Thursday morning. Primarily sunny skies and probably dry conditions will allow for zero interruption throughout. It also means that the bermudagrass greens will have an opportunity to reach 13 feet on the Stimpmeter. This elevates the importance of avoiding the primary rough measuring two-and-a-half inches.
Extremely comfortable daytime highs in the 70s will get shoved away with a high in the mid-80s for the finale. It’s also when wind will most influence decisions.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers; Fantasy Insider
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.