The PGA TOUR heads to Charlotte this week as Quail Hollow Club hosts the Wells Fargo Championship. The course is a bear par-71 measuring at 7,600 yards with Bermuda grass greens. This is one of the most difficult courses on TOUR, and the winning score will likely be below the 10-under range.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate, but these players are often great options in any contest type.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of that week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights golfers to buy and fade, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course. The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
Jon Rahm ($10,800 DraftKings)
Justin Thomas (No. 2) is ranked one spot higher than Rahm (No. 3) in the world rankings, though you could certainly make the case Rahm is just as good if not better when you factor in his consistency. Thomas is otherworldly with his tee-to-green play but as evidenced by last week’s putting debacle, he can tank his chances of contending with an abysmal four rounds with the flat stick. Rahm on the other hand, is a beacon of consistency, finishing inside the top 10 in seven of his past 10 starts and making all 11 of his cuts on the year. I always like to target the Spaniard on long courses such as this one, as he has the off-the-tee/distance combo that makes him lethal at events like this.
Somehow, this will be Rahm’s first appearance at Quail Hollow, but I have zero concern that he won’t overpower his way to another top-10 finish. I don’t believe anyone should ever be $500 more than Rahm in any golf tournament, so we’re getting a little discount here on him. It’s also egregious to me that Bryson DeChambeau is priced ahead of him. Rahm’s consistency and the fact he makes everything look so easy almost works against him.
At $10,800, he’s probably the strongest play in this field. While you can certainly make a case to go with balanced builds this week, I like locking in that certainty with the new father.
Patrick Reed ($9,300 DraftKings)
Much like Rahm, I love to target Reed on long, tough tracks like Quail Hollow. He seems to always do his best work on courses where par is a good score, which is what we’ll have this week. His history at this event speaks for itself, as he’s never missed a cut in six trips while finishing inside the top-32 in all but one start here. He also posted a T-8 in 2018, so the upside is obviously there.
It comes down to price for me as $9,300 for Reed is really strong in a field like this. He’s priced in between Will Zalatoris, Abraham Ancer and Joaquin Niemann, who are not close to the complete golfer Reed is at this stage, with all due respect. As is normally the case with Reed, his rolling numbers do not jump out at you, but I highly doubt he misses back-to-back cuts and like the safety you get by starting rosters with him and Rahm.
Cameron Tringale ($8,400 DraftKings)
Tringale has been one of the hottest golfers on TOUR in 2021 and even more so of late. In his last three starts, he’s gone T-19, T-9 and T-3. In that stretch which dates back 12 rounds, he ranks No. 5 in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and No. 2 in total strokes gained, trailing only Bryson DeChambeau in the latter category.
I don’t know what Tringale has to do to get a price increase. After his third-place finish last week, his price moved exactly $0. He hasn’t been great at this event over the years, but he has made five of eight cuts and does boast a T-27 back in 2018. Tringale feels like a completely different golfer than he used to be so at just $8,400 on DraftKings, we’ll gladly take the discount again this week and move along.
Matt Jones ($7,400 DraftKings)
Jones has also been playing some of the best golf of his career in 2021, which is clear by looking at his dominant wire-to-wire victory at the Honda Classic. In addition to that, he’s done well at other tough tracks, finishing T-26 at the Masters and T-8 at the Genesis Invitational. The Aussie has good history at Quail Hollow, making five of seven cuts with a couple of top-21 finishes.
Jones has been great with his putter this season but also ranks 19th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 24 rounds. That’s pretty strong for someone that costs just $7,400. He is one of the best values on the board this week and a borderline cash-game lock at this price.
Cameron Davis ($7,100 DraftKings)
Davis’ struggles of late have come because of his egregious short game. He’s been one of best ball-strikers in this field long term, as he ranks eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee and seventh in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 36 rounds. He did miss the cut here in his lone start back in 2019, but he is a much better player now than he was and his price is really strong at just $7,100.
Davis’ game is still very raw, but he boasts incredible talent for a 26-year-old. Despite his missed cut at the Valspar last week, he’s still made the weekend in 12 of 16 starts this season. I’m willing to bet he gets back on track this week at a course that should suit his game quite nicely.
Luke List ($6,800 DraftKings)
List is one of the most frustrating players on TOUR. He’s a phenomenal ball-striker but is equally as abysmal with the rest of his game. He has, however, shown a liking for Quail Hollow, making the cut in three of four starts, including a T-9 back in 2018.
Off-the-tee play is incredibly important here, and List ranks 11th in that department across his past 48 rounds in this field. It may not be necessary to drop this low in cash games but if you do, List is a strong option to round out teams.
Viktor Hovland ($9,800 DraftKings)
Hovland came extremely close to making the core-play section, but I like Rahm too much and pairing the two is tough given their salaries. That does not change how good of a play Hovland is this week and if you don’t want to start with Rahm, dropping down to the Norwegian makes a ton of sense. He’s been a tee-to-green monster all season and ranks fourth in this field in SG: Off-the-Tee over his past 48 rounds.
Another tough-track specialist, Hovland finished second at Torrey Pines and fifth at Riviera before last week’s T-3 at a very difficult Copperhead course. Expect to see this phenom’s name at the top of the leaderboard yet again this week. He’s a great play in all formats.
Pictured: Jon Rahm
Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images