Ambush DFS Preview: Wells Fargo

Courtesy: Golf Digest

We’re back after another week off from PGA DFS (although some of us couldn’t help ourselves in the European Tour contests). This week the tour heads to Quail Hollow for the Wells Fargo Championship. This is a really cool event because the winner not only gets a nice trophy and a big payday, but they’re also probably getting a Wells Fargo credit card opened under their name that they will never know about! Quail Hollow is one of the tougher courses on the tour, but there are some trends to key in on to find guys for DFS that should find the course less difficult than others. Here’s a look at some players I think fit the bill this week.

Sure Play: Rory McIlroy (DK 11,800 / 12,500 FD)

As the top priced golfer on both sites, it’s pretty obvious that even the DFS sites understand how good of a play Rory is for this tournament. His history at this tournament itself warrants the price and the play. The last eight times he’s played the tournament, six of those finishes were in the top ten, which includes two wins. Taking away his finish at the Masters, he hasn’t played a tournament this year and finished worse than sixth place. An elite golfer in elite form with elite course history is as sure of a play as any. The only thing to be disappointed in with Rory this week is that he’s not giving away the M5 or M6 drivers for a victory.

Hit or Miss: Jason Kokrak (DK 8,700 / 10,000 FD)

Kokrak tends to wind up in my writing every week, but it’s usually in the category just below this in my favorite mid-tier plays of the week. Based on his play and course fit every week, he’s consistently underpriced and continues to provide value at his price every week. Many would argue that this week he is in that exact same spot again and it’s hard to pass up on him. He hits the ball pretty far compared to the rest of the tour and as I continue to mention, his approach game is top notch. If you take a look at past leaderboards, you’ll find those at the top are usually the longer hitters and those with really good approach games. However, if you take a closer look at those leaderboards, Kokrak’s name is nowhere to be found. That is because, in his last seven tries, he’s missed the cut four times and has two other finishes 50th or worse. It’s surprising that a guy that seems to have the game to be successful at this course hasn’t found that success. He’s playing some of the best golf of his career right now, so it’s very possible that he turns that bad history around this week and continues his hot streak and winds up towards the top of the leaderboard once again in 2019.

Mid-Tier Favorites: Byeong Hun An (DK 8,300 / 9,800 FD)  Luke List (DK 8,000 / 9,500 FD) Keith Mitchell (DK 7,800 / 9,600 FD)

An: Although not typically mentioned in the same breath as all the other long hitters on tour like Rory, Finau, and Koepka, and D.J., he is amongst those names in driving distance on tour this year at 13th, so he definitely fits the long hitter play here. He’s 28th in Shots Gained – Approach, and 5th in Shots Gained – Tee to Green, a couple of metrics that are key to success here. Although he had a less-than-stellar performance last year, he finished 8th the year before, so he’s seen some success at this tournament before. Based on his game and current form, I’d expect his performance to be closer to his 2017 result than his 2018 result.

List: At one point last year, there were many people that are experts in this industry that considered List one of the best golfers on tour, and he was playing like it. He absolutely bombs it off the tee (2nd in driving distance on tour behind Cameron Champ), and his distance usually leaves him with shorter clubs into greens which are typically more accurate than approaching with longer irons. Although he’s not playing like one of the top 10-15 guys in the world anymore, he still has four finishes this season in the top 15, and this is a tournament that fits his game. Along with the distance off the tee, he’s got a good enough approach game to give him enough chances to score and keep it close. As always, for those that know List, his putter is what kills his game, so no matter how far he hits it or close he puts it to the hole, if he can’t finish it with the flat stick he’s not going to have a chance. Here’s to hoping for minimal four-foot misses and a good finish at a price that should be considered value for him.

Mitchell: Another guy that is known to crush it off the tee, although the driving distance stat doesn’t necessarily put him in the ranks of those guys I listed above. The eye test will tell you he hits it farther than most on the tour. It seems like forever ago since his win, but it was really only two short months ago and he’s back on the type of greens he publicly announced he loves to play on: Bermuda. For a guy with a win this year and a game that fits the course, his price doesn’t necessarily reflect the potential. He finished 34th last year, however, he’s playing much better golf this year and I’d expect him to finish much better than that this time around.

Value Plays: Wyndham Clark (DK 7,400 / 8,600 FD), Adam Schenk (DK 6,700 / 8,300 FD)

Clark: By the time you get here, you can probably tell the direction I’m tending to lean in this tournament. It is pretty obvious that a lot of the guys that are towards the top of the driving distance category each year are the same guys whose names are towards the top of this leaderboard every year. Clark, like An mentioned above, flies a little under the radar with his length. He’s actually fourth on tour in driving distance, so he clearly has the length. However, where Clark lacks in his approach game, he makes up in putting. Although putting can be random at times, he’s 12th in Shots Gained – Putting, so if he can continue that success in his game he should do just fine at this tournament and especially at that price.

Schenk: The only guy on this list that isn’t necessarily a bomber off the tee, but he’s got plenty of distance at 59th on the tour. He’s 36th in Shots Gained – Approach, so he’s got a good enough approach game to get the job done here. The reason to really like Schenk in addition to statistically fitting the right mold is of 13 starts this calendar year, he’s only missed four cuts and one he missed on the number and another missed by two strokes. At his price, making the cut is usually good enough, especially since it will help you more easily fit a guy like Rory into your lineup.

Although I don’t think his game is near good enough all-around to contend, if you are a person that is going to go all in on bombers this week, Cameron Champ is in the field. He should give a great indication whether power off the tee really is an advantage here because he’s really not doing anything else well right now.

 

Good Luck!

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