Paulie's Picks: 2018 Wells Fargo Championship

This week, the Tour heads to North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The long par-71 layout is one of the best tests that players will face all year. The course is over 7,500 yards, which means that distance will be a big advantage this week. Even though there were some course changes made over the last few years, we can still look at prior results to determine who might be a good play. Note: Last year’s event was held at another course since Quail Hollow hosted the PGA Championship. The course conditions this year will not be like the PGA Championship, which featured extremely penal rough. I expect similar conditions to the prior Wells Fargo Championships. The rough will be manageable but will provide a challenge to players to control their distance on approaches to the firm greens. Players who can drive it long will have the advantage of having short irons out of the rough, while others may have mid to long irons. The stat I will be looking at the most this week is strokes gained: off the tee. 

DraftKings

Tony Finau $8,700

Finau has the length and upside that is needed for DraftKings this week. He will have plenty of opportunities for eagles on the par 5s and will be able to have much shorter clubs into the par 4s. In his two appearances at this event, he has finished 16th and 28th. He also comes into this event playing very well. He was in the final pairing at the Zurich and contended early on at the Masters.

Luke List $7,400

His length and driving ability make him a great fit for this course. He has gained strokes off-the-tee in all but two events over the last 12 months. List’s birdie and eagle upside will also help his DraftKings score. Even though I expect List to be one of the highest owned players of the week, I will have more than my fair share of him.

Xander Schauffele $7,400

Schauffele is one of the best drivers of the ball on Tour. He has gained strokes off-the-tee in every event over the past 12 months. He has had a very consistent season but has yet to meet the expectations we have for him after his two victories last year at the Greenbrier and Tour Championship. He has made all but one cut this season and has finished in the top 20 in three of his last six events. I will have him in a lot of my tournament lineups this week as he provides a lot of upside if he can rekindle that winning form.

One-and-Done

Now that we are a full four months into the season, the One-and-Done selections get a little bit more difficult. We have to make tough decisions of when we want to use our remaining studs. This week, I expect many people to take Rory or Phil based purely on their previous results in this event.

Rory McIlroy

Rory has finished in the top ten in six of his seven starts at this event, including victories in 2010 and 2015.

Phil Mickelson

Phil has finished in the top 12 in nine of his last ten starts at this event.

Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood is a player who many of you will still have available. He is a valid option this week if you do not choose Rory or Phil. He is one of the best ball-strikers in the world and should perform well at this track. In the last eight months, he hasn’t finished worse than 37th in an event.

Webb Simpson

Webb is a member at Quail Hollow and obviously is very familiar with the course and the changes that have been made over the years. He has had success here in the past, finishing second in 2015 and fourth in 2012. He already has four top tens this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he adds another this week.

Longshots

Nick Watney (150-1 to win, 12-1 top 10)

Watney has finished in the top 25 in six of his last ten appearances at this event. This includes holding the 54-hole lead in 2013 and the 36-hole lead in 2012. Watney has been trending up as of late. He has made ten consecutive cuts and gained strokes off-the-tee in all but one of them.

Grayson Murray (100-1 to win, 10-1 top 10)

Murray, the North Carolina native, is a good course fit and has solid recent form. He is one of the longest drivers on Tour, which will provide him a large advantage this week. He comes into this week on the heels of top-20 finishes in three of his last four events.

James Hahn (100-1 to win, 8-1 top 10)

Hahn, the 2016 champion, has played solid this year and comes in a bit under the radar. He has three top-15 finishes this year, including a playoff loss at the Sony Open.

Trey Mullinax (125-1 to win, 12-1 top 10)

I’m hopping back on the Mullinax train after he provided a nice profit for us at the Valero Texas Open with his runner-up finish. His length will be a tremendous advantage this week. Mullinax should feel at home in North Carolina, the site of his Web.com Tour win at the 2016 Rex Hospital Open.