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DraftKings Fantasy Preview: The Wells Fargo Championship

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Both of my six-man rosters faltered big time last week, with several of my picks trunk-slamming Friday and the few potential Sunday showmen dropping down the board over the final 18 holes.

We all have bad weeks, though, and I am right back on the horse.

Next up is the Wells Fargo Championship at future PGA Championship site Quail Hollow. The DraftKings contest to look for here is the $100,000 pool, in which the top finisher receives $10,000 and 7,850 lucky folks will get paid.

As always with that payout, the entry fee is just $3, and if you beat my main lineup by registering your own team through the link below, you are refunded those $3.

Enter the Beat the Writer Contest HERE

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Considering my recent woes there, you might want to test that out. Onto my picks and my (hopeful) turnaround!

The Course

Quail Hollow is a long track that affords players leeway with errant tee balls. This is a profile that suits a bomb-and-gouge type, a long-hitting, inaccurate driver that the PGA Championship tends to favor.

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The course’s greens usually rank among the toughest on Tour to decipher due to their severe undulations and have been a consistent source of news the past couple of years.

First, came the bad in 2013. Good tidings arrived the next year, as a move from bent grass to bermuda grass surfaces meant player satisfaction. So overall, we have that bomb-and-gouge model for a successful player here and possibly a great putter due to the greens’ difficulty.

Testing these assumptions against my five-year, top-10 finishers model, the results were mixed. The long-ball hitter has indeed flourished at Quail Hollow, nearly to the same degree as those at Augusta. High-ball strikers also garnered a significant Augusta-like advantage over the last five years in Charlotte. Accuracy off the tee was only marginally important, but still not something to overlook.

Unsurprisingly, great drivers showed up by far the most in the sample. This is a tee shot-course first, but everything else had extensive value too. Approach play and short game came up virtually the same in a tie for second not far behind driving. Putting, as it turned out, proved least important, albeit by a small margin.

What kind of player are we looking for?

Definitely gravitate toward the long, high-ball hitter. Great drivers of the ball are a good choice, but with the sizable importance of approach play and short game as well players atop Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green are also a good bet.

Finally, with the course’s fairways hit numbers being the fourth-worst among Tour courses last year, make sure you hoard players who can handle approach shots from the rough.

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Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 306 points, 22300th of 38300)

  • Hideki Matsuyama, $10,600
  • Louis Oosthuizen, $9,300
  • Webb Simpson, $8,600
  • Martin Laird, $7,300
  • John Huh, $7,100
  • Morgan Hoffmann, $7,100

The Japanese sensation Matsuyama has been on fire in a most understated way this season, producing zero titles but piling up three top-3 finishes and seven top-10s in 14 PGA Tour events.

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His first go-round at Quail Hollow last year was a solid T38 effort, and his game really screams out for this course. Matsuyama is a brilliant long, high-ball hitter, immaculate with approaches on and off the fairway and has a highly underrated and lethal short game. This has all added up to a No. 3 ranking in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green this year. Everything points to him contending at Quail Hollow.

Oosthuizen lacks Matsuyama’s short game and is a touch less potent on approaches, but he possesses everything else for a pretty solid fit at this course. His recent high form suffered at Sawgrass in a T69 showing. The South African was tied for the first day lead late in his Thursday round, though, proving that the sparks of great play didn’t vanish.

Simpson’s game does mesh well with this course, but that’s not the main reason I’m taking him. The Wake Forest grad is a member at Quail Hollow and put his course knowledge to excellent use finishing fourth in 2012. Simpson’s due for something good with his recent spotty play in 2015 and his lack of contention record otherwise at a track he should dominate via familiarity.

Laird cooled off after a torrid three-tournament start to the 2015 calendar, but I have a hunch he gets back on track this week. The Scot is a sneaky long and excellent driver and excels from thick grass on approach shots. And he finished in the top 30 at Quail Hollow last year amid a much worse slump than present.

Huh is a pure flyer pick on a guy who has shown several instances of encouraging performance in recent months, even if it is intermittent.

Hoffmann missed the cut at The Players, but produced two top-10s in his previous four starts. He fits that long-hitting, high-baller mold and possesses a decent short game and great ability from the rough. I trust that opening 76 at The Players was an anomaly that won’t recur at a Quail Hollow track that suits him better.

One Big Name to Avoid

  • Phil Mickelson, $10,400

Lefty is the fourth-most costly option this week, and it’s easy to see why considering his sensational career at Quail Hollow (five top-5s and nine top-15s in 11 appearances).

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I’m taking a huge leap of faith, though and steering clear of his path. Mickelson has been one of the greatest ever at approach play from the rough, but he’s misplaced that ability big time in 2015 with a 184 ranking in rough proximity. While Mickelson has performed well on-course of late, his highly erratic driving will ensure he misses the fairway often at Quail Hollow. And I don’t think he’ll rediscover that magic from the rough this week that he will need to harbor any hopes of contention.

Alternate Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 265 points, 31700th of 38300)

  • Jim Furyk, $10,800
  • J.B. Holmes, $9,800
  • Jhonattan Vegas, $8,100
  • Ryan Moore, $8,000
  • Pat Perez, $7,100
  • Brian Davis, $6,100

OK, I strayed from the majority-long hitters model a little bit here, but many of the remaining non-bomber options had too much in their arsenals to pass up.

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Furyk is the all-time earnings leader at Quail Hollow, fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and recently found a groove in winning at Hilton Head.

Moore is a big horse for the course (T18,T6, T5 his last three starts) and has been sensational from the rough this year. Perez’s recent play combined with his history at Quail Hollow was too enticing to ignore as well.

Davis is my wildcard for this group. He has missed four of his last six cuts, but he does have three top-25s at Quail Hollow and he strikes me as a bit of a poor man’s Furyk when he’s at his best, and that should work very well at this course.

As for the long hitters, Holmes is the defending champion. He has been electric when he’s on this year, and the good mojo at this venue should help bring that out.

Under the radar, Vegas has really started to piece his game together of late, which makes me confident despite his dismal record at Quail Hollow.

Don’t forget to enter the “Beat the Writer” Contest here.

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Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Brian

    May 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I came in 1253 this week for $11. Had McIlroy, Simpson, Hahn, Finau, McNeil and De Jonge (who blew it). Good times.

  2. matt_bear

    May 14, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    146 points out of the gate.

    Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, John Hahn, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas, Kevin Kisner.

  3. matt_bear

    May 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I won $6 last week finishing around 6000th place. I even had Spieth too. The DK format is pretty neat because every high player you select has to be offset by a dark horse. I had Hahn, who was the cheapest player in the entire format so that helped. Definitely felt like i missed a change to place really high though.

    • Kevin Casey

      May 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Congrats on the great week!

      It’s always nice to make money, even if it’s not the $10,000 first prize.

      And totally agreed on the dark horse part. It’s fun to try to pick that out. Not that it’s easy in anyway to pick the top players correctly (I did the same thing as you with putting Spieth in one of my lineups last week), but there’s certainly more of a boost if you nab a low-cost rarely-picked player and he does quite well.

      But yeah I feel for you on the Spieth part. I don’t have the standings in front of me, but I would agree you might have been in for a much bigger pay day if you had taken someone who contended there. It’s kind of annoying, I had that same problem at the Masters. I won money off my main roster, but my main guy was Jason Day who placed like T30. Yeah, he made the cut, but if I had made the trendy pick in Spieth there, I probably would’ve been a lot closer to the top.

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Photos from the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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GolfWRX is live on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for the PGA Tour’s one-and-only two-man team event.

As usual, general galleries, WITBs, and pullout albums — including some pretty spicy custom putters and headcovers — await your viewing.

Be sure to check back for more photos from the Big Easy, as we’ll continue to update this page with additional galleries throughout the week.

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Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

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Photos from the 2024 Valero Texas Open

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GolfWRX is on site this week at the Valero Texas Open.

The event has been around since 1922, making it one of the oldest on the PGA Tour calendar. Over the years, it’s been held at a variety of courses across the Lone Star State, but it’s found its home at TPC San Antonio in recent years. Some of the biggest names in golf have taken home the title here, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, and Ben Crenshaw.

GolfWRX has its usual assortment of general galleries, WITBs and special pull-out albums. As always, we’ll continue to update the links below as more photos come in from TPC San Antonio.

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