After a week of team golf on the Bayou, the PGA Tour returns to it’s normal stroke-play format at the Wells Fargo Championship.
The Wells Fargo Championship is routinely one of the deepest fields on Tour all season. The best in the world flock to North Carolina each year for an event that boasts an impressive list of recent winners — including Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods. James Hahn is the defending champion.
Thanks to preparation for the PGA Championship this August, the tournament moves from Quail Hollow in Charlotte to Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington for this year’s event. Because of the move, you can kind of throw out a lot of the past history. A new track means a new look for most everyone.
The only player in the field this week with any real experience at Eagle Point is hometown hero Webb Simpson. That being said, there are plenty of players who should feast on the new venue — and plenty who won’t.
Here’s a look at who to start and who to sit:
Webb Simpson — No player has as much experience at Eagle Point Golf Club as Webb Simpson does. I know many would be apprehensive here, but I’m not sure why. While he hasn’t done much recently, he did show some life at the RBC Heritage finishing T-11. It’s also important to note that Simpson is a guy who always plays well at certain venues. He fits the “Horses for Courses” mantra perfectly, and for that reason alone is a must-take player this week.
Phil Mickelson — I’m not in love with Lefty this week, but I think you’d be remiss to pass him by any time the Tour rolls through North Carolina. His last four finishes in this event have been third, T-11 and T-4 each of the last two seasons. Obviously, those were all at Quail Hollow — but if anyone thinks that Mickelson won’t adjust to his new surroundings is a fool. Take that knowledge and combine it with the fact that many players are comparing Eagle Point to Augusta National (and consider Mickelson’s record there) and it seems like a no-brainer. Take Phil in Wilmington.
Wesley Bryan — You know what they say about getting that first win, right? Once the monkey is off the back, the flood gates will open. I expect that to be the case with Wesley Bryan. Just a couple weeks removed from his life-changing win at the RBC Heritage, Bryan should be a fantasy stud this week.
Kevin Kisner — Another player heating up at the right time is Kevin Kisner. Already a winner on Tour, Kisner is looking to pull into the winner’s circle once again and it could very well happen this week. At the Zurich, it was his clutch hole-out on the last hole of regulation that forced the playoff. He’s finished second twice this year already and has yet to miss a cut. If you’re looking for consistency — and all fantasy players are — than Kisner is a solid choice.
William McGirt — McGirt may have missed the cut last week with his teammate Robert Garrigus, but he has fared quite well in his last three stroke-play outings. Most recently at the RBC Heritage, McGirt finished T-9 with rounds of 68-68-68-69. Another mid-level player providing some bang for your buck, McGirt is a can’t-miss option this week.
Carl Pettersson — This one here is a wild card. There is very little that would suggest Carl Pettersson is worth a fantasy start this week except for one thing: he holds the course record at Eagle Point Golf Club. Okay, fine — that’s not the greatest reason in the world. However — as daily fantasy players know, it’s often your cheapest player who does the most damage (for better or worse) and this week, Pettersson is worth the risk.
Graeme McDowell — His consistency may be enough for many, but if I’m going to burn a pick on Graeme McDowell or pay a “name recognition” premium for him in DFS formats, it’s gonna be somewhere he plays well. McDowell can be penciled in for a top-30 each week is seems — but that’s just not enough. And you should expect better, too.
Dustin Johnson — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I am NOT telling you not to take a chance on Dustin Johnson. I’m simply telling you that I AM NOT. Making his first start since his freak back injury before the Masters, I’d rather sit DJ this week and be sure there aren’t any lingering effects from the fall. Obviously, when healthy, he’s one of the best players in the world and certainly was in the weeks leading up to his fall. If you want him, take him — I’m just expecting there to be a little rust.
J.B. Holmes — Despite a solid week at the Zurich Classic with Bubba Watson, I’m not expecting much from Holmes this week at the Wells Fargo. Like McDowell, he’s been consistent all year — but with mid-pack finishes. For the money, we can certainly do better. Perhaps his good week in New Orleans was just what the doctor ordered? Unfortunately, I’m not sure it was.
Jim Furyk — All will be forgiven in terms of his dismal on-course performance this year if Jim Furyk can lead team U.S.A. to Ryder Cup glory next year. Until then, however, you need to avoid him like the plague in all formats. There hasn’t been anything to make one think that he’s about to get hot and until that happens, Furyk is 100% off limits.
Shane Lowry — A name I’ve seen on other lists of players to take this week is that of Shane Lowry. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I just don’t see it happening. While he began the season with a slew of top-20 finishes and some positive vibes, his last four starts have left plenty to be desired. Normally, I’d be willing to take a shot — but the field this week is just too deep to waste my time and yours.