2021 Wells Fargo Championship Picks & Best Bets: Fade the Favorites at Quail Hollow
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Abraham Ancer.
The win was always coming for Sam Burns, so it stings a bit to miss out on that one at the Valspar Championship.
But we’ll move on now to Quail Hollow and the Wells Fargo.
It’s been a rough one to figure out the past decade or so. In the last seven years, three winners (Max Homa, Derek Ernst and James Hahn) started the week at least 300/1.
Quail Hollow has played host to the event every year except in 2017, which is when it held the PGA Championship that was won by Justin Thomas. It measures at just under 7,600 yards for a par 71 and tends to be one of the courses where the shorter hitters have a difficult time competing.
The course is known for it’s closing three-hole stretch called the Green Mile. It plays nearly a shot over par on average and each of the holes are usually among the top-50 most difficult on tour each season.
It’s another one of those courses where going out and posting a number ahead of the leaders can prove to be enough to win. With the pressure of trying to close out a tournament Sunday afternoon, this closing test is as difficult as we see all year.
Thomas and Jon Rahm opened as the co-favorites at +1100 with Bryson DeChambeau right behind at +1400. This is a week when I’m nervous about the top of the board.
Thomas obviously hit the ball great last week and has a win here before. Rahm has been living in the top 10 for a few months now, and DeChambeau can win on any course if the driver and putter line up. Bryson is my lean of this top bunch. He’s played well here in the past, finishing fourth in 2018, and it seems like a spot where his advantage off the tee will be amplified.
Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele are next in line at +1800. McIlroy has a strong history here and even if the form isn’t where we’d like, he’s still a concern. Schauffele really hasn’t done much here in his limited starts, but he’s another guy up here with a strong game off the tee who seems like he should fit well.
Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Reed close out this range in the +2000s. Of the group, Hovland draws the most interest from me at +2200. He’s coming off a third-place finish last week at Valspar and seems to be regaining his form.
We’ll open this range with Abraham Ancer at +4000 on BetMGM. Ancer has been striking the ball well for months, although the putter carried him quite a bit last week at the Valspar. He’s been consistently placing inside the top 25 for a couple months now.
Ancer doesn’t have much experience here, but Quail Hollow should fit him with how well he’s been driving the ball.
Next, I’ll go to Cameron Tringale at +5000 on Bet365. Tringale has found himself in the mix quite a few times in 2021. He’s driving the ball better than ever and is still gaining ground nearly every week on approach.
Tringale has never won on tour, but his game has never been in a better spot.
I’m also going with Emiliano Grillo at +8000 on FanDuel. Grillo fits the ball-striking form I’m looking for here. He has a bit of an off-week with the irons at Valspar, but I’ll go back here on a course where he took ninth his last time out in 2018.
We’ll also try out Matt Wallace at +8000 on Bet365. Wallace will be making his Quail Hollow debut, but he’s riding some decent form with five straight made cuts while striking the ball well each week for the past two months. He’s a prolific winner in Europe, and it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him come out with a TOUR win either.
My last guy in this range is Harold Varner III at +9000 on DraftKings. Again, another guy searching for that first win in what’s the closest thing to a home game for the North Carolina native.
Varner was second a few weeks back at the Heritage but hasn’t quite got his irons and driver to cooperate on the same week. Only once in the past six events has he gained on approach and off the tee. Both aspects have been fine overall, so it’s just a matter of getting both things going at the same time for him to get into contention.
It wouldn’t be Quail Hollow if we didn’t go completely off the wall with one pick, so I’ll be taking a stab at Bronson Burgoon at 360/1 on FanDuel. Burgoon was 13th last week, which means he should come in with a little confidence. The tee-to-green game is erratic, but he’s usually solid off the tee and has his short game going at the moment. With a history of guys coming from nowhere to win this, I’ll take him as a flier this week.
The Wells Fargo Card
- Abraham Ancer +4000 (.83 units)
- Cameron Tringale +5000 (.66 units)
- Emiliano Grillo +8000 (.41 units)
- Matt Wallace +8000 (.41 units)
- Harold Varner III +9000 (.37 units)
- Bronson Burgoon +36000 (.09 units)
Total Stake: 2.77 units