2021 Wells Fargo Championship Picks: Justin Thomas Highlights 3 Buys at Quail Hollow
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.
The Valspar Championship turned into a bit of a two-man battle on Sunday, as Sam Burns and Keegan Bradley slugged it out back and forth for the first 12 holes. Unfortunately for Bradley, the 13th was quite unlucky as he flared his tee shot to the par 3 out to the right and into the water hazard, leading to a double bogey.
Burns was able to grab two more birdies down the stretch while Bradley faltered again, allowing the LSU grad to cruise down the final hole with a four-shot lead. It’s the first professional win for the young Burns, who has shown flashes of being another budding star on TOUR. He had come close several times this season, so it is great to see him finally break through on what appears to be the first of many wins in his career.
The TOUR heads north to North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. This will be the first of two stops before the second major of the year. Many of the top names are set to tee it up this week as they look to hone in on their games before the PGA Championship.
Several top players got a good head start this past week at the Valspar and will look to carry that momentum into Charlotte. Let’s see who stands out as early buys based on their strokes gained data from Innisbrook.
Buys for Wells Fargo Championship
There is no doubt that Justin Thomas is the top buy heading into the week at Quail Hollow. Thomas commented early in the Valspar that he felt he would’ve been winning if not for a balky putter. The numbers bear that out, as he led the field in strokes gained tee to green, gaining more than 13 strokes on the field across the week. His ball striking was great for the week. Thomas gained more than a stroke per round on approach and off the tee.
Thomas now heads to Charlotte to a course that he has a great history on, with two top-10 finishes in this event. Quail Hollow was also the site of his 2017 PGA Championship victory. The stars certainly seem to be aligned for a big week from Thomas at the Wells Fargo.
Another player that is rolling into a course where he has some great memories is Max Homa. He will return to Quail Hollow this week as the defending champion, having closed his first TOUR win out back here in 2019.
Homa was in contention coming into the final round at the Valspar, but it wasn’t the Sunday he wanted. He couldn’t seem to get any putts to drop and his only birdie came on the opening hole, after which the leaders quickly pulled away.
Despite the finish, it was still a great week for the Californian. He gained more than one and a half strokes ball striking per round, which was buoyed by four strokes gained on approach in his third round. Homa will look to carry this good play into another top finish this week. With the stats to back it up, he’s an easy buy heading to a course we know he likes.
It was really good to see Viktor Hovland bounce back a bit this week. He had been in a bit of a lull in all aspects but climbed his way to a third-place finish thanks to his ball striking being much more of what we have come to expect from the young Norwegian.
Hovland gained nearly five strokes on the field with his irons last week and had his tee game dialed in for three of the four rounds. I have to think the big course at Quail Hollow will set up to be a great fit for Hovland, and we should see him in contention this week as he continues to dial in his game.
Valspar Championship Final Strokes Gained Data (Avg/Rd)
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