2021 Wells Fargo Championship Preview: Bryson DeChambeau Headlines Best Bets at Quail Hollow

2021 Wells Fargo Championship Preview: Bryson DeChambeau Headlines Best Bets at Quail Hollow article feature image
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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau.

The PGA TOUR season keeps on giving as we head to historic Quail Hollow in North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. We last saw this event played in 2019 since it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quail Hollow is a par-71 measuring 7,521 yards that features Bermuda-grass greens. The tree-lined, parkland style course can play quite difficult, and features one of the most difficult three-hole stretches in golf known as “The Green Mile,” which makes up holes 16-18 and features two mammoth par 4s and a 221-yard par 3. All three holes have an average score over par and water is in play in each of the last five holes on the course.

The field is excellent this week with 156 golfers teeing it up. Many of the TOUR’s top players will be here, including Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland and Sungjae Im.

Past Winners at Quail Hollow

  • 2019: Max Homa (-15)
  • 2018: Jason Day (-12)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8) (PGA Championship)
  • 2016: James Hahn (-9)
  • 2015: Rory McIlroy(-21)

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5 Key Stats For Quail Hollow

1. Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes gained: Approach will be extremely important this week as second shots at Quail Hollow can be very difficult. Any course that Justin Thomas wins on is a clear indicator of how important approach play is. This stat is an excellent measure of who is in the best form.

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Justin Thomas (+31.5) (+900)
  2. Corey Conners (+23.2) (+2800)
  3. Will Zalatoris (+20.2) (+3300)
  4. Viktor Hovland (+19.7) (+2000)
  5. Stewart Cink (+18.4) (+7000)

2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Quail Hollow is a long course on which it is important to play from the fairway. Both distance and accuracy are important, as shorter tee shots will result in approach shots from 200+ yards. With most of the holes heavily tree lined, errant drives will create some real trouble for the players.

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+26.8) (+1600) 
  2. Emiliano Grillo (+20.6) (+7000)
  3. Sungjae Im (+19.3) (+3500)
  4. Viktor Hovland (+18.1) (+2000)
  5. Jhonattan Vegas (+15.4) (+15000)

3. Proximity: 200+

The length of Quail Hollow is a major factor this week and will result in some very long approach shots. Additionally, three of the 4 par 3’s are over 200 yards.

Proximity: 200+ over past 24 rounds:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+40.1) (+1600)
  2. Max Homa (+25.9) (+4000)
  3. Keegan Bradley (+23.7)(+5500)
  4. Emiliano Grillo (+23.0) (+7000)
  5. Viktor Hovland (+22.4) (+2000)

    Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Viktor Hovland.

4. Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)

Strokes Gained: Putting has historically graded out as the most important statistic at Quail Hollow. While it isn’t always predictable, I do want to have it in the model to bump up golfers who prefer to putt on Bermuda. As we saw last week, you have to be able to putt when it counts to win on TOUR.

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Denny McCarthy (+24.5) (+12500)
  2. Zach Johnson (+23.5) (+16000)
  3. Sungjae Im (+22.3) (+4000)
  4. JT Poston (+21.2) (+25000)
  5. Chesson Hadley (+19.8) (+30000)

5. Par 4: 450-500

Quail Hollow features five par 4s measuring between 450-500 yards. The holes are among the most difficult on the course and will go a long way in separating contenders from the pack this week.

Par 4: 450-500 over past 24 rounds

  1. Sungjae Im (+13.5) (+3500)
  2. Justin Thomas(+11.6) (+900)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+11.9) (+1400)
  4. Lanto Griffin (+11.9 (+15000)
  5. Michael Thompson (+10.6) (+20000)

    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

The Wells Fargo Championship Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (25.2%), SG: Off the Tee (23.2%), Proximity: 200+(19.2%), SG: Putting Bermuda grass (16.2%), and Par 4: 450-500 (16.2%).

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+1400)
  2. Max Homa (+3500)
  3. Viktor Hovland (+2000)
  4. Corey Conners (+2800)
  5. Xander Schauffele (+1400)
  6. Emiliano Grillo (+7000)
  7. Sungjae Im (+3500)
  8. Cameron Tringale (+4000)
  9. Jon Rahm (+1100)
  10. Keegan Bradley (+5500)

2021 Wells Fargo Championship Best Bet

Bryson DeChambeau  (+1400): I rarely go to the top of the board for outright picks but DeChambeau feels like the right play this week. He ranks first in the model and does everything I am looking for in a golfer to win at Quail Hollow.

With many of the approach shots coming from further than 200 yards, it cannot be overstated how much of an advantage that gives DeChambeau. He ranks first in this field in proximity from 200-plus yards because he is coming into the green with a long iron, which can be said about very few other players. DeChambeau also ranks 13th in Strokes Gained: Par4 450-500, and plays those long holes very well.

The last time we saw DeChambeau, he really struggled at Augusta National, but it seems like that is just a course that has his number and is an outlier considering how well he was playing going into Masters week. With a fourth-place finish here in 2018, we already know Bryson has an eye for Quail Hollow.

When betting the top of the board, the first thing I look for is win equity; which is something DeChambeau has plenty of. He has six wins since August 2018 and being such a historian of the game, you can be sure he has his sights set on a victory at Quail Hollow.

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