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Wells Fargo Championship Betting Buys & Fades for Round 3: Value on Tyrrell Hatton & Kurt Kitayama (Saturday, May 7)

Wells Fargo Championship Betting Buys & Fades for Round 3: Value on Tyrrell Hatton & Kurt Kitayama (Saturday, May 7) article feature image
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Oisin Keniry/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrrell Hatton.

  • With another day of poor weather on Saturday, Chris Murphy has his eyes set on three players to buy and three to fade.
  • Murphy likes the chances of Tyrrell Hatton and Kurt Kitayama being in contention as Jason Day may come back to the pack on Moving Day.
  • Check out Murphy's analysis and betting picks below.

It was a wet and sloppy Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship from TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. First-round leader Jason Day was not fazed though as he picked up right where he left off on Thursday, posting one of the low scores for Round 2. His 3-under 67 stretched his lead out to three shots over Max Homa heading into the weekend.

Homa did one better than Day on Friday with a 4-under 66 as they played alongside each other the first two days and will do so again from the final group on Saturday. Max is a shot ahead of a group of four at 6-under for the week, including recent TOUR winner Luke List.

Overall, exactly sixty-five players made it through the cut, and they’ll all be packed within 10 shots. Only seven shots separate second and last among those who made the cut.

The weather isn’t going to let up on Saturday either, and it may even get more difficult as winds are expected to be a factor. I don’t think we will see anyone pull away from this field, and things should get really interesting heading into Sunday. Let’s see who stands out to provide some value going into moving day.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high Strokes Gained: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

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3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3

As much as I like Jason Day and have enjoyed seeing him play well to start this week, I don’t think he stays on his current pace this weekend. I’m going into Saturday with an eye on the gap to second place when looking for bets as I expect we see the leader come back to the field. Having that in mind, I’m going to start my looks in the outright market with Kurt Kitayama at +2900 on FanDuel.

He’s being a bit disrespected in the odds markets as players who are multiple shots behind him are listed at shorter odds than Kitayama going into Saturday. They are guys with a bigger pedigree, but it’s hard to argue that anyone is playing better than Kurt through the last two weeks.

He has carried his runner-up finish from Mexico right into this week at the Wells Fargo, and there is no reason to think he will falter. I’ll take my chances on a player in great form with recent experience playing in the heat of the battle over the weekend, especially with the odds being offered.

One of those players with a bit more pedigree than Kitayama is Tyrrell Hatton, who is listed at +2400 on FanDuel.  Hatton shot a 4-under 66 of his own on Friday and moved into a tie for 10th heading into Round 3. His ball striking was sharp as he gained more than three and a half shots on the field in that category, spread equally across the two metrics.

His 3.87 SG: Tee to Green was in the top five of the field in Round 2, and he paired it with a sharp putter. He is a player who won’t be fazed by the weather this weekend, and if he continues to strike it well, Hatton could be a factor come Sunday.

Brendan Steele is too far out for me to consider for an outright from 2-under, but he has my eye in the top-10 market. He has played two really good rounds of golf, especially with his ball striking. He gained over four shots on the field in that category on Friday but was held to an even-par round as his short game let him down. He’s a player who will have my eye for a top finish this weekend as he sits just two shots short of the top 10 going into Round 3.

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3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3

It seems like once a year we get a James Hahn week with him right near the top of the leaderboard. Last year it was at TPC Scottsdale, and this year he is making a run for it at TPC Potomac.

Hahn moved up the board on Friday with a solid 2-under round to climb into a tie for third. His numbers have been good to start the week, especially on the greens, but I just can’t buy in on him. Hahn has missed the cut in seven of the nine tournaments he has played this year and is still searching for his first top-60 finish. His overall form just doesn’t give me anything to lean on to expect him to stay near the top as the pressure rises over the next two days.

One of my pretournament picks to play well this week was Keegan Bradley, but I can’t say I expected it to happen the fashion he has gotten it done through two rounds. He started with a tough even-par day in the better conditions on Thursday and opened with bogey on day two before turning things around fully.

Bradley made seven birdies on Friday to post the round of the day with a 5-under 65. He did it with a remarkably hot putter that gained better than four shots on the greens, following up the two strokes he gained on the putting surfaces on Thursday.

He’s a player who is frankly known for his poor putting as much as his elite ball striking, as is confirmed by his 151st ranking in SG: Putting this season. If he keeps rolling the rock like he has the first two days, he will be contending for the win on Sunday, but I’ll take the bet that his flat stick regresses to his typical mean across the next two days.

I mentioned in the lead up that the expectation is for the rain to continue and the winds to pick up on Saturday. Those factors will put a big emphasis on ball striking, and there is just one player in the top 15 who has lost strokes on approach in both of the first two rounds, J.T. Poston.

Poston has always been known for his flat stick, and that is certainly what he is leaning on after the first two rounds. I don’t necessarily expect that to slow, but if he doesn’t improve his ball striking, he may need to hole some big par putts to stay within the top 20. I’ll fade his ability to turn things around on approach this weekend with the added weather giving potential to expose his shortfall in that metric.

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Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 2

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