2022 Wells Fargo Championship Final Round Buys & Fades: Back Keegan Bradley to Win on Sunday
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Bradley
- The final round of the Wells Fargo Championship takes place Sunday.
- There are numerous ways to bet the final round, so whom should you buy and who should you fade?
- Chris Murphy shares his best bets below.
The third round at the Wells Fargo Championship played out about as expected as the rain and wind caused havoc throughout the day, leading to the sixty-five cutmakers playing TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm 3.66 shots over par. Just four players had under par rounds Saturday, including new leader Keegan Bradley, who posted the round of the day.
Bradley’s 3-under 67 vaulted him into the lead by two shots over Max Homa, who overtook Jason Day on the front nine and was cruising until back-to-back bogeys just after the turn. Bradley’s round swung two shots in that same stretch with improbable birdies on the 11th and 12th, which gave him a solo lead that he would hold the rest of the way.
Those two will play from the final pairing on Sunday and it appears they will finally get a reprieve from the weather in their last round. It’s still not a two-man race, however. Just four shots, which can be erased in a hurry with all of the trouble around this course, separate the lead and third place.
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.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
I wrote up Keegan Bradley as one of my pre-tournament buys to start the week, but when odds were released, I simply couldn’t get to him. I’m obviously regretting that now as he appears to be the likely and rightful winner on Sunday.
Bradley has been so good on the greens across the first three rounds that I now have to accept he may just have the stroke this week — even if I did try to fade him yesterday. The key now is not only the hot putter he has going, but he has also brought back his sharp ball striking as he gained 3.67 shots on the field in that category. He will be tough to beat if he brings that form on Sunday and, for that reason, I am predicting he gets it done. The good news is that we are getting quite a discount to bet him now. He is out to +135 on FanDuel, implying at 42% win probability when DataGolf has him with a 54% chance to win on Sunday. He’s not getting the respect he deserves heading into the final round, which makes him a solid buy going into Mother’s Day.
I usually fade one of the players in the final pairing when I plant my flag for a winner, but I’m not going to do that this time. Max Homa was another one of my pre-tournament picks and he ended up being the player I bet before things got started. I’m not just going for the “homer” angle here though, but rather an overall view of this final pair. I don’t see both of them playing poorly enough for players further down to get involved for the win. Both guys are elite ball strikers who have shown that form all week, and unless that fades for both, it will be hard for others to really be in the hunt to win this Wells Fargo Championship.
Homa was the best player in the field across the opening nine holes on Saturday as he steadily navigated the course, but just couldn’t get some key birdie opportunities to drop. It ended up biting him. Instead of having some shots to work with, he was even par when he lost shots at the difficult 11th and again at the par-3 12th. Still, he’s a three time winner on TOUR and has shown the instincts necessary to get it done when it matters the most and I believe he will be up for a duel with Bradley on Sunday even if I think he may fall short.
The player I really considered taking a shot on was Rory McIlroy. He also posted one of the few under-par rounds on Saturday, but will start the day six shots back. If there is a time where both Bradley and Homa stumble, we certainly could see McIlroy make a move like he did on Sunday at the Masters. He’s not quite long enough for me to take the gamble that he can bring home the trophy, but we have to be encouraged by his play heading into the second major of the year.
McIlroy gained more than a shot on the field in every metric in the bag on Saturday as he had everything working. He didn’t allow the conditions to get to him and if he can do it again on Sunday, there could be a low round in store. I’ll be in on Rory in matchups and every other place available, but at +1700, it’s just not long enough for me to bite.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
It’s hard to fault anyone for poor play on Saturday at TPC Potomac. The conditions were awful and it led to plenty of elements of luck in controlling the ball from splashing fairways and rough. Since I have to find a fade on someone for Sunday, I’ll start with a double down on James Hahn.
Hahn was really poor again with his ball striking, losing 1.76 shots to the field on approach. He made up for it by being an absolute magician from the bunkers in the third round. He was left with difficult bunker shots on each hole from the 8th through the 11th and got up and down on three of those four. Even the one he didn’t was a sand shot he did everything he could with, but simply couldn’t convert the saving putt. Hahn’s issue as the weather fades on Sunday will be finding a ball striking game that can hit better than 38% of his Greens in Regulation like he did in Round 3. His recent form doesn’t tell me we can expect that. Therefore, he’s still a fade for me going into the final round.
I’ll also be fading Hahn’s Sunday playing partner, Anirban Lahiri. He made his move on Saturday despite some poor ball striking, but it was a white hot putter that kept him in the mix. He gained more than three shots on the field with the flat stick, making up for the half shot he lost on approach. Lahiri has been up and down with form this year. He certainly peaked at the Players and while he did better than I expected under that pressure, I’m not sure his game is in the same form to stay in the mix on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Matthew Wolff was a fade for me after his strong opening round as he was honest about his form coming into the week. It’s been good to see him keep his game together enough to stay within the Top 10 going into Sunday. I still have to put the fade in on him though as we have seen his iron play get progressively worse over the past two rounds and we know his ball striking can go awry in a hurry.
Wolff has struggled to finish tournaments in recent months as he hasn’t been able to hold the game together across four rounds. I have that same concern for him on Sunday as this is a course where a few errant shots will be punished in a big way. I would love to see him continue to progress, especially into a major that could suit his game, but until I see him really finish a week, I will continue to have my doubts.
Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3
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