Wells Fargo Championship 2022 Longshot Picks: Francesco Molinari Headlines 3 Sleepers
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Francesco Molinari.
- Rory McIlroy is an overwhelming favorite this week at the Wells Fargo Championship.
- Without much course familiarity at TPC Potomac, this could be a week where we get an upset winner.
- Shane McNichol breaks down three longshots he sees value in this week below.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Wells Fargo Championship odds via PointsBet
2022 Wells Fargo Championship Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+4000|
|Andrew D. Putnam||+20000|
|Bo Van Pelt||+50000|
|Dawie Van Der Walt||+50000|
Typically, the Wells Fargo Championship is held at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. With that track preparing to host this fall’s Presidents Cup, the PGA TOUR instead took a trip up the I-95 to TPC Potomac in Maryland.
It has been four years since the PGA TOUR hosted a tournament at this venue, dating back to the 2018 Quicken Loans National.
Following Jon Rahm’s win as a heavy favorite last week at the Mexico Open, Rory McIlory takes center stage against a field lacking many of his peers. There are a host of players in the top 50 in the world eyeing this weekend as an opportunity to compete for a win, but this course and this field also set up nicely for a darkhorse to emerge.
Looking further down the board, these three look poised to make a run toward the top of Sunday’s leaderboard.
Kevin Streelman +8000
Compared to the typical PGA Tour course, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm favors those who can keep the ball in the fairway off the tee.
The Course Fit Tool from the analytics gurus at DataGolf makes that quite clear. It also provides the courses on Tour that most closely fit that same profile. Looking across past performances at TPC Potomac and its near relatives, Streelman stands out as a player to watch this week.
That makes sense, given his placement in the top ten in driving accuracy so far this season. That’s nothing new for Streelman, who has always been a fairway finder and performed well on courses that demand that skill.
When this venue hosted the PGA Tour in 2017 and 2018, Streelman earned finishes of T17 and T32. The list of venues similar to TPC Potomac are a checklist of some of his other favorite spots. At TPC River Highlands, Streelman has a win, a solo second and two other top-10s. At Sedgefield Country Club, he has two top-10s, including last year.
Francesco Molinari +12500
When looking for a longshot, past performance on the course is a huge factor.
Francesco Molinari has played one tournament at this venue. He won that tournament, the 2018 Quicken Loans Invitational, by eight strokes, thanks to a door-slamming Sunday 62.
That’s a small sample size, but he’s worth a look at as high as 125-1. On top of that single week, he has historically been a very accurate driver of the golf ball. When he was playing his best, that was the hallmark of Molinari’s game. He ranked sixth on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy in 2017 and led the TOUR by hitting 77% of fairways in 2015.
If his swing can find that zone again this week, he should be in position to contend. That proposition is far from fantasy. Molinari has made five of his last seven cuts, with a top-10 at The American Express in January.
Sung Kang +20000
If you value history at the tournament venue more than recent form, Kang has to be on your card this weekend. He was one of just four players to finish in the top 20 in both 2017 and ’18 at TPC Potomac.
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm hosted the Quicken Loans in 2017 and 2018. Hosting this week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Players to finish top-20 there in both '17 + '18
Charles Howell III
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 2, 2022
Not only did he do so, he was in the top five in both of those tournaments. Go one step further: Kang finished T6 at a Web.com event at this course back in 2013. We’re digging awfully far here, but we need to in order to outweigh Kang’s recent play.
Kang made the cut last week in Mexico, finishing T51 for his first made cut after four straight misses. He hasn’t had a top-10 finish on any tour since the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020.
It feels unlikely he’d snap out of that funk and into the winner’s circle this week, but he’s an attractive play as a flyer given the odds, for a top 5 (+3500) or top 10 (+1600).