• The PGA Tour returns this week after last week saw Tony Finau hold off the mighty Jon Rahm and earn his first victory of the calendar year at the Mexico Open. After being regarded as one of the best players on tour with only one win, Finau has put those demons to bed by acquiring four victories in his past 18 starts. Other notable finishes included a 4th place from young stud Akshay Bhatia and a T-10 from Korn Ferry Star Alejandro Tosti.

    This week the PGA Tour brings the elevated event field back after a two-week hiatus with the Wells Fargo Championship. Pat Mayo mentioned on his show that he feels these elevated events are starting to lose their luster a little bit and I tend to agree. With a major once a month now and multiple elevated events sandwiched between them, the fields are getting a little repetitive. This new schedule and payout structure was put together on the fly last year in a response to LIV, so I’m sure things will continue to be tinkered with and improve over time.

    One note when doing research this week is to take into consideration that the Wells Fargo Championship was not played at the typical host course in 2022 due to Quail Hollow playing host to the President’s Cup as well as 2017, when the PGA Championship was played here.

    The Course

    Quail Hollow is the host this week located in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is a tough test of golf with a combination of length and difficult conditions. Firm and fast Bermuda seeded greens as well as lengthy rough not only lining the fairways, but around the green as well, scoring is at somewhat of a premium here.

    The course plays as a par-71 that features four par-3s, eleven par-4s, and three par-5s. The course is fairly lengthy as mentioned previously, playing just over 7,500 yards. Water and bunkers aren’t major factors for trouble this week.

    Players will need to survive the tough closing three-hole stretch of 16-18 known as the “Green Mile”. These are three of the four toughest holes on the course and bogey or worse is not hard to do. Holes 16 and 18 are grueling 500-yard par-4s, while the par-3 17th is 190+ yards. Each hole averages an over-par score for the week and sprorts a sub 10% birdie rate. This helps produce some exciting finishes, as no lead is safe heading into the final holes.

    The Field

    156 players will tee it up this week with the traditional cutline after 36 holes of the top 65 and ties moving on to play the weekend.

    Some notable top tier names are skipping out this week (players are allowed to skip one elevated event during the season without a financial penalty). Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are the two most prominent names declining to play this week.

    Other notables not in the field this week include: Tom Hoge, Billy Horschel, Russell Henley and Justin Rose. Hideki Matsuyama is also missing this week due to injury.

    Key Stats

    Per Data Golf, Quail Hollow is the 6th most predictive course based on past results. So, along with the key stats below, I will take into consideration course history, as well as results from the two closest comp courses in my opinion of Torrey Pines (South Course) and Riviera.

    Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.

    1. SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. I will certainly be drilling down more on long iron play, but approach overall is still a worthy stat to consider this week.
    2. Driving Distance– The length of this course is a bear and short hitters can easily get lost in the mix here. The firmness of the greens here also rewards the bombers by allowing them to have shorter irons in and get more loft on their approach shots.
    3. Proximity 175+ YDS– Over 50% of all approach shots come from this proximity. I tend to look at long term form when it comes to proximity stats because a couple poor shots can really throw short term numbers out of whack, but it doesn’t hurt to see if a golfer comes in with great form with his long irons.
    4. Bogey Avoidance- With a good number of difficult holes, I am looking to target golfers who can keep it together on these holes and then strike on the easier holes.
    5. Scrambling- Firm greens mean a reduced GIR% for the field in general. This stat correlates well with the bogey avoidance as we want to target golfers who have the ability to get and down to save par when they do miss the green.

    Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!

    Round 1 Props

    Thrive Contest Plays for Thursday’s Round 1 Action

    Rory McIlroy 68.5 Stokes: LESS (110 PTS)- This is not the Masters so I have no hesitations about Rory starting fast on a course where he has won multiple times. Two straight missed cuts are not deterring me. Rory’s driving is the prototype for the type of golfer that excels at this course and there does not appear to be any weather splits we need to be worried about. Fire this one up with confidence.

    Sam Burns 70.5 Strokes: LESS (100 PTS)- Bermuda Burns is in the middle of playing some excellent golf and I expect that to continue this week. The greens here can be tricky for some but the Bermuda greens have been kind to Burns throughout his career, so I expect no issues there. Sam has the length off the tee and his iron play has heated up (coinciding with his better results). An under-par start for Burns is something I am willing to bet on.

    Max Homa 3.5 Bogeys: LESS (75 PTS)- I am excited about Homa this week (more on that later). A past champion at Quail Hollow, some of the early season shine has worn off after another middling result in a major (Masters) and a missed cut at the RBC Heritage. I am willing to bypass that as this is a better course for the skillset of Homa. He ranks top ten in the field in bogey avoidance, so I’m looking to attack this inflated line.

    Props Record YTD


    DFS Top Tier Play

    Collin Morikawa

    Salary: $9,800

    On the surface, it seems like Morikawa is having a down year. It is easy to remember the collapse at the Sentry to start the calendar year and a couple missed cuts in elevated events (API & Phoenix). Even the last time we saw him at Heritage, which was a course that is tailor-made for him, a middling 31st was the result. However, not many golfers can claim four top tens to their name this season, and not many can compete with Morikawa in approach numbers when he is rolling and that is why I am putting my trust in Collin this week. He has spiked with the irons, gaining at least three strokes to the field since THE PLAYERS and has strong performances on comp courses this year at Riviera (6th) and Torrey Pines (3rd). The putting is always a concern, and I have no evidence it will be any better this week, but the way the rest of the game is lining up, if we can get an above average putting week, I think we can get a lower-owned Morikawa atop the leaderboard while anchoring our lineups.

    Others Considered: Max Homa ($9,400), Rory McIlroy ($11,100)

    DFS Mid Tier Play

    Sahith Theegala

    Salary: $8,200

    Top 15 finishes in five of his last seven solo stroke play events, Theegala has continued to knock on the door of that first victory. He isn’t necessarily a “bomber” but he certainly has enough distance to contend here (ranks 35th in the field) and has gained off the tee in three straight events. The putting has also been fantastic from Theegala as of late, having gained at least four strokes to the field three of his last five. Sahith has shown he is capable of hanging with the top guns in elevated events this year, as well as showing up to a long difficult course for the first day and playing well (9th at the Masters). This time next year, I expect Theegala to be more than $8,200 in a field like this and like playing the upside.

    Others Considered: Taylor Moore ($7,600), Sam Burns ($8,600)

    DFS Value Play

    Joseph Bramlett

    Salary: $6,900

    I am going back to the well with Bramlett after a solid tenth place finish in Mexico last week. As I have mentioned before, when it comes to lower priced guys, I like to look for an elite skill since all of these guys have holes in their games. For Bramlett, his driver is a weapon and this course can provide a distinct advantage to bombers. Bramlett ranks top ten in the field with his distance and has a pretty good long iron game to go with it. Bramlett also ranks top 20 in the field in bogey avoidance so he will not bleed away (in theory) strokes on the tougher holes. The putter can go south in a hurry for Bramlett, but if we can get an average putting week out of him, I suspect he should do well at Quail Hollow.

    Others Considered: Seamus Power ($7,100), Pierceson Coody ($6,500)

    Betting Card

    Max Homa +2800

    Sahith Theegala +5000

    Keith Mitchel +7000

    Luke List +25000

    Collin Morikawa (Top 20) +100

    Seamus Power (Top 30) +280

    Kurt Kitayama (Top 40) +115

    Lineup Builder

    Position Player Name DK Salary
    G Collin Morikawa $9,800
    G Joseph Bramlett $6,900
    G Max Homa $9,400
    G Sahith Theegala $8,200
    REMAINING BUDGET $15,700 for 2 golfers


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