One week after Sam Burns picked up his first career PGA Tour title at the Valspar Championship, the world’s best head to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship.
Quail Hollow Club often plays host to a strong field, and this year is no exception.
Four of the top-five players in the world rankings are competing, headed by Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm. The other two are Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau, with only World No. 1 Dustin Johnson opting not to play.
This is just the second-last tournament before the second major of the season takes place when the PGA Championship heads to Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Speaking of the PGA, Justin Thomas won the 2017 iteration when it was held at this golf course.
The final three-hole stretch is dubbed ‘The Green Mile,’ a par 4-3-4 progression which has sunk many players’ chances at the end of the championship with difficult water hazards.
There are six Canadians competing this week, with all but Corey Conners (+3300) considered a long shot to lift the trophy come Sunday.
Conners is coming off a T-21 at the Valspar Championship, his worst stroke play event in his last six tries, as he’s had four top-10’s during that span.
Adam Hadwin (+15000) and Mackenzie Hughes (+20000) are considered Canada’s next best hopefuls to win their second PGA Tour titles, respectively.
Nick Taylor, who has two victories to his credit, is +22500 to add to his trophy case, while Michael Gligic is even further down the board at +35000.
David Hearn is the least likely of the six Canadians to win in the eyes of oddsmakers at extremely long +50000 odds.
Here's our first look at the field for the Wells Fargo Championship.
Betting Odds To Win 2021 Wells Fargo Championship – Top 15
Justin Thomas +1000
Jon Rahm +1000
Bryson DeChambeau +1400
Xander Schauffele +1800
Rory McIlroy +1800
Viktor Hovland +2000
Webb Simpson +2200
Patrick Cantlay +2500
Tony Finau +2800
Patrick Reed +3000
Will Zalatoris +3000
Corey Conners +3300
Joaquin Niemann +3300
Max Homa +4000
Abraham Ancer +4000
McIlroy excels at Quail Hollow
It seems hard to fathom that Rory McIlroy has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions, a span of 25 events.
He’s even been in a bit of a rut recently, missing the cut at the Players Championship and the Masters sandwiched between a T-28 at the Match Play.
However, when he steps foot on this track, it’s a soft landing spot for the Ulsterman.
He won his first PGA Tour event in thrilling fashion way back in 2010 here, lost a playoff two years later, then became the only two-time winner of this prestigious championship in 2015, when he set the tournament scoring record by recording a dazzling 21-under-par total.
In his last 20 rounds at this venue, McIlroy is first in total strokes gained, tee-to-green, ball striking and SG: off-the-tee.
In nine attempts at this tournament, he’s made the cut eight times, racking up seven top-10’s.
Before his recent rough patch, he did have consecutive top-10’s at the WGC-Workday Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, so it’s not as if his game is in total shambles.
At +1800, you can grab McIlroy at reasonable odds to claim the title.
Past Five Winners of the Wells Fargo Championship
2019 Max Homa -15 (3 shot win)
2018 Jason Day -12 (2 shot win)
2017 Brian Harman -10 (1 shot win)*
2016 James Hahn -9 (playoff over Roberto Castro)
2015 Rory McIlroy -21 (7 shot win)
*Brian Harman’s win was at a different golf course
FORE YOUR INFORMATION
Max Homa +4000
Defending champion Max Homa has had a prolonged stretch of success on the campaign, as he continues to get better and better every year.
This year’s Genesis Invitational champion at famed Riviera Country Club has posted six top-25 finishes in the last eight times teeing it up.
Included in that are four top-10’s, with last week’s Valspar Championship being a T-6.
Through 54 holes, he was just one stroke off the lead before Sam Burns pulled away for the victory.
In the last 24 rounds on tour, Homa is third in total strokes gained, seventh in ball striking and ninth in putting.
Homa’s odds are +4000 to win outright simply because there are plenty of other much bigger names that steal the headlines entering the championship.
Make no mistake about it, however, his game stacks up against many of golf’s best as the current 39th-ranked golfer in the world.
Diamond in the Rough
Aaron Wise +12500
When considering a golfer much lower down the board for either a surprising victory or top 5/10/20 bets, Aaron Wise would be a good player to look at.
In his tournament debut in 2018, Wise very nearly won, finishing runner-up to Jason Day.
That week, he gained over nine shots on the field tee-to-green.
Then in 2019, he had another solid showing at this track, posting a T-18 finish.
In that instance, he gained over eight shots on his competition tee-to-green.
He’s seventh in greens in regulation on the campaign, which bodes well for his potential success at Quail Hollow.
He has a runner-up finish this season at the Mayakoba Classic, and while he hasn’t been especially sharp since then, the 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson champion does have a T-13 three starts ago at the demanding Honda Classic track.
A triumph may be a bit of a stretch for the 24-year-old, but something inside the top-20 would still offer solid value for a player who nearly won here in 2018.
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