After a week off because of the Zurich Classic, a team event, the fantasy rankings are back for the Wells Fargo Championship.
The event returns to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., after being played at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C., last year because Quail Hollow was instead hosting the PGA Championship. The club also underwent some significant changes prior to the PGA, as the par was changed from 72 to 71, and the first hole was converted into a 540-yard par 4 and the par-3 second hole was completely changed. The fifth hole, formerly a par 5, is now a par 4.
Quail Hollow is now measures at 7,554 yards, though its final three holes remain difficult. “The Green Mile,” as that closing stretch is known, is one of the toughest on Tour. This week will test every facet of a player’s game, so looking at strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: putting will be helpful, as will par-4 scoring and par breakers.
Tiger Woods also returns after a three-week break and he’ll be joined in the field by past Wells Fargo winners such as Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, course horse Phil Mickelson and last year’s PGA champion Justin Thomas.
Here is a look at my top-25 fantasy options for this year’s Wells Fargo:
1. Rory McIlroy: Two-time Wells Fargo winner (2010, ’15) is making first start since T-5 at Masters. He has three other top-8 finishes at Quail Hollow and was T-22 at last year’s PGA.
2. Justin Thomas: So what if he missed the cut at the Zurich Classic? He hasn’t been worse than T-22 in any stroke-play event this season and he won last year’s PGA at Quail Hollow. Was also T-7 in Wells Fargo debut, in 2015.
3. Jason Day: Hasn’t finished better than T-20 since winning the Farmers and tying for second at Pebble Beach. But he was T-9 last year at the PGA and could’ve won it had it not been for a disastrous final hole that led to a third-round 77. In two Wells Fargo starts here he has gone T-22, T-9.
4. Phil Mickelson: In 13 career Wells Fargo starts at Quail Hollow, he has seven top-5s and four other finishes of T-12 or better. He did miss the cut last year at the PGA, but has enjoyed a resurgence this season with a WGC win and four other top-6 finishes.
5. Rickie Fowler: Had been struggling until runner-up showing at Masters. Won the Wells Fargo in 2012 and has three other top-6 finishes here, including a T-4 in 2016 and a T-5 last year at the PGA.
6. Hideki Matsuyama: Has gotten better every year at Quail Hollow – T-38, T-20, T-11 and then T-5 at last year’s PGA. Solo 19th at the Masters was his best finish post-injury.
7. Patrick Reed: Masters champ had gone T-2, T-7, T-9 entering that week. He hasn’t finished better than T-28 in four Wells Fargo starts at Quail Hollow, but he was T-2 last year at the PGA.
8. Tony Finau: Opened last year’s PGA with a 69 and has gone T-16, T-28 in two Wells Fargo starts at Quail Hollow. Owns a pair of runner-up finishes this season and more recently has finished in the top 25 in three straight events. Also was sixth with Daniel Summerhays at Zurich.
9. Louis Oosthuizen: He’s riding some good momentum with a T-12 at Masters and T-9 at Match Play, plus a T-3 alongside Charl Schwartzel at Zurich. And while he missed the cut in his only Wells Fargo start here, in 2015, he was T-2 at last year’s PGA.
10. Tommy Fleetwood: Teamed with Chris Paisley to finish T-4 at Zurich and individually he hasn’t finished worse than T-26 in five straight starts. No Wells Fargo starts to his credit, but he was T-61 at 2017 PGA.
11. Kevin Kisner: Has three MCs in five starts in Wells Fargo events at Quail Hollow, but was T-6 in 2014 and T-7 last year at PGA after holding 54-hole lead. In good form after runner-up at Match Play, T-7 at RBC Heritage and T-15 with Scott Brown at Zurich.
12. Tiger Woods: In his last two trips to Quail Hollow, in 2010 and ’12, he missed the cut. Before that he went T-3, T-11, win and fourth. T-32 at Masters snapped his streak of three straight top-12s on Tour.
13. Ryan Moore: Seventh at Valero Texas Open was his third top-10 this year. Was T-13 at last year’s PGA and also boasts two top-6 finishes at Quail Hollow (2012, ’13).
14. Brian Harman: Won last year’s event at Eagle Point, but he still has made four of five cuts here in this event, including a T-10 in 2013. Was also T-13 at last year’s PGA. Tour’s leader in top-10s (seven) was T-23 at RBC Heritage in last stroke-play start.
15. Webb Simpson: North Carolina native’s Quail Hollow record includes T-2 in 2015 and fourth in 2012. Was T-33 last year at the PGA. Coming off T-5 at RBC Heritage, his fourth top-8 of the year.
16. Paul Casey: Has had some time to regroup following missed cut at RBC Heritage. Was T-13 at last year’s PGA, which is a good sign considering he had gone MC, MC, T-41 in three previous trips to Charlotte.
17. Chesson Hadley: After MC in Wells Fargo debut in 2014, he has gone T-20, T-11 in two trips to Quail Hollow. His T-4 at Zurich, alongside Brice Garnett, was his sixth finish in the top 7 this season.
18. Francesco Molinari: Had been T-26 or better in four straight before solo 49th at RBC Heritage. T-17 in only Wells Fargo start here, in 2016, but also was T-2 at the 2017 PGA.
19. Alex Noren: Hasn’t teed it up since MC at Masters, though he does have three top-3 finishes this year. Never played Wells Fargo and was T-67 at the 2017 PGA, though he did post a second-round 69 that week.
20. Gary Woodland: Has struggled since winning in Phoenix, but maybe a return to Quail Hollow is what he needs. He was T-22 at last year’s PGA and T-4 at the 2015 Wells Fargo, and has cracked the top 25 in four straight trips to Charlotte.
21. Daniel Berger: Despite MC last year at PGA, he has gone T-28, T-17 in two Wells Fargo starts here. No top-10s this season, but he has notched five finishes of T-18 or better.
22. Brooks Koepka: Hasn’t teed it up in the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow but was T-13 at the 2017 PGA. His left wrist held up well at Zurich, but he did miss the cut and still needs to show more to warrant higher consideration in fantasy.
23. Luke List: Was T-16 in Wells Fargo debut, in 2013, and has been enjoying a nice season with four top-7 finishes among 11 finishes of T-26 or better.
24. Bryson DeChambeau: T-33 at PGA last year and MC in only Wells Fargo start here, in 2016, but does have two top-3 finishes in his last three stroke-play starts.
25. Lucas Glover: He hasn’t finished better than T-17 this season, but he also has missed just one cut. The 2011 Wells Fargo champion was T-33 at last year’s PGA and has five top-10s in 14 total starts at Quail Hollow.