Wells Fargo Championship: Holmes can solve Quail puzzle

J.B. Holmes can win at Quail Hollow for the second time in three years
J.B. Holmes can win at Quail Hollow for the second time in three years

Dave Tindall is back with his analysis and tips for this week's PGA Tour event - the Wells Fargo Championship...

"JB's indiscriminate bombing off the tee worked a treat two years ago when he went on to lift the trophy and end a six-year drought."

Main bet: Back J.B. Holmes @ 29.028/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places


Main bet: Back J.B. Holmes e/w @ 28/1

There are certain courses where J.B. Holmes' power gives him a serious advantage. If he's played well on them before, the Kentuckian has the all-around skill sets to cash in fully.

Quail Hollow is most certainly on that list and his indiscriminate bombing off the tee worked a treat two years ago when he went on to lift the trophy and end a six-year drought.

Before that, his only two wins had come on another favourite course, TPC Scottsdale. Holmes won the 2006 edition and, after a missed cut when defending in 2007, returned to the course in 2008 and won the tournament for a second time.

Hopefully, that exact same story will pan out this week. Holmes won the title at Quail Hollow two years ago, missed the cut last year (defending always adds other pressures) and is back this year to attack a course that sets up perfectly for his monster hitting.

The idea certain tracks play into his hands is further confirmed by Holmes winning last year's Shell Houston Open. There is some great correlation when looking at results across both events and it makes sense too given that they're both long courses where accuracy doesn't really matter.

It's also no surprise that, as well as the win in 2015, he's also finished runner-up in Houston (2009) and was T12 and T8 in his previous two cracks there.

He didn't actually play it this year but the 34-year-old has some seriously good form this year and his last seven strokeplay starts have seen him finish T13 or better in six of them.

That run includes a fourth place at The Masters - his best finish in a major - and T13 in Texas on his last start when he closed with a 68, topped the Driving Distance stats and was fifth for Greens In Regulation.

As well as his win here in 2014 (70-67-66-71), Holmes was also T9 in 2011 when shooting a third-round 65.

Interestingly, Holmes says the course doesn't necessarily fit his eye as a lot of the holes go left but he did say last year that he was able to hit his cut plenty of times from the tee.

Perhaps it's just a case of him arriving there in good form (he was T11 in New Orleans the week before he won in 2014 and also T11 in Texas ahead of his T9 at Quail Hollow in 2011).

Now world No.19, Holmes looks in the sort of shape to throw in another big title challenge at 28/1.

Rory McIlroy obviously loves this course having won twice (2010, 2015) and lost a play-off in 2012 but he's yet to defend a title in his career. Tiger was brilliant at that but Rory hasn't mastered the art yet so I'll let him go at 9/2.

Beyond Holmes, Rickie Fowler is a former winner and will want to bounce back after a poor Masters.

Phil Mickelson has a string of big finishes at Quail Hollow but has lost his way all of a sudden although I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit back this week.


Main bet: Back Daniel Berger e/w @ 40/1

Daniel Berger was in my staking plan at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last week and justified the rather cramped pre-tournament odds of 25/1 when jumping up to fourth at halfway after a superb second-round 65.

But that tournament all became a bit of a mess due to the constant weather delays and a heavily disrupted third-round 72 saw him end up in T20 as the tournament was reduced to 54 holes.

There were still plenty of positives though and that made it four top 20s in five starts for the youngster following a T10 on his Masters debut, a top five in Houston and a T11 in the Valspar.

I'm keen to follow him anywhere right now and this is a good opportunity given that his price is decent due to some big names in opposition plus the fact that he played the course well on his debut in the event last year.

Berger opened 71-68-70 and was in the top 15 after both rounds three and four. He fell away on Sunday to finish T28 after a 74 but overall it was a good first look at Quail Hollow.

This is an event where future stars have claimed their first victory, Rory making it the scene of his debut PGA Tour win in 2010 and Fowler scoring his big breakthrough with a play-off win in 2012.

I think Berger has it in him to become an elite player so it wouldn't surprise me at all if he threw in a massive title challenge this week.

The Houston top five is encouraging given the links between the two venues and he's had some good success on courses where hitting it longs counts for much more than hitting it straight.

Berger is 25th in Driving Distance but only 153rd in Driving Accuracy so that looks an ideal fit for Quail Hollow.

It also helps him that the greens here were swapped from Bentgrass to Bermuda after the 2013 event. As a Florida boy, Berger grew up on Bermuda and putts them well.

All in all, I'm happy to play him at 40/1.


Top 10: Back Kevin Chappell at 4/1

Like Berger, Kevin Chappell is also looking to join McIlroy and Fowler by making this tournament the one where he sheds his maiden tag.

I don't think he'll rise anywhere near as high but there's no doubt the Californian is playing some super golf at the moment.

Therefore, a decent way of cashing in on that is to back him for a top 10 this week.

In his last four starts, Chappell has posted T4 in the Valero Texas Open, T9 in the RBC Heritage, missed the cut in Houston and finished runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

In other words, backing him blindly in the top 10 market in that run would have produced a profit three times.

Chappell is 16th in Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green this season so is striking the ball extremely well. His putting isn't as reliable, especially under pressure, so that's why, for now, taking the compromise of a top 10 finish makes sense.

The obvious next question is does he have any form at Quail Hollow?

The answer is yes. The 29-year-old shot 66-73-74-67 to finish T16 last year and closed with a 68 to post T11 in 2014. He's not cracked the top 10 yet but he's been close and current form suggests there's a good chance he'll do it this year.

The 4/1 makes appeal.

Charles Howell is another possible in this market at 9/2.

As we know, winning looks beyond him these days but he's finished T17 or better in 10 of his last 16 events so he's constantly sniffing around the top 10 mark (he's landed it in two of his last five) on a regular basis.

At this event, it's a similar story as his last three visits have produced finishes of 38-18-10.

Another option is Kevin Streelman at 8s.

His three-year Quail Hollow form reads 9-14-6 and he's not too far away after T34 at Augusta National and T37 in Texas (12th with a round to go) on his last two starts.

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £480
Returned: £634.5
P/L: +£124.5

(After Zurich Classic of New Orleans)

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