The Punter

Wells Fargo Championship: Rory and Max backed at Quail Hollow

Golfer Wyndham Clark
Wyndham Clark after his Wells Fargo win 12 months ago

The PGA Tour stops off in North Carolina for the 21st edition of the Wells Fargo Championship and our man has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start here...

Tournament History

The Wells Fargo Championship was first staged in 2003 but the tournament was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic so this is the 21st edition and it's the 19th time it's been staged at Quail Hollow.

The 2017 edition was staged at Eagle Point because Quail Hollow hosted the US PGA Championship that year (won by Justin Thomas) and the 2022 edition was played at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm because Quail hosted the Presidents Cup that year.

Now a Signature Event, the Wells Fargo Championship has established itself as one of the strongest tournaments on the PGA Tour.


Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

Course Details

Par 71 -7,538 yards
Stroke Index in 2023 -71.23

Designed by George Cobb in 1961 and built on a former dairy farm, Quail Hollow was the host course for the Kemper Open between 1969 and 1979.

The course underwent an extensive renovation by Tom Fazio in 1997, well in advance of the first edition of this event, and there were several changes to the course prior to the 2013 and 2014 editions. And further changes were made to the venue prior to the US PGA Championship in 2017.


The 14th is the easiest par four on the track and the 15th is the easiest of the three par fives and the easiest hole on the track but the last three holes have always played tough.

Known as the "Green Mile", they were the hardest three holes on the course in 2019, averaging 0.78 strokes over-par and the 16th and 18th were the toughest two last year. The 17th ranked as the fifth hardest and the three holes combined averaged 0.75 over-par in 2023.

Weather Forecast

TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 12:30 on Thursday.

Last Eight Winners with Pre-event Prices

2023 - Wyndham Clark -19 100.099/1
2022 - Max Homa -8 46.045/1 (Played at TPC Potomac)
2021 - Rory McIlroy -10 21.020/1
2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Max Homa -15 1000.0999/1
2018 - Jason Day -12 23.022/1
2017 - Brian Harman -10 120.0119/1 (Played at Eagle Point)
2016 - James Hahn -9 1000.0999/1
2015 - Rory McIlroy -21 4.67/2

What Will it Take to Win the Wells Fargo?

Length has always been an important asset at Quail Hollow (Jim Furyk in 2006 is the only course winner to rank worse than 28th for Driving Distance).

Last year's winner, Wyndham Clark, ranked 20th for Driving Distance, the 2019 winner, Max Homa ranked 22nd and James Hahn ranked 23rd when he won here eight years ago but Justin Thomas ranked first at the US PGA Championship in 2017 and the two winners before Hahn in this event, Rory McIlroy and J.B Holmes, also ranked number one for DD the week they won. Jason Day ranked 14th in 2018 and Rory ranked second in 2021.

Wyndham Clark wins the Wells fargo.jpg

Clark ranked 63rd for Driving Accuracy 12 months ago, McIlroy ranked only 76th in 2021, and Homa only ranked 45th here six years ago so distance is clearly more important than accuracy off the tee.

Historically, Greens In Regulation and Scrambling were the two main stats to concentrate on but I'd favour the latter stat now, although Clark did hit more greens than anyone else last year.

Looking back, ten of the first 13 winners ranked inside the top-12 for GIR but three of the last seven winners have ranked outside the top-20 for GIR.

Rory ranked third in 2021 and the first four home ranked third, first, tied seventh and tied seventh but Homa ranked 17th in 2019 and in 2018, Day manged to win ranking 69th!

The first three home in 2014 ranked inside the top-six for Scrambling and it was a similar story 12 months later with only one player inside the top-eight ranking worse than 16th for Scrambling. Hahn only ranked 53rd in 2016 but the last four course winners, Day, Homa, Rory and Clark, have ranked second, second, first and sixth for Scrambling.

Putting has been key at Quail Hollow of late. Hahn ranked fifth for Putting Average when he won this event eight years ago, Thomas ranked second for P.A when winning the US PGA here in 2017, Homa and Day both ranked first and the first six home last year ranked eighth, fifth, ninth, 11th, first and 50th. Tommy Fleetwood (50th) was the only player in the top-six to putt poorly.

Rory only ranked 20th in 2021 but just like Clark last year, he ranked third for Strokes Gained Putting.

Is There an Angle In?

When staged at the Golf Club of Houston between 2003 and 2018, the Houston Open used to correlate very nicely with this event, but that tournament has moved to Memorial Park now.

Vijay Singh, Anthony Kim and J.B Holmes all won here at Quail Hollow and at the Golf Club of Houston and Houston winners Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and even D.A Points have come very close to taking this title as well but form at Riviera looks like our best angle in now.

Clark missed the cut there this year and his Riviera figures read an ordinary 17-8-33-MC but he still boosts the link given he sat second after rounds one and two on debut in 2020 and the man he duelled with here 12 months ago, Xander Schauffele, who was matched at a low of 1.434/9 before finishing second to Clark, was fourth at Riviera in February.

When Max Homa won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in 2021, he became the third winner of that event in six years to have also won this event at Quail Hollow. Hahn and Holmes have also won both events and all three were matched at a triple-figure price before the off at Riviera. Holmes was matched at a high of 400.0399/1, Hahn was an unconsidered 600.0599/1 chance in 2015 and Homa was matched at a high of 120.0119/1.

Holmes was an 85.084/1 chance when he won here ten years ago and Homa and Hahn won here having both been matched at 1000.0999/1 before the off so it's not like we're looking at three well-fancied players winning both events so that looks like a very interesting angle in.

Homa finished second at Riviera last year, two years after he'd won there, and we've seen three men win the Genesis multiple times in the last 15 years. Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott have both won it twice and Bubba Watson three times. Mickelson and Watson have both finished second at Quail Hollow and Scott was third in 2006. It's a very solid course correlation.

Is There an Identikit Winner?

The roll of honour here is a real mixed bag. Major winners David Toms, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Clark (who won the US Open after he'd won here) have all won the title and we've seen several really top-class winners too, but this event has produced four separate results that have had us all scratching our heads.

The 2004 edition saw 200/1201.00 shots Joey Sindelar and Aaron Oberholser playoff to decide the outcome, in 2013, 1000.0999/1 shot, Derek Ernst, beat 350.0349/1 chance, David Lynn, in extra time, eight years ago, another player matched at 1000.0999/1 before the off, Hahn, beat 600.0599/1 shot, Roberto Castro, in a playoff, and as already stated, Homa was 1000.0999/1 when he won here four years ago, with 140.0139/1 shot, Joel Dahman, the only other player to trade at odds-on.

Clark is now the third best player on the planet but this was his first victory on the PGA Tour and he was matched at 300.0299/1 when the market first opened.

As many as three of the last nine winners have gone off at 1000.0999/1 so if you fancy a rank outsider here, don't be afraid to go for it.

Winner's Position and Price Pre-Round Four

2023 - Wyndham Clark led by two 2.226/5
2022 - Played at TPC Potomac
2021 - Rory McIlroy tied second, trailing by two 3.55/2
2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Max Homa tied for the lead with two others 9.617/2
2018 - Jason Day led by two 1.8810/11
2017 - Played at Eagle Point
2016 - James Hahn T3rd, trailing by two 16.015/1
2015 - Rory McIlroy led by four 1.132/15

In-Play Tactics

The 2018 and 2019 winners both sat tied for 17th and just three and four off the lead, they both sat second at halfway, just one off the lead, and they were both in front with a round to go. Homa was tied for the lead with Joel Dahmen and Jason Dufner and Day led by two, and Clark was up with the pace all week last year.

He sat tied for seventh and just two off the lead after round one and he was tied for the lead at halfway before going two clear with a round to go but he was just the second man to be leading or co-leading at halfway and go on to win here since the Wells Fargo Championship was first staged 21 years ago.

The only other man to achieve the feat is Tiger Woods and 27 others have failed so a slow start can definitely be overcome at Quail Hollow and halfway leaders are highly unlikely to represent value.

Justin Thomas sat tied for 44th and six back after round one in the USPGA and he was still five adrift at halfway. Hahn and Castro (first and second in 2016) were five and six back after round one and Hahn still trailed by five in a tie for 13th at halfway. The two winners before Hahn both opened up with 70s and trailed by four and five strokes and yet they won with ease. And one or two winners have come from a very long way back.

Rory McIlroy started slowly three years ago when he won the title for a third time, sitting tied for 73rd and eight off the lead but he was only two back in fifth at halfway and that was a lot closer to the front than when he first took the title.

When he won here 14 years ago, having only just made the cut, he sat tied for 48th and nine off the lead at halfway and he still trailed by four after day three but incredibly, he went on to win by four!

A total of 22 men have led or co-led through three rounds here but only eight have gone on to win and the likes of Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, Webb Simpson, and Zach Johnson have all failed to convert a 54-hole lead. The prize for the worst collapse goes to Sergio Garcia though. He managed to give up a six-stroke advantage in 2005 so this is not an easy place to make the running.

If you're trading in-running, watch out for the tough finish. Anyone safely in the house will have an advantage over someone tied with them with the Green Mile still to play.

I'll be back later today or tomorrow with a look at the market leaders and a summary of any pre-event selections.

Market Leaders

With the world number one, Scottie Scheffler, absent, and following the withdrawal of the world number six, Ludwig Aberg, due to knee soreness, the three-time Wells Fargo winner, Rory McIlroy, has hardened at the head of the market, and rightly so.

Rory arrives fresh after a week off following victory in the Zurich Classic alongside Shane Lowry, where he was most definitely the strongest part of the partnership.

This is the start of a massive fortnight for the world number two, and he looks primed to make a bold attempt at emulating his feat of eight years ago.

Back in 2014, Rory won the US PGA Championship at next week's venue, Valhalla, following victories at Hoylake in the Open Championship and at Firestone in the now defunct Bridgestone Invitational.

He has a fantastic record at Quail Hollow and he's the worthy favourite to set up the chance of another historic hattrick at Valhalla.

Last year's runner-up, Xander Schauffele, has current form figures reading 4-25-2-5-8-18 if we disregard the disappointing tied 23rd alongside Patrick Cantlay in the Zurich last time out and I'm more than happy to leave him out.

Although an incredibly consistent player, as demonstrated here last year, and again in March at the Players Championship, where he'd led with a round to go, the world number four is often unreliable in-contention and that has to be taken into consideration when he's only trading at around 12/113.00 to win such a big event.

Schauffele and Clark at Sawgrass.jpg

The defending champion, Wyndham Clark, has had quite a year.

He lined up here 12 months ago on the back of a couple of disappointing performances in contention and he was still in search of his first PGA Tour win.

He'd sat second and just one off the lead at the halfway stage of the low-key Corales Puntacana Championship at the end of March but finished a disappointing sixth, and he and his partner, Beau Hossler, had entered the final round of the Zurich Classic tied for the lead before a sorry 71 on Sunday saw them slip to third.

Anyone that's watched the second series of the Full Swing will know that Clark's career has been turned around since he started working with psychologist and performance coach, Julie Elion, and he arrives at Quail Hollow to defend his title as a three-time PGA Tour winner, a major champion, and the third best player on the planet.

Clark has current form figures reading MC-2-2-31-MC-3 and the fact that he's attempting to become the first player to defend the title is the only sizable negative.


Rory McIlroy is a perfectly fair price at anything over 8/19.00 given how nicely he played two weeks ago.

He clearly loves the venue, and a fourth victory could well be on the cards.

Back Rory McIlroy @ 9.617/2

Bet Here

Max Homa finished down the field at the RBC Heritage last time out but that's hardly surprising given he was in-contention at the US Masters all week, where he eventually finished third.

Having won here at Quail in 2019, and again at TPC Potomac two years ago, the 33-year-old Californian is looking to win the title for a third time and his eighth placed finish 12 months ago shows his victory in 2019 was no fluke.

Back Max Homa @ 28.027/1

Bet Here

He's no bigger than 22/123.00 on the High Street so he's a very fair price at 28.027/1 on the Exchange following the withdrawal of Aberg.

Now Read my Myrtle Beach Classic preview here

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