Wells Fargo Championship Preview 2022

Quail Hollow Club is preparing for the 2022 Presidents Cup so TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm will provide the pain and suffering this week instead. Mother Nature looks to have her say on Mother’s Day weekend as well so a difficult course will be even tougher!

In a cart, with a cooler full…


Wells Fargo Championship

TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

Potomac, Maryland

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Yards (per official scorecard):7,160
Par:70 (35-35)
Greens:Penn A1/A4 Bentgrass
Stimpmeter:12 feet plus.
Rough:Kentucky Bluegrass/Tall Fescue at three inches and rising.
Bunkers/Water Hazards80/7 (Water in play on 10 holes)
Architects:Ed Ault, Tom Clark and Ed Sneed (1986).
Course Record (last):62; Francesco Molinari (Round 4, 2018), Abraham Ancer (Round 3, 2018) and Kevin Streelman (Round 2, 2018).
Tournament Scoring Record:259; Francesco Molinari (-21, 2018).
2022 Purse:$9 million; $1.62 million; 500 FedExCup points.

Notes:

  • Field of 156
  • Top 65 and ties play the weekend.
  • First event since 2018 on this track.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerScoreComment
2018Francesco Molinari-21Won by EIGHT; bogey free 62 to tie the course record in Round 4; won for the first time on TOUR.
2017Kyle Stanley-7Defeated Charles Howell III in a playoff after making up four shots in the final round. Neither are in the field this week.

OAD

Spotter’s Game 2022

2022 EventsGolferPlaceTotal $$
    
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsMarc LeishmanT10188,000
Sony Open in HawaiiKeith MitchellT7227,812
The American ExpressSeamus PowerT14119,700
Farmers Insurance OpenJon RahmT3445,200
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmMaverick McNealyT3343,548
WM Phoenix OpenHideki MatsuyamaT8248,050
The Genesis InvitationalPatrick CantlayT3364,000
The Honda ClassicSungjae ImMC0
Arnold Palmer InvitationalRory McIlroyT13228,000
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipDaniel BergerT13327,222
Valspar ChampionshipKeegan BradleyMC0
WGC – Dell Match PlayPaul CaseyT6041,000
Corales PuntacanaEmiliano GrilloMC0
Valero Texas OpenCorey ConnersT3541,925
Masters TournamentJordan SpiethMC0
RBC HeritageMatt FitzpatrickMC0
Zurich Classic of New OrleansIan Poulter13th69,803
Mexico Open at VidantaDavis Riley5th299,300
    
Total Events: 18Top 10: 5MC: 5      $2,343,560
    

This Week – Wells Fargo Championship

The Green Mile is prepping for the Presidents Cup and is off the docket in 2022. The almost 7,600 yards (Par-72) of Quail Hollow Club will be replaced by the almost 7,200 yards (Par-71) at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

Why is anyone exhaling?

With two very difficult Par-5 holes, Par-4 scoring will have to be the angle this week but scoring won’t be my focus. Find as many fairways and greens as possible, take your two putts and get out. Scoring chances aren’t going to be plentiful because the course is hard.

Tree lined fairways with multiple water penalty areas and rough three inches and up will make for a long four rounds. Toss in thunderstorms and significant rain and this course expands in width but gains even more length. Hardly a putting contest but getting up and down will be required to contend.

With the PGA Championship lurking in two weeks, this will be a stark reminder that marginal shots will not be the formula at Southern Hills, The Country Club or St Andrews. Time to sharpen up and the winner this week won’t be faking much of anything around this demanding layout.

Good luck!

THE CHOICE: Tony Finau (+2800)

With most of the top players in the field this week burned by me already I’ll scramble with the big hitter who finished T2 last week. 63 on Sunday is the round of the year and best finish since his win at Liberty National last August. The skill set is tee-to-green with a plenty of ammo and that should play this week if he can keep it on the planet.  Should be full of confidence after leading the field last week in Par-4 Scoring and SG: Tee-to-Green. With around a dozen events left in the regular season it’s not time to be particularly picky.

Warm Blankets: The guys who should. Safe selections that will help maintain leads. Opinions on why or why not for this event or save for later.

Rory McIlroy (+900): If you’re on him you’re hoping for a repeat of Congressional  in 2011 when he blasted the field on a wet, long Congo Blue track. He’ll defend at the RCB Canadian Open in June if you haven’t burned him already.

Corey Conners (+2000): Burned him at Valero and of course it was his worst finish in forever. #URWELCOME. No Canadian has won the Canadian Open since 1954 so yeah. There’s no downside this week.

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2000): T18 or better every time he makes the cut in 2022 and this track should set up perfectly for him. Every time I type that he flames out on me. Accurate and a great putter despite Harbour Town, he’ll enjoy a tight parkland driving examination.

Russell Henley (+3000): In a vacuum I like him more than I do combined with his current form. There’s not one formula that trumps the other but MC-T30-T60 entering the week doesn’t fill me with the confidence others have in him. Throw in some blah weather and I’m walking away.

Abraham Ancer (+3000): Passed on the home game in San Antonio (back) and knocked the rust off with T42 in front of the home country fans in Vallarta. If he was healthy, I’m down to clown. Tread cautiously.

Spicy: This might be a week for sending out an “unknown” and saving a start. You just might get lucky. Or MC.

Tyrrell Hatton (+3300): Top 30 or better everywhere he goes. This was a tough lay down for me this week as I’m going to ride the heat of Finau based on my choices left. He gets better the closer he gets to the hole and there’s nobody better on the greens this season (No. 1 SG: Putting).

Sergio Garcia (+3500): Hasn’t been happening for the Spaniard tee to green and that’s where he usually excels. Family man is busy with kids.

Gary Woodland (+3500): Last five paydays are T24 or better with three top 10s included. The top 10s were on demanding tracks at PGA National, Bay Hill and TPC San Antonio.  Interesting.

Keegan Bradley (+3500): These are the weeks to rush him to the front of the line and watch him go. Hit T11 or better in four of his last six including T8 at Valero and T4 at Zurich. Yes.

Paul Casey (+4000): Last time I endorsed him he played two holes and WD. That was after his pre tournament WD at Valspar. Please, you go first. I’ll be over here hiding under the covers.

Webb Simpson (+4000): I don’t have the exact quote but it goes something like this: Charlotte is our week to entertain (as he’s a member at QHC) but Wyndham is all business. Not having a top 30 in 2022 makes me glad I’m holding on until Greensboro in August so he can heat up.

Jhonattan Vegas (+4000): Presidents Cup year and he’s been excellent minus a podium. It’s a tee to green week and he fits.

Max Homa (+4000): Another who has won at QHC and Riviera and that’s evidence the game travels. Cashing checks for fun this season.

Matt Kuchar (+4500): His game clicked into gear at a difficult Valspar and then rattled off back to back podiums after not qualifying for the Masters. Ride on, Kuch!

Marc Leishman (+4500): Familiar hunting grounds for the Aussie trying who is trending in the right direction. Class is permanent and so is his love for Virginia.

Keith Mitchell (+5000): See Pick ‘Em above.

Sepp Straka (+6000): Dream season is rooted in tee to green execution. Lovely longer shot this week.

David Lipsky (+7000): Last four starts = 3 top 10s. Top 51 in both Fairways and GIR. Kyle Stanley won this event in 2017 losing strokes on the greens.

Lanto Griffin (+9000):  Went to VCU and knows the area.

3 AM at the Blackjack Table: Caution is thrown to the wind. Maybe not the best for this format but what the hell, right? Might throw these in if you’re in need of a miracle.

Anirban Lahiri, Brendan Steele, Doc Redman, Nate Lashley, Beau Hossler

Funny Money :

Dylan Frittelli (+12500), Adam Svensson (+17500), Cam Percy (+30000), David Lingmerth (+60000)

Last Time – THE CHOICE: Davis Riley – 5th

Nice to pop back into the top five as it has been a hot minute. Kid can play and is a super putter. Racked up 22 birdies and an eagle to hover around the top 10 for most of the week. I couldn’t play Rahm as I pulled the trigger at Torrey Pines so I can’t complain.

Warm Blankets: The guys who should. Safe selections that will help maintain leads. Opinions on why or why not for this event or save for later.

Jon Rahm (+450): Is it easier to win this week in this field than a major championship of FedExCup Playoff event? Fantastic question, eh? This level of talent is good enough to run into one without the prep, mental and build-up as he would need for major week. The cynic in me also says he’s checking off one of the “I need to play a few new events annually so let’s do this one” box. WINNER in wire to wire fashion. Drought broken. There’s a reason he was the favorite at Southern Hills even though Scheffler is hotter than the sun. He still hasn’t put all four rounds together this season.

Abraham Ancer (+1600): It’s his open but he hasn’t been the best Mexican finisher at Mayakoba the last few years. That title belongs to Carlos Ortiz (read HFC). Ancer mysteriously skipped (gave no reason that I have seen) his “home” event at Valero and then fizzled at the Masters. If anything, he is rested and rearing to go to win national open.Mentioned after the event that his back still isn’t perfect but there was no way he was skipping this week in his native land.  T42.

Gary Woodland (+2000): Interesting ride for the big hitter this spring as he’s MC the big events and contended everywhere else. This week categorizes as everywhere else so I’d expect him to be in the conversation just like he was at Valero, Honda and API.  My buddy Chadders gave you the play by play on Twitter as he was the OAD choice of his stable. T24 adds another solid, solid finish in recent months.

Tony Finau (+2000): Quick! Name his last top 10 since his win in September. You can break him out! I’ll point out he’s won in Puerto Rico on Paspalum and has been decent at Mayakoba (a pair of top 10s). Smoke show 63 on Sunday for T2, his best finish since last September.

Kevin Na (+2500): Known for walking in putts gamers should remember he’s 11th Fairways and 61st GIR. That travels. And if he starts walking them in… Started his week with a confrontation with Grayson Murray on the range to try and settle their Twitter feud. Finished  T42. Murray was T13.

Spicy: This might be a week for sending out an “unknown” and saving a start. You just might get lucky. Or MC.

Cameron Tringale (+3000): The first one is always the toughest but he’s been flashing throughout 2022 that it’s coming. Four rounds of par or better (-7) T33.

Aaron Wise (+3000): One of just four to sit 30th or better in SG: Tee to Green this week. One of nine to hit the top 10; T6.

Patrick Reed (+3000): If there’s plenty of room to swing it off the tee and big targets to hit from the fairway, not many putt better. Interesting. Rolled into Sunday on 10-under, five back. Limped home Sunday night T42 after 75.

Chris Kirk (+3500): Only Rahm is better tee to green this week. MC. I made this mistake in my weekly game as it was down to him or Wise. I went with the stat as the tie breaker. Gambling, eh?

Aaron Rai (+5000): New greens for everyone highlights his abilities tee to green. Same as Reed, 10-under heading to the final round but 72 on Sunday stalled him out at T24. Made nothing.

Mark Hubbard (+6000): Fantastic form across both TOURS highlighted by a very solid short game. Big fairways and greens this week should keep him rollin’. T51 with a very active scorecard!

JT Poston (+8000): Closed 68-64 at Harbour Town for his best since forever. Narrator: It did not travel. MC.

Brian Stuard (+10000): Wrote about him plenty already. T42 and the solid play continues just not solid enough this week to cash. Sad!

3 AM at the Blackjack Table: Caution is thrown to the wind. Maybe not the best for this format but what the hell, right? Might throw these in if you’re in need of a miracle.

Scott Piercy – T33, Brice Garnett – T33, Tyler Duncan – MC, David Lipsky – T6, Nate Lashley – 11th

Funny Money :

Ben Griffin – MC, Bill Haas – T59, Camilo Villegas – MC, Roberto Diaz – MC, Carlos Ortiz (injury concerns) – T51

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