After a week at a new course with a weak field, we're back to familiar grounds (with a caveat) and a stronger field with the Wells Fargo Championship.
The caveat about the course is that we're at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm this week, a course that has not hosted a PGA Tour event since 2018 (the Quicken Loans National).
TPC Potomac hosted the Quicken Loans in both 2017 and 2018 and also hosted some Web.com events back in 2012 and 2013.
So, the sample is a bit limited, but it's more than we had to go off of last week with Vidanta.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Course Information and Key Stats
Golfers With Great Course History
Daily Fantasy Picks
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,160 (short: ~40 yards shorter than the average par 70)
Fairway Acres/Yard: 2.9 (narrow: PGA average is 4.1)
Average Green Size: 4,265 square feet (small: ~71% of PGA average)
Green Type: Bentgrass
Past 5 Winning Scores: -21, -7
Past 5 Cut Lines: +1, +4
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Driving Accuracy, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate
Okay, so, this is a shorter par 70, meaning only two par 5s on the course and thus fewer eagle and birdie chances. That's especially true with the par 5s playing tough.
We also see a low ratio of fairway acres per yard, and that has correlated, historically, with driving accuracy. It stands to reason, then, that driving accuracy is rated as more important here than at most courses. In part: it's very penal to miss the fairway.
We also see pretty tiny greens (TPC Potomac ranks third-smallest in average green size across 56 courses in my database). That is going to put an emphasis on precision both with the driver and the irons. When you miss, you'll need to get up-and-down (and it's tough to gain strokes around the green here primarily because of the bunkers).
A note on the disparity in winning scores: in 2018, Francesco Molinari (-21) dominated and won by eight shots over Ryan Armour (-13). Only six golfers were -10 or better that year.
In 2017, when Kyle Stanley (-7) beat Charles Howell in a playoff, just four golfers were -5 or better. We had windier conditions in 2017.
TPC Potomac also leads to pretty frequent approach shots from 175 to 200 yards, which correlates very strongly to strokes gained: approach.
Effectively, we want ball-striking this week while not ignoring the short game completely.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
I think it's a bit misleading to rely on two events of data back in 2017 and 2018, but you can check out past history at TPC Potomac at datagolf.
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their FanDuel Sportsbook win odds.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets
Unsurprisingly, it's Rory McIlroy sitting as the favorite this week at +750. He's a good bit overvalued there, per the simulations. It's possibly likely that because he's an event champion (at the Wells Fargo), he's a little shorter than he should be. He won at a different course (Quail Hollow) than he's playing this week.
I'm focusing on the second tier this week with Corey Conners (+1700), Tyrrell Hatton (+2800), and Russell Henley (+3200). All have the ball-striking to make the most of their four rounds this week.
Longer shots I like are Seamus Power (+3600), Sergio Garcia (+5000), Joel Dahmen (+7500), and Alex Smalley (+9000).
The model also shows value on Brian Stuard (+18000), Paul Casey (+4100), and Martin Laird (+15000).
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Wells Fargo Championship
All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Corey Conners (FanDuel Salary: $11,700 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +1700) - Whenever we're looking for ball-striking and Corey Conners is in the field, we should consider rostering Corey Conners. He's in the 82nd percentile in fairways gained and is the absolute best ball-striker in the field (while ranking 97th percentile in both adjusted strokes off the tee and approach). Conners, despite rating out poorly with scrambling, is about field-average in sand saves.
Russell Henley ($10,900 | +3200) - With the tight fairways and small greens, we should be open to golfers who hit fairways (Henley is in the 86th percentile in fairways gained) and who hit greens (Henley is 97th percentile there -- and 99th in adjusted approach play). He's a bad bentgrass putter, but putting makes up a little less of the scoring this week than in other weeks.
Others to Consider:
Rory McIlroy ($12,100 | +750) - Will be the chalk; a good play despite accuracy angle this week. Really good bentgrass putter.
Tyrrell Hatton ($11,300 | +2800) - Not very accurate but best golfer in field from approach through green.
Seamus Power ($10,300 | +3600) - Under-salaried simply due to flat field. Elite short-range putter and accurate driver; great bentgrass putter.
Brian Harman ($9,900 | +6500) - Harman's irons are a tick below the field average (42nd percentile), but he's hyper-accurate (88th percentile) and has a great short-game (92nd percentile in adjusted strokes gained: around the green plus putting). Harman is phenomenal on bentgrass greens and from within 15 feet overall with the putter.
Joel Dahmen ($9,300 | +7000) - With Dahmen, we're usually taking a chance on a great ball-striker (88th percentile) while being open to worries with the short game. Dahmen ranks in the 26th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: around the green and in the 6th percentile in sand saves. However, his putting is actually quite strong: 77th percentile in expected strokes gained: putting. I'm loving him at this salary.
Others to Consider:
Matt Kuchar ($9,900 | +5500) - Still relevant at the right setups; elite at finding fairways, getting up and down, and playing from sand.
Kevin Streelman ($9,600 | +7000) - Super accurate and due for putting regression.
Troy Merritt ($9,200 | +7500) - Plus accuracy off the tee (68th percentile) and ball-striking (59th percentile).
Russell Knox ($8,900 | +9000) - Accuracy and greens needed? Why not Knox? He's in the 96th percentile in fairways gained and the field leader in greens in regulation gained over the past 50 rounds. Just close your eyes with the short game stats, and you'll be all right. His putting should trend up, but that's not to say he's expected to dominate there (he should be losing -0.29 strokes per round as opposed to -0.52).
Martin Laird ($8,200 | +12000) - Laird, like Knox, also fits the accuracy-plus-irons archetype. Laird actually ranks in the 93rd percentile in this field in adjusted ball-striking (82nd percentile in adjusted strokes gained: off the tee and 95th in adjusted strokes gained: approach). He's field-average out of the sand, but like with Knox, the putting remains a big question mark. At least with Laird, the salary is even lower.
Others to Consider:
Denny McCarthy ($8,900 | +9000) - Should get bumped up at a course like this where saving par is key more often than not.
Mark Hubbard ($8,500 | +13000) - Accurate (75th percentile) and has irons (69th percentile); a good fit here.
Brian Stuard ($7,900 | +18000) - Has 99th-percentile accuracy with plus irons (63rd) and bentgrass putting (80th).