In the final tournament before we get to THE PLAYERS, the PGA Tour lands this week at the Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Next week’s big event has all the best players in the world stateside, so we get treated to a weekend with a number of the best golfers in the world on hand competing. Which pricey golfers should you lean on? Which cheap options can help you out while giving you the room in your budget you need? In an attempt to help you narrow it down, here are a few golfers from every price range to target.
Rory McIlroy ($12,800) – The hard thing to do here was to decide which of the top 8 or 10 most expensive golfers not to include, because they are all enticing. So enticing, in fact, that it might be easy to convince yourself you don’t need the prohibitively expensive McIlroy. However, McIlroy will be looking for his third title here, so clearly it is a course he enjoys. He has won here twice before while leading the field in Par-5 Scoring, and currently, he is leading the Tour in Par-5 Scoring for the year. He is coming off a T10 at Augusta, and he is definitely looking to use Quail Hollow to make sure his game is tight enough to improve on that showing come next weekend and THE PLAYERS.
Phil Mickelson ($9,500) – He has never won here before… but he has six top-5 finishes. His price tag is just low enough that you don’t really need a win for him to return some value. Also, the fact that he’s missed the cut each of his last two times out should still keep enough people away that he could be a real boon for your roster if he returned to the form of a month ago, when he was working on a string of four top-20’s in five appearances.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300) – He has been inside the top-20 six times already this season (dating back to last fall), and since his win at the Phoenix Open in February, he has continued to show up playing well, carding a T6 and a T7 at the Arnold Palmer and the Masters, respectively. He hasn’t played since Augusta, but he managed even par on the back of 16 birdies, and if he shows up at Quail Hollow with a similarly sharp game, he’ll put up a low number – the only question will be how low everyone else goes at the same time.
J.B. Holmes ($9,100) – He won here in 2014, and he is playing really well right now, and that’s just about all there is to it. He has seven top-25 performances in 2016, including six all no worse than T13. He has averaged just about 17 birdies a round in those six tournaments, something he has accomplished mainly with a prowess off the tee that will be a differentiator this weekend if it continues (3rd in Distance of Measured Drives, and all drives, 17th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, 8th in % of yardage covered off tee on par-5’s, and on and on and on).
Byeong-Hun An ($8,600) – Last weekend’s showing, finishing T2 after losing in a playoff, was just further evidence that he can compete with the stars of the Tour. He shot 68-68-65, and propelled himself to #45 in the All-Around Ranking (top-50 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and top-100 in Strokes Gained: Putting categories). That indicates the kind of well-rounded game that is easy to trust – he’s played in five PGA tournaments in 2016 and made four cuts, averaging just over 16 birdies a weekend in those four performances, good for a fantasy scoring average hovering around 75 DKFP per outing.
Daniel Berger ($8,400) – He has been inside the top-20 twenty in all four of his last starts, and only T28 the week prior at the WGC-Cadillac. That’s five solid performances in a row, straight through last weekend, which was highlighted by a second-round 65. That ability to score has led to a DK scoring average of over 60 fantasy points a week over that five-week stretch, making him the kind of consistent player with upside you can turn to in any contest format right now.
Jamie Lovemark ($7,900) – His playoff loss last weekend was his fifth top-20 performance in 2016, and he does it by putting up plenty of birdies (15 or more in 5 of his last 6 and 6 of 8). That’s how he can end up with a 65 DKFP scoring average despite a few poorer showings mixed in. For example, he is top-20 in Par-5 Scoring so far this season, tucked right in there between Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth – and that talent is going to lead to very real red numbers.
“Any improvement on the 72 he shot on Sunday last year could easily see him jockeying for position atop the leaderboard”
Webb Simpson ($7,900) – He finished T2 here last year with a -14 that would have had him a share of the lead the year before. The 67-67-68 he opened with is something he’d certainly take again, and as someone with plenty of experience with the course, it could happen. He’s playing well enough right now with three straight made cuts to expect him to compete on a course he likes. And any improvement on the 72 he shot on Sunday last year could easily see him jockeying for position atop the leaderboard down the stretch once again.
Bryson DeChambeau ($7,800) – The missed cut last weekend probably went a long way towards thinning out any bandwagon that existed after his good performances at the Masters and in his pro debut two weeks ago. But the skill set he displayed in his two more successful showings would serve him well here this weekend. He has more than adequate distance (293 yard driving average), and his game is all about kind of control that can lead to plenty of scoring opportunities on this course.
“He has top-20 upside again this weekend…”
Jason Kokrak ($7,200) – Kokrak is #5 is Distance of Measured Drives on Tour, which means that when he is hitting the ball cleanly off the tee, he will be giving himself birdie chances, especially on the par-5’s – a must this weekend. He missed the cut two weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open, but he also has two top-20 performances in his last four. He has top-20 upside again this weekend, but with a floor low enough that I would be more inclined to look at him in a GPP.
Will Wilcox ($6,600) – He jumped from #98 to #80 in the All-Around Ranking after his T15 performance at the Zurich Classic last weekend, which he did while hitting 79% of fairways. That kind of accuracy will play well at Quail Hollow as well, where he could be consistently putting himself in a position to pick up strokes. And when he is playing well, like the last couple of appearances, he does well avoiding trouble, so he could be a solid choice in any tournament format.
Nick Taylor ($6,000) – There is downside whenever you’re picking a golfer this cheap, but Taylor has only missed four cuts in sixteen tries this season, which makes him safer than most in this range. He’s not quite as high as Kokrak, but he is in the top-50 in Driving Accuracy on Measured Drives, which should still mean he can put himself in a position to score on those par-5’s. With a T21 and a T36 finish in the last two weeks, he seems to be on his game, so you might as well take advantage now.