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2024 PGA Tour Preview: Wells Fargo Championship

One week before the season's second major, the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina to play the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The sixth signature event of the year is the first since the RBC Heritage in mid-April. The Wells Fargo Championship will see most of the top PGA-aligned players in action.

Chris Gallagher and Everett Davidson contributed to this article.

The Course

Quail Hollow is well-known by the players, and the course hosted the 2017 PGA Championship and 2022 Presidents Cup, and it will host the PGA Championship again in 2025. The course ranks among the most challenging courses on the PGA Tour each year, but it provides a fair test, and players relying more on accuracy than pure power tend to have strong showings here. Wyndham Clark is the defending champion, and he broke the tournament scoring record in the process, finishing at 19-under, four strokes clear of runner-up Xander Schauffele. Clark used his ball-striking ability to stay out of trouble all week, which will also be paramount for this week's winner.

The Field

The final tune-up before the PGA Championship at Valhalla is the Tour's annual stop at Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club this weekend. The sixth signature event of the season, the tournament will feature a limited field of 69 players who will compete for a total purse of $20 million, with the winner receiving $3.6 million. This includes current world number two Rory McIlroy. Fresh off a win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside his partner Shane Lowry, the three-time Major Champion has had a strong track record at the Wells Fargo throughout his career. He has five top-fives and eight top ten finishes, including a victory in 2011. Rounding out the field are names hoping to return to the winner's circle, including Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Cameron Young.

Chris' Wells Fargo Championship Picks

Favorite: Wyndham Clark

Clark, the defending champion at the Wells Fargo, carded a final round 68 to edge out Xander Schauffele by four strokes for his first PGA Tour victory. He has since gone on to have one of the hottest stretches in golf over the last 12 months. The Denver, Colorado, native captured the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club. Furthermore, he also won a signature event at the AT&T Pebble Beach in February before finishing second to Scottie Scheffler at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The PLAYERS Championship. With the game to attack the longer driver-heavy layout at Quail Hollow, Clark ranks sixth in driving distance (312.2), second in Strokes Gained: Total (1.78), and fifth in par five scoring average (4.44).  

Favorite: Patrick Cantlay

Beginning to round into form after a slow start to his 2024 season, Cantlay finished T4 at The Genesis Invitational in February. The 32-year-old also grabbed a T3 at the RBC Heritage a week ago. Remaining one of the best iron players in the world, the eight-time PGA Tour winner has gained strokes against the field in ball striking in each of his last two events. Furthermore, he ranks 26th in Approach shots from greater than 200 yards (48' 1") and 80th in putting average (1.754). With an up-and-down track record at Quail Hollow throughout his career, Cantlay is coming off a T21 at the tournament a year ago, in his best showing at the event to date.   

Sleeper: Sahith Theegala

Still searching for his first victory since the Fortinet Championship last September, Theegala has come close at each signature event to begin 2024. He finished runner-up at The Sentry Tournament of Champions and the RBC Heritage a week ago. Furthermore, the Pepperdine University product also placed T6 at The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Setting up to score well at Quail Hollow over his last 30-plus rounds, he ranks 10th in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 17th in Greens in Regulation. Moreover, the 26-year-old is also an outstanding putter. He has had two runner-up finishes over his last nine events on Bermudagrass greens. Currently listed at +2800 to capture the victory, bet on Theegala to be among the final groups on Sunday afternoon. 

Everett's Valero Texas Open Picks

Favorite: Rory McIlroy

McIlroy comes into the Wells Fargo Championship with the best odds out of any player, and he is coming off a win with Shane Lowry at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in his most recent start. Quail Hollow is one of McIlroy's best courses on the PGA Tour, as he has three wins in the tournament, including his first start at the tournament in 2010, which also was his first win in the United States. In 12 starts at Quail Hollow, McIlroy has only missed the cut once and has only finished outside the top 10 twice (other than his missed cut in 2011). Next week, the PGA Championship returns to Valhalla, where McIlroy won his most recent major championship in 2014, and a win this week would almost undoubtedly turn him into a favorite to win next week.

Favorite: Max Homa

Homa has two wins in six starts at Quail Hollow, but if he hasn't won the tournament, he has generally not played well, with a T8 last year seeming to be an outlier; in his other three starts, he missed the cut twice and finished T76 in 2015. Ranked 10th in the world coming into the tournament, Homa hasn't won since the Farmers Insurance Open last year, but he has played well to start the year, with six top-25s and two top-10s in 10 starts being highlighted by a T3 finish at the Masters last month. Homa clearly likes Quail Hollow, and if he is in contention entering Sunday, watch out for him to win, as he knows how to get it done.

Sleeper: Jason Day

Day won here in 2018, and despite falling into a slump afterward, Day has rebounded over the last two years, finally breaking his winless stretch at the Byron Nelson last year. Quail Hollow has traditionally been one of Day's better courses, with five top-25 finishes in seven starts at the Wells Fargo. Day played well to start the year, as he had three top-10s and four top-25s, along with nine made cuts in 11 starts. He hasn't finished in the top 10 since the Genesis Invitational in February, but he has still played decently since then, with five made cuts in six starts, highlighted by a T18 finish at the RBC Heritage. If Day can find himself in contention on Sunday, he can win, and he has done it here before.

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