It was quite the finish at the Mexico Open last week at Vidanta, where our second favorite Tony Finau topped favorite Jon Rahm by three shots thanks to a final-round 66 for his sixth PGA Tour title.
Finau now has to make the trip north to the infamous Quail Hollow Club for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship, where it’s all change from last year. Max Homa took the title in the one-year detour to TPC Potomac due to the Charlotte club’s hosting of the Presidents Cup. No golfer has ever defended a title win at the Wells Fargo Championship, but that’s not to say that Homa doesn’t know his way around the course, having won the tournament back in 2019.
It’s yet another designated event on the PGA Tour, with a huge $20 million purse up for grabs. Having taken a few weeks off, including a surprise withdrawal from the RBC Heritage after a missed cut at the Masters at Augusta National, Rory McIlroy is back to head the field at a tournament he was the champion at the last time it was played at Quail Hollow in 2021, one of eight past champions in the field.
The par-71, 7,538-yard Quail Hollow Golf Club is the perfect warm-up with the next major of the year, the PGA Championship, just two weeks weeks away. As ever, ball striking will be key on this undulating golf course, perhaps favoring the big hitters off the tee who can find the fairways with regularity.
That’s why it’s little surprise that the highest-ranked golfers usually make their way to the top of the leaderboard in North Carolina, although we are without Rahm and Scottie Scheffler in the field this week.
Let’s see which players FRACAS has chosen as its Wells Fargo Championship picks.
Who Will Win the 2023 Wells Fargo Championship? The FRACAS Golf Picks
We’ve already mentioned him, but it’s no surprise that McIlroy is our expert pick to take the victory at the Wells Fargo Championship. The Northern Irishman has a 7.2% chance of victory, according to FRACAS, on a course that has always suited his game. Back in 2010, he came from four shots back to record his first PGA Tour victory and showed his ability to go from tee-to-green with ease.
McIlroy has described his performance at the Masters as ‘extremely disappointing’ so the chance to shake that off on a course he knows well can only play into his hands. Expect fast starts from him in each round too. Across his career he’s 54-under par on the front nine at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship. He’s not too shabby on the back nine either, albeit it just 32 under. It’s little wonder all eyes are going to be on him this week.
His nearest challenge is expected to come from Patrick Cantlay (6.3%), who comes into this week with an exciting new acquisition alongside him in the shape of caddie Joe LaCava. Tiger Woods has given his blessing for his caddie of the past decade to jump onto someone else’s bag. That could prove all the difference for Cantlay, who missed the cut in his only previous appearance at the Wells Fargo Championship. However, he did go 3-1-0 in Team USA’s run at the Presidents Cup at the golf course last year – the additional of LaCava’s knowledge could be enough to get over the top.
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of big names also in contention for the title with Xander Schauffele (5.0%), Tony Finau (4.3%), Justin Thomas (4.0%), Viktor Hovland (3.9%), Collin Morikawa (3.3%), Sungjae Im (3.1%), Jordan Spieth (2.8%) and Tyrrell Hatton (2.5) rounding out the rest of our top-10 favorites. But it’s proving challenging to find anything in the way of value plays right now, especially with the sportsbooks all leaning towards the favorites with their Wells Fargo Championship odds.
Last year’s winner Homa has the 12th-highest chance of winning (2.3%), per FRACAS, behind Cameron Young (2.4%) but tied with U.S. Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick (also 2.3%), who has found himself a winner on the PGA Tour recently at the RBC Heritage – the last of the designated events.
Former champions Jason Day (1.7%) and Rickie Fowler (0.9%) provide a little in the way of other sports betting options, along with Gary Woodland (0.8%). But with this in mind, we are actually going to take you across to the DP World Tour in search of our best bets for the week.
Who Will Win the 2023 Italian Open? The FRACAS Golf Picks
The Italian Open is taking place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, which later this year will host the Ryder Cup. The FRACAS model believes it’s going to be extremely tight at the summit, with Robert MacIntyre (3.2%) the slightest of favorites over Antoine Rozner and Adrian Meronk (both 3.1%).
But it’s bonus bets you want to see, so it’s bonus bets we’re going to give you. How about having a look at George Coetzee as an outsider for this event? You can pick him up at around 100-1 right now, but our model is giving the South African at 1.4% chance of victory – 19th overall. The collection of three short and easy par 4s, along with a trio of easy par 3s, should make it easier for him to pick up strokes over the rest of the field.
A much more rounded option might be the Europe captain Luke Donald. As much as he will be making notes of potential matchups and lineups in Rome, especially on a course just made for matchplay golf, his all-round quality belies his 150-1 odds of success and FRACAS gives him a 1.2% chance of winning.
And if you’re looking for someone to potentially pull off one of the great top-20 finishes of all time, then Manu Gandas might just be your man. Is he going to pull off his 1000-1 odds of winning the tournament? Probably not. But our FRACAS model is giving him a 16.6% chance of finishing in the top 20, at much better odds than many of his nearest rivals.
He’s similar in playing style to Coetzee – if he connects it all together over four rounds with a hot putter, who knows, we might have a new golf betting darling on our hands.