Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Wells Fargo Championship Tips 2022

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Congratulations if you were on-board Jon Rahm at 5/1 to win the Mexico Open. We were on both Cameron Champ at 50/1 and Davis Riley at 60/1 who both contended and landed each-way payouts for this column.

The Wells Fargo Championship is a staple, well-respected tournament on the PGA Tour. Traditionally played at Quail Hollow, 2022 sees the tournament move to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms as Quail is being prepared for the President’s Cup at the end of the summer. Rory McIlroy defends his title, with Abraham Ancer, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tony Finau playing from inside the OWGR top 30, on a course we saw on Tour as recently as the 2018 Quicken Loans National won by Francesco Molinari.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Wells Fargo Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, 6,100+ strong private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: It’s an interesting situation this week as the Wells Fargo Championship moves from its Quail Hollow spiritual home to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

Now this is a course we have seen on the PGA Tour as recently as 2017 and 2018, when it hosted Tiger Woods Foundation’s Quicken Loans National. Located pretty much opposite its famous neighbour Congressional Country Club, it’s a course with plenty of professional golf tournament history, and when it’s been played on the PGA Tour, has been pretty potent. The course has hosted PGA Tour, Korn Ferry and a Senior Major Championship in the recent past. From 1987 to 2004, plus 2006, this venue hosted the latterly named Booz Allen Classic which was a staple tournament on the PGA Tour. Winners included Lee Janzen (1995), Steve Stricker (1996), Justin Leonard (1997), Stuart Appleby (1998), Rich Beem (1999), Bob Estes (2002), Rory Sabbatini (2003), Adam Scott (2004) and Ben Curtis (2006).

Following the 2006 tournament, TPC Potomac underwent a significant renovation to bring the golf course up to today’s professional standards. Never a particularly easy venue, the layout was extended by circa 200 yards and the course now plays as a Par 70, whilst the small green complexes were converted from Poa Annua to Bentgrass.

TPC Potomac certainly showed its teeth when hosting the Quicken Loans National in 2017 and 2018. Kyle Stanley won at -7/273 when it ranked as the toughest non-Major on the PGA Tour in 2017, and last time out Francesco Molinari won at -21/259, although he did win by the mere matter of 8 shots from Ryan Armour. Rain in the build-up saw the course less fiery, but it still ranked as the 18th most difficult course on Tour.

TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms, Maryland: Designer: Ault, Clark & Sneed 1986 with Hardy & Wenzloff (2007) renovations; Course Type: Technical; Par: 70; Length: 7,160 yards; Number of Holes with Water In-play: 10; Fairways: Independence Bentgrass; Rough: Fescue with Kentucky Bluegrass 3″; Greens: 4,265 sq.ft average featuring A1/A4 Bentgrass; Tournament Stimp: 12.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2013: 69.84 (-0.16), Difficulty Rank 26 of 49 courses. 2012: 72.11 (+2.11), Difficulty Rank 2 of 29 Korn Ferry courses, 2013: 72.63 (+2.63), Rank 1 of 27 Korn Ferry courses. 2017: 71.46 (+1.76), Difficulty Rank 4 of 50 courses. 2018: 69.89 (-0.11), Difficulty Rank 18 of 51 courses.

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for TPC Potomac, and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • TPC Potomac: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:30; 300:27; 325:23; 350:27.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Oaks Course: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:34; 300:29; 325:27; 350:26.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • TPC Sawgrass: 250 yards from the tee: 31 yards wide; 275:32; 300:30; 325:28 350:20.
  • Bay Hill: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:33; 300:33; 325:39 350:29.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.

Course Overview: TPC Potomac is a pretty tricky golf course. Winning totals from the last 4 professional tournaments held here read -21/259, -7/273, -8/272 and -7/273. The first of those is Francesco Molinari’s winning total at the 2018 Quicken Loans National, where he beat Ryan Armour by 8 strokes. Armour at -13/267 was only joined by Sung Kang, Tiger Woods, Abraham Ancer and Beau Hossler in terms of double digits under par. Thursday was soft and greens were constantly watered due to 30 degree Celsius heat, otherwise this course has historically turned into a technical test.

Freshly extended since 2018 to a 7,160 yard, Par 70, the looks at the par-5s have been extended in 2022 to 641 yards (2nd Hole) and 591 yards (10th Hole) respectively. This course cannot be overpowered. It’s evident that the Par 70, which continually sped up across the Quicken Loans tournaments, is undoubtedly tough. With only a single reachable par-5 and with 3 of 4 par-3s measuring 190 yards and above, the short holes offer little respite either. Throw in 6 par-4s which measure over 450 yards in length and you can see why this was the venue for the 2010 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won again at a single-digit -7/273.

Green complexes here feature A1/A4 Bentgrass and at an average of only 4,265 sq.ft, they are particularly small. That’s noteworthy as so far in 2022 we have only seen Bentgrass putting surfaces at The Masters. A pair of metronomic fairways and greens in regulation characters in the form of Stanley and Molinari won Quicken Loans titles here, so it will be fascinating to see if that player type continues to prevail here at the Wells Fargo.

wells fargo championship tips

Wells Fargo Championship Winners: 2021: Rory McIlroy (-10); 2019: Max Homa (-15); 2018: Jason Day (-12); 2016: James Hahn (-9); 2015: Rory McIlroy (-21); 2014: J.B. Holmes (-14); 2013: Derek Ernst (-8); 2012: Rickie Fowler (-14); 2011: Lucas Glover (-15); 2010: Rory McIlroy (-15).

TPC Potomac Winners: 2018: Francesco Molinari (-21); 2017: Kyle Stanley (-7).

TPC Potomac Cut Line: 2018: +1; 2017: +4.

TPC Potomac Lead Score Progression:

  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -13; Round 4 -21.
  • 2017: Round 1 -5; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -7; Round 4 -7.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Course Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Corey Conners, Joel Dahmen, Russell Henley, Luke List, Russell Knox, Tony Finau, Ryan Armour, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman and Seamus Power.

Wells Fargo Championship Winners & Prices: 2021: McIlroy 18/1; 2019: Homa 500/1; 2018: Day 20/1; 2017: Harman 80/1; 2016: Hahn 500/1; 2015: Rory McIlroy 7/2; 2014: Holmes 66/1; 2013: Ernst 500/1; 2012: Fowler 50/1; 2011: Glover 110/1; 2010: McIlroy 66/1.  Past 7 Renewals Average: 170/1 Overall Average: 174/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2018: Thursday: Mostly cloudy. High of 86. Wind WNW 10-15 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny and hot. High of 90. Wind WNW 4-8 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot. High of 93. Wind SW 3-6 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny and hot. High of 96 with heat index of 105. Heat advisory issued from noon-8 p.m. Wind S 4-8 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Partly cloudy with a high of 90. Wind S 10-20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 92. Wind SSW 10-20 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high of 91. Wind SSW 10-18 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 93. Wind WSW 6-12 mph.

Weather Forecast: Latest weather forecast for Bethesda, Maryland, is here.

The weather looks a mixed bag this week just outside of Washington DC. The course looks pristine and there’s been a standard amount of rainfall in the build-up, so I would expect perfect turf conditions unless the heavens open Tuesday night into Wednesday morning – there’s a 50% chance of rain.

Conditions on Thursday look great with 20 degrees Celsius and no significant wind forecast. From there things get interesting with a good chance of significant rain on Friday with no electrical activity. The weekend looks dry, windy and cold though. North-westerly winds up to 25 mph look a feature of both Saturday and Sunday, with accompanying fairly low 12 and 17 degrees Celsius maximums.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Players Championship/MyGolfLife Open which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events. Players’ rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Brendan Steele; 2) Keith Mitchell; 3) Seamus Power; 4) Brandon Wu; 5) Kevin Chappell; 6) Anirban Lahiri; 7) Corey Conners; 8) Lucas Glover / Trey Mullinax; 10) Brian Harman; 11) Adam Long / Jhonattan Vegas; 13) Max Homa / Kevin Streelman; 15) Doug Ghim; 16) Tony Finau; 17) Rory McIlroy; 18) Matthew NeSmith; 19) Sergio Garcia / Matt Fitzpatrick; 21) Joseph Bramlett; 22) Sepp Straka; 23) Branden Grace; 24) Abraham Ancer / Ryan Armour.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Brandon Wu; 3) Corey Conners / Russell Henley / Max Homa; 6) Gary Woodland; 7) Austin Smotherman; 8) Cam Davis; 9) Joel Dahmen / Scott Gutschewski; 11) Stewart Cink / C.T. Pan / Matthias Schwab / Jared Wolfe; 15) Tyrrell Hatton; 16) Doug Ghim; 17) Brian Stuard; 18) Tony Finau / Doc Redman; 20) Keegan Bradley / Kevin Chappell / Sergio Garcia / Nate Lashley; 24) Matt Fitzpatrick / Kurt Kitayama / Martin Laird / David Lipsky / Rory McIlroy / Henrik Norlander.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Mark Hubbard; 2) Keith Mitchell; 3) Matt Jones; 4) Cameron Young; 5) Wesley Bryan / Rory McIlroy; 7) Jonathan Byrd; 8) Aaron Rai; 9) Paul Casey; 10) Matt Kuchar; 11) William McGirt; 12) David Skinns / Sepp Straka; 14) Keegan Bradley / Brett Drewitt / Seung-yul Noh; 17) Matt Fitzpatrick; 18) Andrew Novak; 19) Russell Knox / Patrick Reed / Matthias Schwab / Dylan Wu; 23) Lucas Glover; 24) Brice Garnett; 25) Marc Leishman / Brian Stuard.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Corey Conners / Keith Mitchell; 4) Rory McIlroy; 5) Doug Ghim / Russell Henley; 7) Keegan Bradley; 8) Sergio Garcia / Lucas Glover / Brendan Steele / Sepp Straka; 12) Matt Fitzpatrick / Mark Hubbard / Gary Woodland; 15) Max Homa / Anirban Lahiri / Aaron Rai; 18) Kevin Chappell; 19) Martin Laird / C.T. Pan / Seamus Power; 22) Matt Jones; 23) Matt Kuchar; 24) Joel Dahmen / Marc Leishman.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Brandon Wu; 2) Paul Casey / Patrick Reed; 4) Morgan Hoffmann; 5) Sepp Straka; 6) Jonathan Byrd; 7) Kevin Chappell; 8) Satoshi Kodaira; 9) Chase Seiffert; 10) Abraham Ancer / Brett Drewitt / Troy Merritt; 13) Ryan Blaum / Matthew Wolff; 15) Callum Tarren; 16) Doc Redman; 17) Matt Kuchar; 18) Sergio Garcia / Brian Harman / Seamus Power; 21) Bill Haas / Keith Mitchell / Martin Trainer; 24) John Huh; 25) Tyrrell Hatton.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Sepp Straka; 2) Brandon Wu; 3) Kevin Chappell; 4) Corey Conners; 5) Matt Kuchar; 6) Troy Merritt; 7) Paul Casey; 8) Keith Mitchell; 9) Seamus Power / Aaron Rai; 11) Joel Dahmen / Patrick Reed; 13) Ryan Blaum; 14) Brendan Steele; 15) Keegan Bradley / Sergio Garcia / Tyrrell Hatton; 18) Russell Henley / Anirban Lahiri; 20) Adam Long; 21) Jhonattan Vegas; 22) Rory McIlroy; 23) Tony Finau / Max Homa; 25) Cam Davis / Doug Ghim.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at TPC Potomac since 2017 click here.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners here at TPC Potomac across 2017 and 2018 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2018, Francesco Molinari (-21). 304 yards (32nd), 75.0% fairways (4th), 86.1% greens in regulation (1st), 27’8″ proximity to hole (2nd), 90.0 % scrambling (1st), 1.69 putts per GIR (17th).
  • 2017, Kyle Stanley (-7). 304 yards (29th), 71.4% fairways (3rd), 76.4% greens in regulation (1st), 31’10” proximity to hole (6th), 52.9 % scrambling (46th), 1.75 putts per GIR (26th).

Tournament Skill Averages:

Driving Distance: 30th, Driving Accuracy: 4th, Greens in Regulation: 1st, Proximity to Hole: 4th, Scrambling: 24th, Putting Average 22nd.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2018, Francesco Molinari (-21). SG Off the Tee: 7th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 8th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 17th.
  • 2017, Kyle Stanley (-7). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 32nd, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 52nd.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 4th, SG Approach: 3rd, SG Around the Green: 20th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 35th.

Let’s take a view from players as to how TPC Potomac sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Francesco Molinari (2018): “Yeah, I really enjoyed it. It’s my first time here, I wasn’t here last year. I remember watching it on TV and thinking it looked like a great course and it is. It’s tough but it’s very fair, so I’m enjoying my time here.

It’s a great course. It’s a tough test, but it challenges every part of your game. You really need to be on the ball to play well here. I think it suits my game now that I’m playing well, I’m hitting fairways, hitting greens. I think one of the keys this week has been not making too many bogeys and be patient and just wait for the opportunities. It’s a great track, yeah.

I think just the putting has been improving from the beginning of the season and I think that’s the biggest key in my game. I’m usually pretty consistent with the long game, so the putting makes a big difference. Yeah, probably takes a little bit of pressure off the long game as well. If you know you have the chance of making a 20-30-footer, you’re not so much under pressure to hit it close.”

Billy Horschel (2018): “This course this year is a lot different than last year. It was really firm and fast last year. Winning score was 7 under par and the lead’s 7 under par now. So I expect that if we don’t get any rain the next few days, the course is going to firm up, greens get firm, get a little bit quicker, but it’s not going to be like last year. So you’re going to have to go out with the mindset that it’s a little bit different course, you can’t be as conservative, you’ve got to still try and make birdies and, like I said, the green speeds aren’t really quick, they’re really a great pace to hole putts, they roll in, you don’t have to worry about three-, four-, five-footers coming back.”

Kyle Stanley (2017): “Yeah it’s really good. One of the more difficult courses I think we have played this year. You have to keep the ball in-front of you, it’s pretty demanding off the tee. If you get a little bit out of position it just creates problems for yourself, so being in the fairway off the tee was something I knew was going to be big this week. And fortunately I drove it pretty well this week.”

David Lingmerth (2017):”Hitting fairways. That’s one of the big keys out here, it’s a course where the rough is very penalising, really gnarly. As fast and firms as these greens are you really have to stay in the fairway to have a chance of making birdies. Obviously coming here having won on the web.com Tour, design-wise the course is the exact same. It seems to suit my eye really well. It’s a course that is visually kind of straight forward. It’s easy to pick targets. It’s just a great golf course. You don’t necessarily have to be too aggressive here.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the winners here at TPC Potomac across 2017 and 2018:

  • 2018 – Francesco Molinari: Round 1: 10th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Kyle Stanley: Round 1: 32nd, Round 2: 23rd, Round 3: 7th.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the shots from the lead during the tournament of the TPC Potomac winners across 2017 and 2018:

  • 2018 – Francesco Molinari: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2017 – Kyle Stanley: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 10 back, Round 3: 4 back.

Form of Wells Fargo Championship winners since 2010:

  • Rory McIlroy: MC Augusta/28th World MP/MC TPC Sawgrass/10th Bay Hill.
  • Max Homa: MC New Orleans/42nd San Antonio/52nd Corales/MC Copperhead.
  • Jason Day: 34th New Orleans/20th Augusta/36th World MP/22nd Bay Hill.
  • Brian Harman: 14th New Orleans /9th Heritage/MC Houston/13th Bay Hill.
  • James Hahn: MC New Orleans/MC San Antonio/MC Heritage/MC Houston.
  • Rory McIlroy: 8th Sawgrass/1st World MP/4th Augusta/11th Bay Hill.
  • B. Holmes: 11th New Orleans/18th Heritage/12th Houston/64th San Antonio.
  • Derek Ernst: 47th New Orleans/MC San Antonio/MC Louisiana Open/MC Puerto.
  • Rickie Fowler: 10th New Orleans/MC Heritage/27th Masters/63rd Houston.
  • Lucas Glover: MC Heritage/MC Augusta/MC Houston/20th Copperhead.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score at TPC Potomac since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2018 – Landry – AM -7/63 – 125/1.
  • 2017 – Lingmerth – PM -5/65.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Bentgrass green PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 8 – Rory McIlroy.
  • 5 – Zach Johnson.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Webb Simpson.
  • 3 – Lucas Glover, Francesco Molinari.
  • 2 – Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Brian Harman, Chris Kirk, Martin Laird, Marc Leishman, Troy Merritt, Patrick Reed, Jhonattan Vegas.
  • 1 – Jonas Blixt, Luke Donald, Tony Finau, Dylan Frittelli, Bill Haas, Jim Herman, Charley Hoffman, Russell Knox, Danny Lee, K.H. Lee, Ben Martin, Seamus Power, Chez Reavie, Rory Sabbatini, Charl Schwartzel, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Camilo Villegas, Nick Watney, Matthew Wolff.

TPC Potomac has some hidden course form, as we know that the course has hosted both PGA & Korn Ferry Tour events in recent times. Players in this week’s field with strong results over and above the 2017 and 2018 Quicken Loans Nationals held here are:

  • 2013: 2nd Chesson Hadley; 6th Sung Kang; 11th Si Woo Kim.
  • 2012: 6th Morgan Hoffmann; 13th Luke List, Brian Stuard.
  • 2004: 2nd Charles Howell III, 3rd Rory Sabbatini.
  • 2003: 1st Rory Sabbatini.

A handy, full rundown of finishes here at TPC Potomac since 2002 can be found here.

In terms of warm-ups for the PGA Championship in a fortnight, the test this week will be the stiffest since The Masters. TPC Potomac is a tough, testing golf course, where liberties, especially off the tee, cannot be taken. If the forecast winds arrive from Friday onwards, expect a proper grind.

My final 2022 Wells Fargo Championship tips are as follows:

Corey Conners 2.5pts EW 20/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

Corey Conners seems pretty perfect for this assignment. 9th (2019), 16th (2020), 12th (2021) and 13th (2022 to date) for Strokes Gained Tee to Green on the PGA Tour across the past 4 seasons, the Canadian is the kind of fairways and greens man that thrives at TPC Potomac. He doesn’t win enough – only the 2019 Valero Texas Open – but you get the feeling that his second is just around the corner.

Clearly the problem with Conners tends to be his putting, but that weakness is also improving in 2022. 181st (2019), 181st (2020) and 112th (2021) for Strokes Gained Putting across 2019-21 seasons, this season sees him ranking 98th. That’s a significant jump and will take a player who’s landed 7 top-10 and a further 11 top-20 finishes on the PGA Tour since the start of 2021 into the winners circle.

Straight and penetrating driving around TPC Potomac is a key to victory and Corey is a rarity. 6th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee season to date, he only ranks 80th for Driving Distance. I like that a lot on a course where Stanley and Molinari have won the past 2 renewals – not the longest bombers on Tour, but both in their pomp were high Greens in Regulation men. Conners ranks 3rd for Greens in Regulation this season, so he’s ticking all the statistical boxes you want.

3rd at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play; 6th at The Masters, where he ranked 4th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green; and 12th at the RBC Heritage, Corey is primed for victory on a course where he finished 41st in his rookie season. RESULT: T21

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Matt Fitzpatrick 2.5pts EW 20/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

If it’s not going to be Corey Conners, then I think Matt Fitzpatrick is the next most likely. Yes the prices for both aren’t overly attractive, but we would have said the exact same thing back in 2018 when Francesco Molinari won his first – and to this point only – victory on United States soil here.

And with Fitzpatrick there’s lots to like. Firstly I like his scheduling as I think TPC Potomac will suit him down to the ground. A tree-lined sub 7,200 yard Par 70, with Bentgrass greens sounds like the domain of the South Yorkshire man, who must see a weakened field like this as a real opportunity.

I can remember being at Woburn in 2015 when Fitzpatrick won the British Masters. It was his first of 7 DP World Tour titles which include a couple of DP World Tour Championship titles. The Marquess Course is tree-lined, with distinct driving and approach corridors, a course type where Matt has had good success throughout his career. Take the Andalucía Masters last October as further evidence. Played at the claustrohphic Valderrama set-up which is a 7,000 yard, Par 71 featuring Bentgrass greens, he won with plenty of wind in play at -6/278. And it’s well worth noting that Matt won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at a very stern, parkland golf course at Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts, which we will see at the U.S. Open in June.

Continuing with the United States angle, Fitzpatrick first finished 7th at the 2016 Masters and since becoming a full PGA Tour member and Florida native has finished 5th (2021) at Riviera Country Club; 5th (2022) at Copperhead; 4th (2021) at Harbour Town; 3rd (2020) at Muirfield Village; 4th (2019) & 6th (2020) at TPC Southwind; and 6th (2020) at Olympia Fields. All tree-lined golf courses to varying degrees. Plus no matter how hard the scoring gets, Fitzy can hang around. He’s a great all-rounder who ranks 5th for Tee to Green and 3rd for Strokes Gained Total so far this season. To put that into context, he’s only behind Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm and ahead of Justin Thomas (4th) and Shane Lowry (5th).

And he’s been playing some nice stuff of late. 6th at Pebble, 10th in Phoenix and 9th at Bay Hill, we were on-board (at 28/1 in a heat featuring Thomas, Morikawa, Hovland, Dustin Johnson and Schauffele) when he finished 5th at Copperhead. Losing in a Friday Sudden Death Playoff  to Scottie Scheffler at the WGC Dell Technologies World Matchplay was hardly a disgrace, and neither was 14th at Augusta National where he was 1st for Total Driving and 4th for Ball Striking in a rather windy renewal. He was also 3rd for Total Driving and 1st for Ball Striking at Copperhead, where he ranked 5th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green. RESULT: T2

Max Homa 1.5pts EW 40/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Max Homa is the upwardly mobile sort who could go very well this week on a tighter, old-style, classical golf course.

Within the OWGR top 40, with another PGA Tour win Max would jump into the automatic President’s Cup qualification spots for Team USA, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch. The 2019 Wells Fargo champion at Quail Hollow, he followed that up with 2 wins across 2021 at the Genesis Invitational and Fortinet Championship. As we know, Quail Hollow is a Major (and President’s Cup) venue, which is long, classical and has Bermudagrass greens. His Genesis Invitational win came at Riviera Country Club, which again is a lengthy, old-style classical track. Even his win at the Fortinet came at Silverado Country Club, which is a much shorter, old-style classical set-up.

Although continually underrated, Max has also finished 10th (2019) and 7th (2021) at Pebble Beach, 5th (2020) and 10th (2022) at Riviera on top of his victory, 6th at Copperhead (2021) and 6th (2021) at Muirfield Village, so the testing, tree-lined nature of TPC Potomac should fit in my opinion.

Now working with Phil Kenyon in terms of producing more consistent putting performances, Homa in this field across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers ranks 13th for Off the Tee, 3rd for Approach, 15th for Tee to Green and 23rd for Strokes Gained Current Form. He’ll welcome the difficulty of the TPC Potomac test this week, in my opinion. RESULT: Winner

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Branden Grace 1pt EW 100/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

On a course that will prove no pushover, Branden Grace is a Major Championship performer to note this week and we know he thrives on Bentgrass putting surfaces. A 9-time winner on the DP World Tour, victories at Randpark Golf Club (x2), Leopard Creek and Gary Player Country Club have all come on classical, tree-lined golf courses in South Africa, featuring Bentgrass.

5th (2012), 11th (2015), 9th (2017) and 5th (2018) at Wentworth is more DP World Tour form that I like, especially when you look at 2018 TPC Potomac winner Francesco Molinari, who perennially thrives on the 7,200 yard, Par 72 parkland course in Surrey.

Switch to the PGA Tour and Grace, who is a 2-time winner, also has correlating course form that I like. 4th at last year’s Memorial Tournament played at Muirfield Village works very nicely, as does 2nd (2019) and 9th (2020) at TPC Scottsdale – a couple of courses where elite level ball-striking is key. Kyle Stanley has played well at both of those and also has a runner-up finish at Torrey Pines South in 2012. Molinari has a 3rd at Muirfield Village (2015), along with 3 top-14 finishes at Torrey Pines which hosted the U.S. Open last June, where Grace finished 7th.

And this is the thing with Branden who has finished 4th (2015 Chambers Bay), 5th (2016 Oakmont) and 7th (2021 Torrey Pines) at the U.S. Open, plus 3rd (2015 Whistling Straits) and 4th (2016 Baltusrol) at the PGA Championship. He was also 4th after 36 holes and 5th after 54 holes at last year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. The harder the course and the scoring, the better he tends to play. The South African has finally found his driver and ranked 5th for Approach and 15th for Tee to Green at Harbour Town, where he finished 35th, before landing a valuable 4th place last time out with Garrick Higgo at the Zurich Classic. RESULT: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:20BST 2.5.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.