PGA full-tournament head-to-head matchups have been solid, sitting at 8-2-1. For the Wells Fargo Championship this week, I’m targeting players who are both strong off the tee with some distance to go along with recent form to conquer Quail Hollow at Charlotte, North Carolina. Course history is a benefit as well, as it can be one of the more difficult courses on tour.
Here are two full-tournament head-to-head matchups to bet this week.
Jason Day (-130) vs. Max Homa
The storyline you’ll hear this week is that Homa loves this course, having won here twice in the last three years: the Presidents Cup last year and the Wells Fargo Championship in 2019. He also has a T76 and a missed cut in 2021 on this course. If this is a course that benefits from strong play off the tee, Homa is struggling in that department as of late, having lost strokes off the tee in three straight events. He's also struggled with his irons in two of those tournaments, resulting in a T43 in the Masters and a missed cut at the RBC Heritage. Losing strokes from tee to green is never an ideal situation entering a difficult course. Golf is just as mental as it is physical.
On the other hand, I still believe in Day. Before a T39 in the Masters, he was on a streak with seven straight top-20 finishes, five of which were top-10s, including solo 5th in the Phoenix Open. What has made Day so competitive this year is his ball-striking and short-game abilities. Day is fourth in the field for his short game and third in the field in strokes gained total, behind Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau. Day gets back on track this week.
Patrick Cantlay (+115) vs. Rory McIlroy
Cantlay is one of the players I like to win the Wells Fargo Championship. He is playing superb golf, first off the tee and from tee to green, and fifth with his irons. The difference between Cantlay and McIlroy is that Cantlay is a better short-game player at the moment. McIlroy has lost strokes around the green and/or putting in four of seven tournaments he’s played. Not just losing strokes, but bleeding red in the short game, and it's cost him, with missed cuts in the Players Championship and the Masters. McIlroy also has a good history with Quail Hollow, winning in 2021, but he’s just not the same player right now.
Cantlay is inching closer to a win with five top-5 finishes in his last seven tournaments. He’s the best ball-striker in the field right now, and Quail Hollow awards ball-striking. Plus, Tiger Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, will now be with Cantlay full time. I’m ready to see the wins.