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Wells Fargo Championship 2022 Betting Tips: Six best bets for this week's PGA Tour event

Wells Fargo Championship Tips: Sergio Garcia features.
Wells Fargo Championship Tips: Sergio Garcia features.

After a year of frustration, Jon Rahm made it into the winner’s circle for the first time in 2022 last week in Mexico. Not the most convincing victory as he ran out a one-shot winner over Kurt Kitayama and Tony Finau, but always looked to just about have enough over the weekend and he’ll be hoping to use this as the springboard to bring him much bigger successes for the rest of the year.

Attention now turns to the Wells Fargo Championship. Which takes place at TPC Potomac as a one off this year. As usual host, Quail Hollow is in preparation to hold this year’s President’s Cup.

Wells Fargo Championship Tips

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Though this is the first time TPC Potomac will host the Wells Fargo Championship, it has been a regular feature of the PGA Tour going back to 1987, hosting the Booz Allen Classic from 1987-2006. More recently we saw it host the 2017 & 2018 editions of the Quicken Loans National, won by Kyle Stanley & Francesco Molinari respectively.

It has also played host to a couple of events on the Korn Ferry Tour in the last 10 years. The Neediest Kids Championship in 2012, won by David Lingmerth and the Mid-Atlantic Championship in 2013, won by Michael Putnam.

The Course

TPC Potomac is a par 70 measuring 7160 yards. The course underwent numerous renovations before the Quicken Loans National events in 2017 & 2018, with designers like Tom Fazio and Pete Dye involved, though doesn’t appear to have changed further in the meantime.

This is a real ball-strikers course. The tree-lined fairways, many of them doglegging, are not easy to find and present their own problems should you find them, as they undulate throughout, causing plenty of uneven lies. Though this is much preferable to what awaits should you miss the fairways, with thick rough, penal bunkers and plenty of water throughout the course, just waiting to ruin your scorecard.

The largely elevated bentgrass greens are tricky, undulating and firm, protected by plenty of deep, links-like bunkers. Tough enough to find from the fairways, though because of the aforementioned dangers here off the tee, they’re absolutely brutal to find should you miss the short grass, ranking as the toughest course on tour in the last six years for GIR from other than fairway.

Also proving one of the most demanding in which to get up and down from around the greens, it really is imperative that the long game is on point. 

This was certainly on show in what was a frankly obscene performance from Francesco Molinari in 2018, when he won the Quicken Loans National by 8 shots with a score of -21. You could be forgiven for seeing that score and thinking this course was easy, but it was more a case of a player playing incredible golf, as shown by the 8-shot margin of victory and the fact that only 6 other players reached double digits under par. It was a course that played tough for most.

That week, Molinari gained over 4.3 strokes a round tee-to-green, over two shots more than that of the next best player. When someone wins in that fashion, it’s no surprise to see that they did everything well but the overall ball-striking was the standout. Molinari ranking 1st in approach, 1st in greens-in-regulation, 4th in driving accuracy and 7th off-the-tee.

Quality approach play was also on display from his nearest challengers that week, with runner-up, Ryan Armour ranking 4th in approach and 7th in GIR. Whilst 3rd place finisher, Sung Kang ranked 4th in approach and 23rd in GIR.

Though in the previous year we saw a much closer and lower scoring affair, as Kyle Stanley was required to beat Charles Howell III in a play-off, after both were tied after 72 holes on -7. That pattern of quality ball-striking, particularly approach play was evident. 

Stanley ranked 1st off-the-tee, 1st in GIR, 3rd in driving accuracy and 4th in approach. Although Howell III had a good week on and around-the-greens, he also hit his irons well, ranking 10th in GIR and 19th in approach. 

Even if I do feel ball-striking is of the utmost importance this week, my feeling is that you will have to do everything quite well. With the difficulty of the bunkers on display, it’s no surprise to see those leaders in 2017 and 2018 generally ranking high for sand saves. None of the top three in either event ranked worse than 37th, with Molinari 5th and Kang 4th in 2018. Whilst Stanley ranked 25th and his playoff opponent, Howell, ranked 9th in 2017.

An ability to putt these slick, tricky greens has also been beneficial for going well here. However, of those two events, it was the winners, Molinari and Stanley, who ranked lowest in putting for the week. Stanley in 52nd showing you don’t necessarily need to have a blistering week on them to win, though amongst those 2nd and 3rd place finishers in both years, none ranked worse than 15th in putting.

It’s simply just a stern all-round test of golf.

Correlating Courses

As is so often the case, these course that are part of the TPC network correlate with each other and that’s very much the case here. The two courses I like the most are TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship and TPC Southwind, which hosts the St Jude Invitational.

Sawgrass obviously has that Pete Dye angle and though it’s not quite as penal at TPC Potomac from off the fairways, the difficulty in finding them, as well as the greens is of similar difficulty. With both courses rated as two of the toughest on tour in which to get the ball up and down.

Rickie Fowler was 3rd here in 2017 and has a good record at THE PLAYERS, winning it in 2015. Francesco Molinari and Kyle Stanley have both gone well there, Molinari has four top 10s to his name, whilst Kyle Stanley finished 4th at Sawgrass in 2017. Martin Laird further strengthening the correlation, finishing 3rd here in 2017 and has two top 5s at THE PLAYERS, including finishing 2nd in 2012.

TPC Southwind is another tough, short par 70 and offers a similar challenge in terms of ball-striking, ranking only 2nd to TPC Potomac in terms of penalty when missing the fairways, with thick rough, tight lines and water in-play.

Abraham Ancer won last year’s St Jude Invitational and finished 4th here on his only try at TPC Potomac. Whilst Marc Leishman, who has finishes of 5th and 13th here in two tries, finished 3rd at Southwind in 2019.

Though both significantly longer course than TPC Potomac, Muirfield Village, host of the Memorial Tournament and Bay Hill, host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational offer the same tough, championship, ball-striking test that we’re expected to find this week in Maryland.

The fairways at Muirfield Village are much wider, though the penalty for missing them is almost as severe as at TPC Potomac and it also rates as one of the toughest courses to scramble around.

Kyle Stanley has an excellent record at the Memorial, with finishes of 2nd, 3rd and 6th to his name, whilst Molinari finished 3rd there in 2015, one of only two visits to the course.

Fowler ties the form together again with an excellent record at Muirfield Village, as does Marc Leishman. Whilst we can also take confidence from David Lingmerth’s win there in 2015, as mentioned as a winner of one of the Korn Ferry Tour events at TPC Potomac in 2012.

Finding fairways at Bay Hill has become trickier in recent years to bring it more in line with the difficulty in doing so here. It’s also one of the most penal courses when you miss the fairways, ranking just third to TPC Potomac of the regular events used on tour over the last six years. 

Francesco Molinari’s only other regular PGA Tour victory came at Bay Hill in 2019. With Marc Leishman and Martin Laird also possessing victories at Bay Hill to go with strong records here. Whilst Sung Kang, who has an excellent record here, finishing 3rd and 5th in 2018/2017 and was 6th in the KFT event held here in 2013, has two top 10s in the API.

The Weather

The course is tough enough on its own, but the weather could add quite a bit to the difficulty facing the players this week. 

It starts off quite well on Thursday, with warm, clear and relatively benign conditions forecast. This changes from Friday, with the arrival of rain and plummeting temperatures. 

The rain looks set to continue into Saturday, with even colder temperatures and a strengthening breeze, and though the rain is said to clear by Sunday, the cold temperatures and strong breeze will remain.

The Field

Though missing some of the very best players in the world, we have a decent field teeing it up in Maryland this week, certainly one with a lot more depth than last week’s trip to Mexico. Three times winner of the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, Rory McIlroy is the highest ranked player in the field at #7 in the world and will be looking to transfer that Quail Hollow form to TPC Potomac this week.

He’s joined by a further 15 players from inside the world’s top 50, Tony Finau at #18 and Abraham Ancer at #20 the next best ranked. As well as one of those two more recent players to taste victory at this course, 2018 Quicken Loans champion, Francesco Molinari.

Golf odds
Seamus Power each-way (8 places)
40/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:20 Odds subject to change.

Ireland’s Seamus Power is a terrific all-rounder and with a solid record here, where he’s made the cut both times he’s played, can improve on those efforts this week as the much better player he’s now become.

After his breakthrough win at last year’s Barbasol Championship, Power has had a largely strong 2022 campaign. Starting the year with four top 15 finishes on the bounce, which included a 3rd place finish at the Sony Open and 9th at Pebble Beach, Power hit a bit of a lull with 3 MCs on the bounce but has comeback well from there.

In his last four events he’s finished 33rd at THE PLAYERS Championship, produced a quality performance to get to the quarter-finals of the WGC-Matchplay and finished 27th at The Masters, before a forgivable MC in the unique Zurich Classic last time out.

Every part of his game has fired this season and he ranks 5th all-round on the PGA Tour in 2022. Though his approach play took a downturn in those 3 MCs, he showed signs of life at The Masters two starts ago in that regard. He’s a strong, accurate driver, ranking 59th off-the-tee and 38th in driving accuracy and a ranking of 4th in GIR shows a player who hits the ball well enough to handle this test. Also possessing the necessary short-game ingredients, Power is a good putter, ranking 38th and solid out of the sand, where he ranks 81st for sand saves this season. 

He has used that strong all-round game to his advantage on two visits here, finishing 38th in 2017 and 53rd in 2018.

In addition to this, Power has a strong record at TPC Southwind in the St Jude, finishing 27th there in 2017 and 12th in 2018. Also putting up two solid performances in both visits to TPC Sawgrass, with finishes of 35th and 33rd. 

He gave Mexico a miss last week after missing the cut when paired with Graeme McDowell in the Zurich Classic. If able to reproduce the quality ball-striking he showed previous, in his 27th place finish at The Masters, Power can improve on his solid record at TPC Potomac.

Sergio Garcia each-way (8 places)
40/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:20 Odds subject to change.

Sergio Garcia has had a consistent year without ever really contending to win an event. With a hugely eye-catching approach performance two starts ago in The Masters, I’m taking him to put up that first contending performance of the year this week.

Sergio has had eight starts this year, missing just one cut last time out in the Zurich Classic. A 12th place finish on his first start of the year in the Dubai Desert Classic is his best effort but finishing no worse than 39th on his other six starts shows a player who hasn’t been too far away. 

He’s been driving it typically excellently this year, ranking 4th on tour off-the-tee, whilst he’s been putting perfectly adequately. With a ranking of 7th in sand saves also very appealing for this week. The main stumbling block with his game has been approach, not necessarily hitting greens, where he ranks a perfectly respectable 50th for GIR but in SG: Approach where he ranks 189th. 

This stepped up hugely at Augusta as Sergio finished 23rd, with his iron play by far the standout area of his game as he ranked 3rd in the field in approach, gaining +1.9 strokes a round. His best performance in this area since the 2021 PLAYERS Championship. Something I think that if he can continue into this week, would surely rate him as a huge danger, when combined with the quality of his driving.

He didn’t play here in either of 2017 or 2018 but has some nice correlating form. Most notable of those is his excellent record in THE PLAYERS Championship, where he’s not just a past winner but has also finished 2nd and 3rd.

Sergio has been one of the very best tee-to-green golfers on the planet over the years. Still driving it excellently I’m hoping that that approach performance at Augusta wasn’t just a temporary spark, and he can ball-strike his way to success this week at TPC Potomac. 

Brian Harman each-way (8 places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:20 Odds subject to change.

The tenacious Brian Harman has the attractive combination of accuracy and a quality short-game that I think will be important this week. If he can bounce back from a couple of poor approach performances, he looks an ideal type for the tough test that will ensue at TPC Potomac.

Harman has had a strong year so far, with two top 5s in 10 starts, coming in the shape of a 3rd place finish at The American Express and 5th place finish at the Valspar Championship. With just the two missed cuts to his name. 

He’s done most things well this year, particularly good with the putter, ranking 39th on tour. The driver has been strong recently, gaining strokes in all bar his MC at The Masters in his last six starts. A player who is very much accuracy over power, not a bad thing this week and he ranks 16th in driving accuracy on tour this season. 

His play around-the-greens has been solid, if not to his usually high standards, though he does rank 31st in sand saves, another big tick for this week. 

I mentioned his last couple of approach performances being poor, but prior to those starts he’d played well this season in approach. Particularly in the 3rd place finish at The Amex and 5th at the Valspar, but also when finishing 14th in the Phoenix Open. Something he’ll need to rediscover this week.

He didn’t play here in 2017/18 but has plenty of correlating form. He possesses 3rd and 8th place finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship, a 6th place finish in the St Jude and multiple top 20s at the API. All adding encouragement to his chances.

Harman actually won this tournament back in 2017, the last time it deviated away from Quail Hollow, when they played at the Tom Fazio designed Eagle Point Golf Club, a tree-lined course of similar length and with similarly tricky, greens. It played tough that year, Harman winning with a score of -10 and I believe in the tough conditions that are set to befall TPC Potomac this week, Harman rates a good chance to pick up a unique double.

US Open odds
Joel Dahmen each-way (8 places)
66/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:25 Odds subject to change.

Joel Dahmen is a typically strong ball-striking type and has been playing consistently well this year. With him showing some signs of life in the short-game on recent starts I fancy him to go well this week in Maryland.

Following a slow start to the year, when finishing 28th of 38 in the Tournament of Champions and then missing two cuts on the bounce, at the Sony Open and the Farmers Insurance Open, Dahmen has arrested the slide.

In his last seven starts, he’s made six cuts, with a withdrawal before the second round of the Corales Puntacana because of illness the only blot on his results. A 6th place finish at Pebble Beach is his best finish of the year, with a 12th place finish in his last regular start at Harbour Town his second best, before finishing 29th in the Zurich Classic last time out, where he also looked in good form.

During this recent run his ball-striking has been strong and sees Dahmen rank 7th on tour in GIR, 21st in driving accuracy, 46th in approach and 54th off-the-tee. Very much where he excels as a golfer, but I’ve been buoyed by some notable performances on the greens in recent starts, ranking 14th in putting when he finished 33rd at THE PLAYERS Championship and was 11th on the greens in that 12th place finish in the RBC Heritage.

He’s played here once, when finishing 23rd in 2018, where he opened with a 66 and shot two further rounds in the 60s. Showing both quality in approach and was comfortable on the greens. 

Further to this, he has a 5th place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on his resume. As well as a 12th place finish at THE PLAYERS Championship and two top 20s at TPC Southwind in the St Jude.

Dahmen’s hitting the ball well and if able to find the quality with the putter that he’s been able to do on recent starts, he can draw on a strong debut effort here in 2018 to put on another strong showing this week. 

C.T Pan each-way (8 places)
66/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:25 Odds subject to change.

Taiwan’s C.T Pan has been producing some superb approach play of late. Combined with his always excellent short-game and the gains he’s made off-the-tee on his three most recent starts, he looks to have his game in a good position to challenge this week.

Similarly to Dahmen, Pan started the year slow, with a 78th place finish sandwiched in between two MCs, though has got much better since. He’s missed just one cut on his next seven starts, with finishes of 9th in the Genesis Invitational and 16th in the Honda Classic his best efforts. Most recently we saw him produce a solid 29th place finish in Mexico last week on a course that wouldn’t necessarily be ideal.

As mentioned, Pan has been in fine form with the irons of late, gaining strokes in approach in each of his last six starts. In addition to this, after struggling with the driver for much of the season, he’s started to find some better form and accuracy recently, gaining strokes off-the-tee on his last three starts, including ranking 22nd last week in Mexico. 

He compliments the strong recent ball-striking performances with an excellent short-game, particularly excelling out of the bunkers and ranks 13th in sand saves this season, ranking 38th overall around-the-greens. The putter is the weak spot, but he did putt these surfaces solid enough in 2018.

That year he finished 17th here, with three excellent under par rounds of  67, 67, 68 before a disappointing final round 72. This was following a narrow missed cut the previous year in tough conditions. 

Pan shows further his ability to be able to handle this course in a top 20 performance in the St Jude Invitational and a solid record at the Memorial Tournament, where he’s yet to miss a cut in three starts.

With a tee-to-green game that is in fine form currently, I’m hoping C.T Pan can once again find comfort on the putting surfaces and looks a player very close to a strong performance. One that he can find this week at a course he’s gone well at before.

Martin Laird each-way (8 places)
100/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-02 16:25 Odds subject to change.

Scotland’s Martin Laird finished 3rd here in 2017 and with some nice correlating form, as well as the fact he’s in strong ball-striking form this season, I fancy him to go well again this week.

Laird has had a pretty light start to 2022 compared to many with just the eight starts to his name. He started the year well, making the first four cuts of the year, with his best effort a 14th place finish in Phoenix. 

His last four starts reads MC-MC-29-MC, though is forgiven that run of form. The first MC came in the chaos of THE PLAYERS Championship, whilst the Valspar Championship is an event he hasn’t gone well at in over 10 years. He played well when 29th in Texas and the last time we saw him, he missed the cut when paired with Robert MacIntyre in the Zurich Classic, an event in which I’ll give little credence in terms of form for future events.

Not only does that run of form not concern me, but Laird is a player who has shown plenty of ability to break a poor run of results with a sudden return to form. Indeed his 3rd place finish here in 2017 followed a run of MC-MC-52-32-MC. Victories in the 2020 Shriners Open and 2013 Texas Open also coming following uninspiring runs of recent form. 

Laird’s ball-striking has been in good shape all year and sees him rank 21st in approach, 36th in GIR, 30th in driving accuracy and 53rd off-the-tee. In addition to him being the 59th best player on tour this season around-the-greens, we find a player who ranks an impressive 25th tee-to-green. Hugely encouraging for his chances this week.

As mentioned, he finished 3rd here in 2017, finishing just two shots outside the playoff. A week where he putted well and produced some quality iron play. Though he did miss the cut the following year.

Laird has some high class correlating form. He won the API at Bay Hill in 2011 and has twice finished top 5 at THE PLAYERS Championship. He’s also produced many a solid performance in the Memorial Tournament and St Jude Invitational/Classic.

The run of results isn’t inspiring, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Laird is hitting the ball excellently and as a bit of a horses for courses player, often showing up well at events in which he has a good record, I fancy him to do the same this week.

Golf betting tips
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