Compounding Interest 🏦


Four wins, three weeks!

CHARLOTTE, NC

There couldn’t be a better time for the Wells Fargo Championship. One of the most popular wins in RTL history came last year when Wyndham Clark won by three strokes over Xander Schauffele for a +7500 return. Considering we are in the midst of a four win (Nelly, Nelly + Scottie parlay, Hannah Green, Taylor Pendrith), three week run, walking around Quail Hollow the vibes are very strong. Which is fun because this is a venue worthy of a major championship!

The sixth signature event of the 2024 PGA TOUR schedule is the Wells Fargo. Sixty-nine players (Ludvig Ãberg WD) will compete for $20 million and $3.6 million for first place. No stranger to big events, I have been to Quail Hollow a couple of times to cover the Wells Fargo and the 2022 Presidents’ Cup. If Augusta National Golf Club sets the global tournament standard, the membership of Quail Hollow does their very best to impress. It is no wonder we will be back next year for another PGA Championship.

Wells Fargo starts in...

Count down to 2024-05-09T10:30:00.000Z

Queen City, King's course

The par 71 layout covers an enormous number of acres. Set just southeast of downtown Charlotte, this is probably one of my favorite Tom Fazio designs. The course has character. There are numerous elevation changes, an awesome variety of holes, and a finish that any championship course would envy. Sixty-one carefully placed bunkers and seven holes where water comes into play builds an amphitheater of excitement.

Since Wyndham’s win, the course has seen some changes. Twenty-five yards were added to the sixteenth hole. I guess they needed to make one of the hardest holes on property even tougher. A couple of new tee boxes were added, and most intriguing was the description of “softening” twelve of the greens. As green textures and speeds continue to become more difficult, classic courses like Quail Hollow can get a little scary on those surfaces. You’ll lose hole locations and stand a very good chance of things getting out of hand for an important championship.

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Course conditions

Quail Hollow Club

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"How to watch?"

Coverage times

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Real-time weather

Charlotte, NC

We skipped 2017 and 2022 at QHC. The last 10 Wells Fargo editions take us back twelve winners. In those ten tournaments, the average details are:

  • Winning score, 12 under par.
  • Cutline, two over par.
  • Winner’s pre-tournament odds +12000.

That last one really stands out. Even when we hosted an elevated full field event last year (remember those?) the winner was longshot Wyndham Clark! Quail Hollow has provided us with seven winners over +4000 in the last 10 years. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, and Clark all broke through at Wells Fargo. It’s a very interesting note and one that will factor into our outright portfolio.

Twenty-two of the top 25 in the OWGR are competing. The only non-LIV golfer absent is one Mr. Scottie Scheffler. The most notable of competitors has now skipped the Wells Fargo two years in a row. It is also worth noting that in eight days the PGA Championship begins, and Meredith Scheffler is still pregnant. Timing is everything in life and we are about to see how badly Scottie wants to take a run at the Grand Slam.

No Scottie means we can play this signature sojourn straight up. Considering the recent run at RTL, Scottie’s absence couldn’t come at a better time. Wells Fargo is a wonderful warmup for next week at Valhalla. Many of the player features I discuss below will also apply in a week’s time. It’s almost as if we are getting the perfect warm-up venue for a major championship. There’s no doubt a signature field will also reveal some serious clues going into the season’s second major.

You can always click the real-time weather link above, but in summary the course is in great condition. What I have come to expect when on property at QHC. The region has been relatively dry the past few weeks and we will only receive a couple of showers this week. Overall, the forecast calls for mild conditions, temperatures in the mid-70s, and wind in the low teens. Thursday could get a little wet, but with a small field and late spring daylight, tournament officials can create a great competitive atmosphere.

The Quail Hollow Club is a very strong test. Nine par 4s are over 450 yards in length. The par 3s are treacherous and the finish is the hardest on TOUR. We learned last week on the seventy-second hole that NOTHING IS CERTAIN. Make sure you manifest until the last putt goes in the hole. The finishes at Quail Hollow have been electric at times. Just like so many of the winners they have crowned so early in their careers.

Read The Line recap 🗞️

What a wyn by Wyndham Clark! He made the most of moving day with a Saturday 63. That's an elite score on a major test like this. Looking back, Clark really capitalized in two areas. If you combine approach and putting he gained 16.4 strokes on the field! That's the key(s) to success going around this massive property.

Drive for show, putt for dough

I believe winning at QHC is a very simple formula. Wyndham Clark showed us perfectly last year and the analytics of the last 10 Wells winners at QHC back up his impressive victory. This is the fifth longest course on TOUR. The average driving distance is 301 yards. That’s 17 more yards than the PGA TOUR average! Need more ball speed validation, the best driver of this generation, Rory McIlroy, has won here three times. Two healthy inches of overseeded rough also dictate success.

The most interesting analytic clue comes on the putting greens. The last 10 winners have gained over six strokes on average versus the field with their flatstick. I picked Wyndham last year because he is a great putter. These greens are amazing. They are the closest putting surfaces you will see on TOUR to what tests the players at Augusta National. They really are cool, and these subtle new changes will only emphasize good putting even more. The field is finding out very quickly, they can make putts. Our outrights can all roll the rock. In the last decade, the winner has gained over five strokes eight times.

Over 50% of the incoming approach shots are played from over 175 yards. Thirty percent from over 200 yards. Tiger taught us for twenty years that long iron play is the quickest way to differentiate from the pack. Scottie Scheffler separates the same way with his long game. When Clark won last year, he gained nine strokes on the field with his approach play. Considering the landscape of these green complexes, proximity to the hole becomes very important. This is not TPC Craig Ranch, Wyndham made 23 sub-par score last year because his iron game was locked in.

This par 71 scorecard boasts 11 par 4s with an average length of 456 yards! Nine of them measure over 450 yards. Par 4 scoring always indicates success on difficult courses. Survive the par 3s at QHC, score on the 5s, and win on the par 4s. The last 10 winners have gained an average of 10 strokes on the field with their par 4 play. From the drivable fourteenth to the now 529-yard peninsula green sixteenth, these 11 holes are varied and tough. Get it done here and you’ll be a major part of the conversation come Sunday afternoon.

Thirteen holes at QHC have a bogey rate over 15%. In comparison, just five holes have a birdie rate over that value. Three of those holes are par 5s. You’ll hear endless amounts of talk about the finish (Green Mile) this week but pay attention to the start. Quail Hollow also has one of the toughest starts on the PGA TOUR. Holes one, two, and three play a half stroke over par. Avoiding bogeys early, late, and through the rest of your round is another key to success. Saving par around these immense green complexes takes short game savvy.

I’m taking a collection of athletes this week. Players who impress us with their physical skill and talent between the trees. Much like Augusta National, television cannot capture the terrain at Quail Hollow. Walking this course for a guaranteed four days is as much a mental test as it is a physical grind. Take a look at our team below as we go for four weeks in row!

Outright Winners - Wells Fargo Championship

Wyndham Clark won the Wells Fargo last year at 19 under par and three clear of the field.

  • In five signature events this year, Clark has a win, a runner-up and a third place finish. He was also runner-up at THE PLAYERS.
  • Wyndham is first in the field for SG:Putt, BoB%, and opportunities gained.
  • Clarkin incredibly long and has been hitting a ton of GIRs during this run.
  • Ranked second in short game, his bogey avoidance is impressive.

In those same signature starts, Sahith Theegala has two runners-up, and a sixth place.

  • Theegala also finished top 10 at WMPO and THE PLAYERS.
  • In his last five starts, Sahith is gaining an average of three strokes T2G and another three strokes putting on the field.
  • Theegala is now a top 20 T2G player and top 12 in ball striking.
  • He's ranked second in the field for strokes gained putting.

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Inside the ropes at the 2023 Genesis Invitational


Three is the magic number

It's time to get our third LPGA winner in a row! Yes, the true trifecta is in play, but when three is the magic number, it is a little eerie how often it turns up. For the third year, the Cognizant Founders Cup will be contested at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, NJ. The AW Tillinghast design has three nines at the facility. The ladies use the championship routing which employs the South and West nines. We have picked the runner-up here two years in a row. One of the coolest events on the LPGA tour, an elite field competes for one of the largest purses of the season and honors the founding members of the LPGA all in the same week.

Our success in NJ comes in large part to my experience competing on these layouts. I have played this course several times in professional events. It is your classic northeast layout. Tree-lined twisting fairways, deep bunkers, and quirky undulating green targets. Most equate metro area courses to be short. Upper Montclair is the fifth longest course on tour this year. This is a very good test of golf; one the founding women of the LPGA would have been honored to compete on. In fact, Upper Montclair Country Club holds a unique distinction. It is one of a handful of clubs that have hosted all THREE major American professional tours. The LPGA last stepped foot at UMCC in 2009 for the Sybase Classic.

Founders Cup starts in...

Count down to 2024-05-09T11:00:00.000Z

The venue has twenty-seven holes on property. Their championship layout utilizes the South nine for the front and the West nine for the back. The Par 72 layout stretches 6,536 yards and will be just as entertaining as what we witnessed two weeks ago at Wilshire CC.

  • The women have 65 bunkers to contend with this week.
  • Hitting fairways will be difficult, UMCC only has 24 acres of fairway.
  • Eight holes have water in play.
  • Both UMCC winners are in the field, Minjee Lee (2022) and Jin Young Ko (2023).

There are 20 players of the Rolex World ranking top 30 in the field competing for a $3 million dollar purse. Of the 144 that start round one, only the top 65 and ties will have a chance at the first-place prize of $450,000 dollars. The average winning score from the first two editions at UMCC is 16 under par. The average cutline the last two years is even par. This classic course has done a great job of creating excitement. Minjee Lee faced off against Lexi Thompson to win in 2022, and Lee then lost to Jin Young Ko last year in a playoff.

The best players contend here because it is a great well-rounded test. UMCC requires all aspects of your game are in good form. Just like the founding women would have done! Course conditions were great in 2022 and 2023. I was on-site both years and witnessed the drama. A schedule change has me in Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship, but my NJ insiders on property are giving me daily reports. The region has been dry for weeks. The forecast calls for showers, but the reality is the course needs it. A firm and fast UMCC will be extremely hard.

Temperatures will be in the mid-70s and the wind shouldn't be a huge factor as of writing this. The weather changes quickly near the Atlantic Coast, so always use the real-time weather link below for up to the minute forecasts. Remember, that link will take you directly to Clifton, NJ's weather. You won't have to search for it on the homepage of the website. This Tillinghast track will no doubt test the group just like LA did a couple weeks ago. One area that really catches your attention is the bunkering. Every green complex has at least one and a large majority of them are deep and difficult to get out of. You can be sure the LPGA tournament team will have hole locations alongside plenty of these penalty areas.

Rarely does the LPGA play so many classically designed golf courses, let alone two in a row. As Cognizant week develops, we also want to pay attention to UMCC experience and NJ experience. The LPGA played in my home state four times last year! They follow up the Cognizant Founders Cup with a trip approximately 20 miles away to Jersey City for the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club. This next two week stretch sets the best up for the US Open in less than a month in nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Watch the world's best women get ready with an awesome Tillinghast test this week.

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Course conditions

Upper Montclair CC (South-West)

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"How to watch?"

Coverage times

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Real-time weather

Clifton, NJ

Classic contest

We received some wet weather this weekend in NJ. This should help scoring at UMCC for the Founders Cup. Leading up to this past weekend, the course conditions were very firm and fast. That makes a big difference around a classic course like this Tillinghast gem because targets get smaller when they are firm. We are starting to build out some history on this course for the LPGA. Minjee Lee has a win and a runner-up in two years. She averaged 16 under par through those two contests. That's some serious scoring on a layout that demands accuracy.

Wilshire was an excellent warmup for this week. Another traditional test that demands serious skill off the tee. UMCC's 14 tee shots all bend. Seven move left to right, and the remaining seven move right to left. One ball flight will not take you all the way to the trophy. On top of the need to work the ball, length really helps. When you look back at these leaderboards, having some speed is a common theme amongst the contenders. The closer you get to those 7,000 sq/ft greens the better because that's where the real challenge comes into play.

Don’t be fooled, around the green play is important when the greens are this big, and sand play will be needed at some point. Probably in a crucial moment in a round or down the stretch on Sunday. Off the green edges, Tillinghast took great care in placing 44 of the 65 bunkers. Sand skill and scrambling will play a key role in contending. Each of these green sites are intricate. They force you to think and know where you can miss and still get up and down to save par. Major champions and elite players are better at developing game plans and UMCC needs a serious one.

Larger greens on classic courses make the demands on approach play even more valuable. If you hit the green far from the hole, your putting will surely be tested. I'm applying a large amount of weight in my predictive process toward iron play and proximity to the hole. The LPGA has showed us the course will give up plenty of birdies. Don't be thrown off by just GIR percentages. I'm applying a combination of sub-par holes alongside strokes gained approach and GIR%. That well-rounded combination of approach and scoring skill will target the best bets.

Think back two weeks ago and how Hannah separated herself again at Wilshire CC. The putter went wild on those final nine holes and no one else could keep up. I'll be favoring NJ experience alongside strokes gained putting in the Garden State. This will give our outrights an absolute advantage. Being comfortable with the agronomy in the northeast counts and helps convert more birdie chances. Scoring on the par 5s happens in abundance at UMCC, and anyone who tries to contend will have plenty of sub-par scores there. I'm digging deeper in the par 4 scoring.

Those 10 holes this week will decide our winner. Lee played them great the past two years and Ko the same a year ago. Separating from a field like this is difficult. Presenting a consistent skill set for scoring by hitting fairways and gaining on approach across the 4s is impactful. Remember the cutline average is even par over the past two tournaments. The leaders will be making birdies, but a majority of the field will be battling some bogey moments. This course can trip you up quickly. Scrambling from the trees and around the greens will keep you in contention.

Not just contention here, but next week as well. This is the first of two weeks in NJ. We are also leading into the women's most lucrative major. Watch the stars align on our card and don't be surprised if we pick off three wins in a row on the LPGA. RTL has had the runner-up both times at UMCC. With our current trend, I believe this year we take home the trophy with one of these world class women.

Outright winners - Cognizant Founders Cup

In two visits to Upper Montclair Country Club, Nasa Hataoka has finished sixth and eighth.

  • Nasa is a scoring machine, she's an LPGA leader in BoB%.
  • Hataoka makes a ton of birdies because she is ranked fifth in the field for GIRs and fourth on approach.
  • She finished thirteenth at Chevron and the LA Championship. It is time for her to take her NJ experience and put it to good use.

Madelene Sagstrom has a huge advantage at Upper Montclair Country Club.

  • The sweet swinging Swede is an incredible driver and putter ranking in the top 10 for both in this field.
  • In two trips to UMCC, Madelene has a third and tenth place finish.
  • Sagstrom makes a bunch of birdies because she's ranked eighth in GIRs for the field and creates tons of chances.
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