Rory McIlroy won at Quail Hollow twice, but Kern isn't picking him this year.
Rory McIlroy won at Quail Hollow twice, but Kern isn't picking him this year.@WellsfargoGolf on Twitter

Bet PGA Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow: Kern picks Webb Simpson, Joaquin Niemann, Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink

The Wells Fargo tees off Thursday morning in Charlotte, N.C.

Last week we didn’t do as well as we’d been faring the last month, even though Louis Oosthuizen almost got us a top five that would have paid off at 5-1. It happens. Win or whatever, you move on to the next week.

Now it’s the Wells Fargo, from Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. It wasn’t played last year due to the pandemic, but Max Homa got his lone PGA Tour win here in 2019. And Jason Day won in 2018. Rory McIlroy has won here twice, and lost in a playoff another time. Justin Thomas won his only major here at the 2017 PGA Championship.

So here we go, in what is a very strong field.

Justin Thomas is the fave, at 8-1. He played well last week, even though he didn’t putt well, and of course has a recent win at the Players Championship. Jon Rahm is next, at 9-1, followed by Bryson DeChambeau at 14-1. This is a course that favors longer hitters. Xander Schauffele is 16-1. Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Webb Simpson are all 18-1. Hovland also hits it long, and tied for third last week. Simpson was second here in 2015 and fourth in 2012. McIlroy hasn’t won in two years and seems off his game, but at this place you never know.

Tony Finau is 25-1. Patrick Cantlay is 28-1, as is Patrick Reed and Will Zalatoris, who of course finished second at the Masters. Corey Conners is 30-1. Abraham Ancer, who played well last week, is 33-1. Ditto Max Homa, Joaquin Niemann and Cameron Tringale. Homa tied for sixth last week, and has been in the top 25 in six of his last eight starts. Niemann was eighth last week, and had two seconds in January. He’s long (aren’t most of them?), and hasn’t been worse than 43rd since December. Tringale, who’s never won, has been in the mix a lot lately.

Sungjae Im is 40-1. Brian Harman, who won this in 2017, is 45-1. Jason Dav is 55-1. But he hasn’t done much lately. Keegan Bradley is 66-1. He nearly won last week, and tied for fourth in New Orleans in a team event two weeks back. Stewart Cink, who won a few weeks ago, is 70-1. He’s had a fifth, eighth and ninth here, but is playing for just the second time since 2015.

Harold Varner III is 80-1. He tied for second in his last start. I could go on, but I won’t. But feel free.

So who to take? There’s lots of decent names to look at. Many people seem to like Hovland. I think among the guys near the top I would lean toward Webb Simpson, at 18-1. Another name maybe worth considering is Joaquin Niemann, at 33-1. And he’s +650 for a top five. Good insurance.

Further down the list, I think I would back Keegan Bradley, based on his recent form and the fact that he’s 66-1, which seems a bit high. But what do I know. He’s also +1100 for a top five and half that for a top 10. Just hope I’m not taking him a week too late. That happens too.

I would also toss a few bucks on Stewart Cink at 70-1, and 14-1 for a top five and 7-1 for a 10. But just a few bucks, just in case.

For what it’s worth, I have Rickie Fowler in my yearlong pool. I’m not doing too well in it, but I did finish second last year. Just trying to be honest. I have my moments, both ways. Rickie has been MIA, but he did win here in 2012. What that means at this point is anyone’s guess.

And yes, the PGA is two weeks away. Let’s hope we have more money in our bankroll by then.

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