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Odds and Ends

Golf Pick 'Em: Wells Fargo matchup breakdowns

by Will Gray
Updated On: May 4, 2021, 9:16 pm ET

Golf Pick 'Em is back for another season of picks and prizes in the NBC Sports Predictor app.

The free-to-play game has returned in 2021 and continues this week with the Wells Fargo Championship. Each week participants will choose between a series of head-to-head matchups, plus select an overall tournament champion and winning score (or in this case total number of holes played).

Participants can compete for weekly cash prizes, with a $50,000 jackpot available for any participants who earn a perfect score (increasing up to $100,000 during some of the biggest events of the year). There will also be at least $1,000 awarded each week in cash and prizes, even if there is no player with a perfect score.

Jackpots have been paid in out two of the last six weeks of the Predictor game, as the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players both saw participants splitting the $50,000 prize after notching perfect scores.

Here's a look at some of the keys to this week's set of 10 matchups at Quail Hollow, where Max Homa returns as defending champ after a strong week in Tampa:

Jon Rahm vs. Justin Thomas

Keys: They're the top two players in the field based on OWGR and will be among the betting favorites in a star-studded affair. Rahm finished T-7 at Zurich alongside Ryan Palmer in defense of their title, and the Spaniard finished fourth in 2017 in his lone prior appearance (when it was held at Eagle Point). Thomas won the PGA at Quail Hollow a few months later for his first major, and his Wells Fargo record includes top-25s in two of his three starts. He enters off a frustrating week in Tampa where he was a tee-to-green leader but among the worst putters in the field.

Edge: Thomas


Rory McIlroy vs. Webb Simpson

Keys: These two have the best claim to Mr. Quail Hollow. McIlroy has been dominant at this event before, winning twice including in 2015 when he shot a course-record 61 in the third round. This was also the site of his first Tour win back in 2010, but he has missed the cut in each of his last two stroke-play starts. Simpson is a Charlotte resident and Quail Hollow member, playing a true home game this week in an event where he was a runner-up behind McIlroy six years ago. He finished T-12 at the Masters and T-9 at the RBC Heritage the following week.

Edge: Simpson


Bryson DeChambeau vs. Patrick Reed

Keys: Two of America's brightest stars square off at the site of next year's Presidents Cup. DeChambeau is making his first start since the Masters and has cooled somewhat since his run through the Florida Swing. His Quail Hollow record includes a pair of missed cuts and a fourth-place showing in his most recent (2018) appearance. Reed finished T-2 at the 2017 PGA here and has finished T-32 or better in six of his seven Wells Fargo starts, but enters off a surprising early exit at Valspar where he missed the cut by a shot.

Edge: Reed


Rickie Fowler vs. Jason Day

Keys: Two former champions in need of a big week. Fowler earned his maiden win here nine years ago, but he's now outside the top 100 in the world and more than a year removed from his most recent top-10 finish. Day won at Quail Hollow in 2018 and has never finished worse than T-24 in four Wells Fargo appearances, but he's on the cusp of dropping out of the top 60 in the world and is entering a pivotal stretch if he's going to avoid a trip to U.S. Open sectionals next month.

Edge: Day


Phil Mickelson vs. Stewart Cink

Keys: A pair of veterans heading in opposite directions. Mickelson has done everything but win at Quail Hollow, finishing T-5 or better four times between 2013-18. But he seemed dispirited after an 18th-hole bogey cost him the weekend at Innisbrook and he has now missed three of his last six cuts overall. Cink has been one of the best storylines of the year, winning twice this season including a four-shot romp at Harbour Town in his most recent start. He's been a regular at this event, with three top-10s but none since 2011.

Edge: Cink


Xander Schauffele vs. Patrick Cantlay

Keys: These two were partners in Zurich and now square off in Pick 'Em. Schauffele will be looking to bounce back on an individual basis from his near-miss at the Masters, while Cantlay is looking to stop a skid of three straight missed cuts in stroke-play events. Cantlay is making his Wells Fargo debut but did finish T-33 here at the 2017 PGA. Schauffele missed the cut that week but did make it in each of his two starts in this event, including a T-24 finish in 2017 when it was held away from Quail.

Edge: Schauffele


Max Homa vs. Tony Finau

Keys: Homa was in the mix for his second win of the year at Innisbrook, but the putter failed to cooperate Sunday as he faded to a T-6 finish in what was still a strong week. Now he's back to defend a title for the first time, two years after he held off Joel Dahmen for a watershed win at this event. Finau has made the cut in all five trips to Quail Hollow but hasn't finished better than T-16, and he's teeing it up for the first time since a T-10 finish at the Masters.

Edge: Homa


Keegan Bradley vs. Tommy Fleetwood

Keys: Bradley let one get away Sunday in Tampa, rinsing his tee shot on the 13th hole to hand a lead to Sam Burns that he would not relinquish. Bradley went on to finish alone in second, but that came on the heels of a T-4 finish at the Zurich with Brendan Steele and marked his sixth straight top-30 finish. But he has struggled in this event, missing the cut in all four trips in addition to a T-33 showing at the 2017 PGA. Fleetwood is playing for the first time since a missed cut at Harbour Town and has also struggled on this course, finishing T-61 at the PGA and missing the cut (2018) in his only other Wells Fargo start.

Edge: Bradley


Viktor Hovland vs. Will Zalatoris

Keys: Hovland picked up a lot of ground Sunday with a final-round 65 at Valspar to snag a tie for third place. It's his fourth top-5 finish this season and first in more than two months. Zalatoris is playing this week on a sponsor invite and is still riding high from his runner-up at the Masters, having finished T-42 at Harbour Town in his most recent start. This is the pro debut for both on Quail Hollow.

Edge: Hovland


Sungjae Im vs. Joaquin Niemann

Keys: Both had solid showings at Valspar, with Im finishing T-29 and Niemann fading a bit during the final round to a T-8 result. That was the 17th straight made cut for Niemann, a run that dates back to August and includes a pair of runner-up finishes in Hawaii. He'll look to continue that trend on a course where he finished T-38 two years ago, while Im finished T-31 that year with four straight rounds of par or better. He has been equally steady, making 12 of 14 cuts this year including six top-20 finishes.

Edge: Niemann

Will Gray

Will Gray manages betting, fantasy and DFS content for NBC Sports EDGE across Golf, Soccer and NASCAR. He has covered the PGA Tour since 2013 and regularly contributes golf betting insight and analysis across multiple digital platforms. Gray has been with NBC Sports since 2007 and recently served as a writer, video analyst and podcast host for Golf Channel. You can follow him on Twitter @WillGrayGC