The PGA Tour returns to Maryland for the first time since 2018 for the Wells Fargo Championship this weekend. Maryland sports betting fans may remember when the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm hosted back-to-back PGA Tour events in 2017 and 2018. The course presents a stern test and has hosted 25 professional golf tournaments since 1986.
This year’s tournament is played on the same TPC Potomac course. It is the pinch-hitter for the event held annually at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. Quail Hollow is holding The President’s Cup in September, another opportunity for the D.C. area to shine as a Tour destination.
Unfortunately, mother nature won’t be cooperating as cooler temperatures in the 50s are in the advance forecast, with rain more likely Friday and Saturday in Potomac. That was the case as well during the 2017 event when play was suspended Saturday by heavy rains and thunderstorms. PGA Tour officials say the most difficult thing to deal with on Tour is the weather, and rules officials and players may have another course management skill to navigate during this year’s event.
Still, check out what’s in store for Maryland sports this week and live updates as mobile sports betting in Maryland shoots to tee off later this year. Let PlayMaryland serve as your caddie to guide you on the latest news.
You can follow tournament news, updates and highlights on Twitter @WellsFargoGolf.
Top players to watch
While leading online sportsbooks like BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook are not yet live in Maryland, we’ve compiled the best odds available on the top players and leading favorites to win the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship.
Odds are always subject to change as the betting market is fluid and bets are placed online throughout each day around the country. This includes prop bet offerings, selected player matchups in the tournament and daily round-by-round matchups.
- Rory McIlroy: +750
- Corey Connors: +1700
- Matthew Fitzpatrick: +2100
- Tony Finau: +2500
- Tyrrell Hatton: +2800
- Marc Leishman: +3600
- Russell Henley: +3700
- Abraham Ancer: +3500
- Gary Woodland: +3600
- Cameron Young: +3600
- Keegan Bradley: +3700
- Patrick Reed: +4000
- Max Homa: +4100
- Paul Casey: +4100
- Seamus Power: +4800
- Si Woo Kim: +4800
- Webb Simpson: +5000
- Sergio Garcia: +5000
- Jason Day: +5000
Until mobile operations clear the last legal hurdles, Maryland bettors can still visit retail sportsbooks in person at five of six of the state’s land-based casinos, including:
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Live! Casino & Hotel
- MGM National Harbor
- Ocean Downs Casino
Rory McIlroy (No. 7) is the only player in the field ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings, with Tony Finau (No. 18) and Abraham Ancer (No. 20) joining him as top-ranked players. Fifteen players are ranked in the top 50 in the world which includes most of those listed above as leading favorites and contenders to win.
McIlroy is a three-time winner of the Wells Fargo Championship, including in 2021. Other winners of the event returning to play include Max Homa (2019), Brian Harman (2017) and Lucas Glover (2011).
However, the course at TPC Potomac plays quite differently than Quail Hollow, and there is more variation in players’ odds for this week’s event.
Longshots to win
In addition, other players to watch at longer odds to win who made the cut in both 2017 and 2018 (along with Leishman and Power) when the tournament was held at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm include:
- Rickie Fowler
- Bill Haas
- James Hahn
- Sung Kang
- Cameron Percey
- Kevin Streelman
- Kevin Tway
- Johnson Wagner
- Nick Watney
Fowler finished T3 in the 2017 event. He was the only player in the 2018 field ranked in the top 10 when he finished in 12th place. But Fowler has fallen off considerably in recent years and is now ranked No. 146 in the world, no longer among the leading contenders on Tour.
Keegan Bradley, Sung Kang, Marc Leishman and Johnson Wagner all finished T5 in the 2017 event.
Denny McCarthy returns home
Takoma Park native Denny McCarthy returns to his roots. The three-time individual high school state champ and All-Met Golfer of the Year at Georgetown Prep also starred as a two-time All American at the University of Virginia.
McCarthy is ranked No. 157 in the world currently, and the 29-year-old had a pair of solid finishes on the PGA Tour earlier this year in The American Express (T6) and Pebble Beach Pro-Am (T12).
“I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing a bunch of familiar faces and some family and friends, so it’ll be a really fun week and I’m really excited for it,” McCarthy told WUSA9, the local media sponsor of the event.
“Showing up to a place, knowing that I’ve played a handful of tournament rounds there, and growing up playing some rounds there, can only help me for sure,” he added.
McCarthy is widely considered one of the best putters on the PGA Tour. He ranks No. 7 in this field over his last 36 rounds in strokes gained: Putting, according to stats from Fantasy National, although he falls off considerably in the same putting stats on bentgrass greens.
McCarthy’s favorite food is crab, and he’ll be getting some home cooking at his parents’ home this week while resting up and preparing for a big week back home.
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm
Known for its naturally rolling terrain and Scottish-style bunkering, the 7,160-yard, par-70 course has among the very smallest greens for a PGA Tour event. The bentgrass putting surfaces average nearly 4,300 square feet. Water comes into play on 10 holes, and there are 80 sand bunkers.
In 2017, TPC Potomac yielded the fourth-most difficult scoring average on Tour, including majors. Weather was a factor with a 7-under-par winning score, and 25 players finished under par, including winner Kyle Stanley (-7) in a playoff over Charles Howell.
Neither of those two players is back this year, but 2018 winner Francisco Molinari is having bested the field by eight strokes in victory when 52 players finished under par.
Patience is required and a more conservative approach toward the greens rather than attacking flags is often preferred. The course demands accuracy from the tee. Playing from the tall fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass rough sends players scoring to par or worse.
Strong mid-to-longer iron play will reward golfers with eight of the par-4s playing at least 450 yards. So hitting fairways and greens is required for those wanting to challenge the leaderboard on the weekend. Both Stanley and Molinari led the field in hitting greens and were top five in hitting fairways when victorious.
“There are just a lot of holes that are really demanding that require you to hit some quality shots, and hit the fairways on some long holes,” McCarthy said. “It’s going to test all of your assets.”