The new look PGA Tour has largely gone down well and after a fairly low key pairs event in New Orleans, it’s a return to golf from the very top drawer with the Wells Fargo Championship. The top of the market includes Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, whilst scores of other big names will be competing as the Wells Fargo Championship returns to Quail Hollow.
Many of the biggest names in the field have played well at Quail Hollow before including Justin Rose. Rose backers were disappointed with his performance at the Masters but he’s not one to dwell on poor performances and is understandably being well supported to get back into the winner’s circle this week. Including by us!
Quail Hollow has been used for all but one renewal of the Wells Fargo Championship. It took a break in 2017 whilst work was undertaken to prep it to host that year’s PGA Championship and made its return last season having changed to a par 71 from a par 72 following Tom Fazio’s changes.
That work saw the greens relaid, a brand new hole in the shape of the 167 yard, par three fourth hole, and the fifth hole become a par four from a par five. The reduction in par but increase in length makes Quail Hollow very long indeed for a par 71 and the fact that the long hitting duo of Justin Thomas and Jason Day have won at the North Carolina course is no coincidence. Quail Hollow does pose more than enough of a challenge of strategy, ball striking and short game to ensure that players of all ilks have a chance of scoring well, even if bombers have the edge providing they back their up their power with a solid display of putting
|Quail Hollow Club||Charlotte, North Carolina||7,554 Yards||$7,900,000|
Rory McIlroy’s win in the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship was both his second at Quail Hollow and the tournament’s record low score. The Northern Irishman set the template for what’s required at Quail Hollow in many ways by making the most of the scoring opportunities provided by the par fives before toughing it out on the other holes. Jason Day also utilised his power on the par fives as did Justin Thomas for his win at the 2017 PGA Championship.
Brian Harman chalked one up for the shorter hitters but his win came at Eagle Point where a different style of golf is favoured. James Hahn’s win followed the same sort of pattern in terms of his golf but he was a very long shot at a general 500/1 compared to the 7/2 that McIlroy went off at in 2015. Day was pretty short at 20/1 but longer odds winners are fairly common at Quail Hollow.
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2018||Jason Day||Quail Hollow Club||-12||2 Strokes|
|2017||Brian Harman||Eagle Point Golf Club||-10||1 Stroke|
|2016||James Hahn||Quail Hollow Club||-9||Playoff|
|2015||Rory McIlroy||Quail Hollow Club||-21||7 Stokes|
|2014||J. B. Holmes||Quail Hollow Club||-14||1 Stroke|
Analysis: Drive and Putt for Dough
Quail Hollow will test almost all aspects of the games of those competing this week but in general it’s the first and last shot on every hole that will decide the winner. The best drivers have an instant advantage but they will fail to climb the leaderboard if they do not putt well. The best iron players will have a chance to outscore the field on the par threes as most would jump at the chance to go round them in level par.
Rose the Value at the Head of the Market
Any number of players with strong records at Quail Hollow sit at the top of the betting for this week’s tournament. Last year’s winner Jason Day and the two-time winner Rory McIlroy are both obviously to be feared whilst Rickie Fowler loves this course but it’s Justin Rose who looks the best price of the favourites at 12/1 with Betfred.
Rose heads to Quail Hollow off a surprising missed cut at the Masters. One poor week is nothing to be overly concerned about though and Rose was getting back to work with his caddie Mark Fulcher who had been missing for a while following heart surgery. Those two have had time to work on their partnership and Rose to iron out the kinks he’s had in his game this season so a return to Quail Hollow could see a return to the Englishman’s best.
With a win under his belt this season at the Farmers Insurance Open, Rose is once again targeting the FedEx Cup. He is never too far away from the quality of golf required to win at the very top level and will have aimed to peak for this time of the year given the number of big tournaments that are about to come in quick succession, so look for Rose to hammer home his class against an excellent field.
Phil to Thrill the Crowds
Getting the balance right between defence and attack has long been one of the key skills required at Quail Hollow. It’s a little surprising then, to see that Phil Mickelson has such a good record here. Mickelson is not known for playing reserved, sensible golf but has been able to make his aggressive style work over the years at Quail Hollow.
There is no sign of age mellowing Mickelson’s approach to golf, much to the delight of his many fans. He is going to attacking Quail Hollow with the same gusto as ever this week and may well secure another good result. Mickelson’s game has largely been in a good place this season and he looks good for another strong result so consider backing him each way at 28/1 with bet365.
Final Verdict: Justin Rose to Win
Justin Rose has the right attributes and mentality to play well at Quail Hollow. His results at the North Carolina track prove as much and he has every chance of leading a charge back to world number one by beating a high calibre field at odds of 12/1 with Betfred.
About the Wells Fargo Championship
Since the Wells Fargo Championship was created in 2003, the PGA Tour event has become one of the most popular tournaments on the Tour, quickly establishing itself as a favourite with many of the top players. The competition is held at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina every year, apart from 2017 when Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington hosted the tournament.
The first edition back in 2003 was won by David Toms. The Louisiana man hit 278 to finish two strokes ahead of fellow American Robert Gamez. Over the years, several of the world’s best players have won the Wells Fargo Championship including Vijay Singh from Fiji, Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy (who won the tournament in 2010 and 2015).
The competition started as the Wachovia Championship, a title it held until the event became the Quail Hollow Championship in 2009 and 2010. From 2011, American multinational financial services company Wells Fargo, who purchased Wachovia in 2018, put their name to the tournament.
Rory’s Magnificent Double
Only one man has won the Wells Fargo Championship more than once in the tournament’s history. That man is Northern Ireland ace Rory McIlroy, who followed up his 2010 victory with his second title five years later.
McIlroy played outstanding golf on the Sunday to win his first crown in 2010. Rory ended up finishing four strokes ahead of the golfing great Phil Mickelson. Five years later, McIlroy was sensational in North Carolina, hitting a tournament record 267 to win by seven strokes, with Americans Patrick Rodgers and Webb Simpson sharing second spot, albeit some way back.
Vijay’s Tight Victory
The third Wachovia Championship was one to remember. Fijian legend Vijay Singh was a whopping six shots behind leader Sergio Garcia going into the final round of the 2005 tournament. However, while Garcia struggled in the last round, Singh stepped up to the mark, setting up a playoff with Garcia and Jim Furyk.
Singh held his nerve to prevail and add another PGA Tour title to his trophy cabinet. Singh has had a fabulous career since turning pro way back in 1982 with his two US PGA Championship victories (in 1998 and 2004) and his 2000 US Masters triumph being the big highlights.
Day’s Unforgettable Day in Charlotte
Americans have dominated this tournament on home soil since David Toms won the first event in 2003. In fact, 13 of the 17 Wells Fargo Championships up to and including the 2019 edition have been won by golfers from the United States. Rory McIlroy (twice), Vijay Singh and Jason Day are the only non-Americans to have won this prestigious event.
In 2018, Jason Day became the first Australian winner of the Wells Fargo Championship. Day picked up his second win of the season in a topsy-turvy tournament at the Quail Hollow Club. Despite back-to-back bogeys at the 13th and 14th, Day got his act together to beat American duo Nick Watney and Aaron Wise by two strokes.
|Year||Non-American Wells Fargo Championship Winners||Score (To Par)|
|2005||Vijay Singh||276 (-12)|
|2010||Rory McIlroy||273 (-15)|
|2015||Rory McIlroy||267 (-21)|
|2018||Jason Day||272 (-12)|
Tiger Roars Past Rivals
In 2007, Tiger Woods won the Wachovia Championship in North Carolina. Woods hit 275, finishing two shots ahead of Steve Stricker, and four in front of South African-born Slovakian Rory Sabbatini and the great Phil Mickelson.
The following week, Sabbatini said that Woods was “more beatable than ever,” which didn’t really endear him to Tiger. The pair locked horns again a few months after, this time at the 2007 Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger once again got the better of Rory, finishing two strokes ahead of Sabbatini and Englishman Justin Rose.
Kim Seals First PGA Win
A year after Tiger Woods’ one and only success in this tournament, Anthony Kim picked up his first ever PGA Tour victory when he reigned supreme at the 2008 Wachovia Championship.
The Californian was starting to make a real name himself on the Tour, but he really came of age in North Carolina. Kim had a fine tournament, beating Ben Curtis to the number one spot by a big margin of five strokes. Two months later, Anthony won the AT&T National in Maryland.
Fowler Finally Comes Good
Rickie Fowler also picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship. In 2012, the talented Californian won with a birdie on the first extra hole of a playoff with Rory McIlroy and DA Points. Fowler had to wait another three years for his next Tour win, as he prevailed at The Players Championship in May 2015, beating Sergi Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a playoff.