Rickie Fowler is the talk of the PGA Tour after silencing those fellow pros who voted him the most overrated player around by winning the “fifth Major”, the Players Championship last week. However, as ever with top level golf, things move quickly. Fowler’s not playing at the Wells Fargo Championship this week which is where all the attention is going to be very soon.
Quail Hollow is the venue for the Wells Fargo Championship once again this week. After going through a sticky spell in the 90s it underwent serious renovation under the beady eye of Tom Fazio. He added length and renovated the greens (they’ve since been redone again) which took the course back onto the PGA Tour in 2003. It is now a bombers paradise at 7,500 yards. The closing three holes, known as the ‘Green Mile’, are known as one of the toughest ends to a round but the course is vulnerable to giving up shots on its par fives.
The world number one Rory McIlroy is at home at courses where he can utilise his huge distance off the tee. He will always have happy memories of Quail Hollow as it was the site of his first PGA Tour win. The Northern Irishman comes to the Wells Fargo Championship knowing that he is striking the ball beautifully. Two weeks ago he won the WGC Match Play and were it not for a misfiring putter he would have finished considerably higher than the tied eighth he managed at last week’s Players. McIlroy is top-priced 10/3 with BetVictor to win. He’s worth backing because we all know what can happen when Rory hits a spell of form.
Just below McIlroy at the top of the betting is his Ryder Cup teammate, Henrik Stenson. The big Swede hasn’t particularly enjoyed playing Quail Hollow in the past so will have a lot of work to do in the pre-tournament practice rounds. The power of Stenson’s game can sometimes be hidden in the stats due to the fact that he prefers hitting his three wood off the tee rather than a driver. He has plenty of distance to go low this week and should be added to your betting slips with an each-way bet at 20/1 with BetVictor.
Phil Mickelson has shown this season that there is plenty of life in the old dog yet. ‘Lefty’, as he is affectionately known on tour, loves it around Quail Hollow. Never one to take the easy route, Mickelson will take on everything he has a chance at. His aggressive game has been the cause of some serious meltdowns in his career but just now he is playing some beautiful stuff. He missed the cut last week but finished tied for second at the Masters, around another course that is suited to the bigger hitters. If Phil can keep hitting fairways, he’ll have a real chance to secure his first win since the 2013 Open. Mickelson is 25/1 to win at Ladbrokes so take him on at each-way terms, although Rory has to be our top pick this week.