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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wells Fargo Championship - Preview

Next up on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have some additional insight to offer in this week's research, as I was fortunate enough to get to play Quail Hollow a few weeks after last year's tournament. Granted, I wasn't crazy enough to play the 7,562 yard par-72 layout from the tips. I stepped it back to a distance to where I could have some fun and not drive the member I was playing with crazy.

We are now well versed in what to expect from this tournament. Quail Hollow offers four par 5s and a drivable par 4 to go with four par 3s. The final three holes are known as The Green Mile. It includes the 508-yard par-4 16th, the 221-yard par-3 17th and the 493-yard par-4 18th. They say it's hard, but I hit the 16th and 17th in regulation and scrambled for a bogey at 18, but I digress.

As we look at the winners and runners-up dating back to 2005, the known theme of length being a key to success will become even more apparent. Here they are:

  • 2005: Winner: Vijay Singh (12-under 276) over Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia in a playoff.
  • 2006: Winner: Jim Furyk (276) over Trevor Immelman in a playoff
  • 2007: Winner: Tiger Woods (275) over Steve Stricker (277)
  • 2008: Winner: Anthony Kim (272) over Ben Curtis (277)
  • 2009: Winner: Sean O'Hair (277) over Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson (278)
  • 2010: Winner: Rory McIlroy (273) over Phil Mickelson (277)
  • 2011: Winner: Lucas Glover (273) over Jonathan Byrd in a playoff
  • 2012: Winner: Rickie Fowler (274) over Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff
  • 2013: Winner: Derek Ernst (280) over David Lynn in a playoff
  • 2014: Winner: J.B. Holmes (274) over Jim Furyk (275)
One interesting thing that stands out from that list is the correlation with Masters winners and U.S. Open winners at the longer U.S. Open venues. Those names includes Singh, Furyk, Immelmann, Woods, Glover, Watson, McIlroy and Mickelson. In short, if a guy would figure to be a good play at Augusta National, or a lengthy U.S. Open venue, his game should translate well here.

When I dig into the stats, I will take a hard look at driving distance, par 4 and par 5 scoring stats, as well as a bit of "feel" in terms of who fits this course. Current form and course history will, of course, be a factor.

We will return later in the week with a power ranking and one-and-done selection. Until then, best of luck to all.

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