Westwood To Win At Wells Fargo
A high class field gears up to take on the Quail Hollow Club course for the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina this Thursday. In the below preview, I’ll attempt to find the value picks.
Established in 2003, the Wells Fargo Championship is one of the most popular tournaments on the PGA Tour, considered by some to be the sixth Major. Nine of the eleven winners have come from the United States, with Rory McIlroy the sole European to taste success. As usual the field is of the highest quality for a fiercely competitive competition that has gone to a play-off six times in its history.
The final three holes at the Quail Hollow Club are known as the ‘Green Mile’ and considered to be one of the toughest finishes on the PGA Tour. At around 7,500 yards, the course is long, but the narrow fairways also give little room for error, so accuracy off the tee is just as important as distance. After problems at the eighth and tenth holes last year, the bentgrass putting surfaces have been replaced with Bermuda grass, and the layout has been tweaked, but the course remains a stern test.
In The Bunker
This tournament gave Rory McIlroy his breakthrough victory so it’s not that surprising to see him amongst the antepost favourites, but at 7/1, he’s half the price of his nearest market rival and that’s too short. Consecutive top tens at the Houston Open and the Masters is hardly bad form, but that Augusta performance included a shocking third round of 77, and he is still short of his imperious best. In such a competitive event, I can’t back Rory at single-figure odds.
Lee Westwood has hit a rich vein of form lately and at more than twice the price of McIlroy, he makes much more appeal. After finishing in the top twenty at the Houston Open, he managed a solid seventh at the Masters and then ended a two-year victory drought with a win at the Malaysian Open. On a course where he has finished fifth and fourth in his last two visits, he rates an excellent bet at 16/1.
Rickie Fowler had a nightmare at the Zurich Open, missing the cut, but I’m prepared to overlook that effort and will be sticking with him this week. Top ten finishes in Houston and at the Masters suggested his game was moving in the right direction and he’s worth another chance in a tournament that he won in 2012. Back him at 28/1.
Since his sixth at the Phoenix Open in February, Ryan Moore has had a run of disappointing performances, culminating in a missed cut at the Masters, but his record at Quail Hollow makes him a contender this week. He finished fifth there in 2012 and sixth last year, so heads into this event with some confidence and in the hope that his time off after Augusta has refreshed him, he’s an interesting bet at 40/1.