Wells Fargo Championship 2017 Preview

Wells Fargo Championship 2017 Preview

Our golf scribe previews this week's PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship, which gets underway at the Eagle Point Golf Club this Thursday.

Of course the big news this week will be the return of World Number 1 Dustin Johnson to proceedings. The enigmatic Texan had yet another of those ‘oh Dustin’ moments at Augusta. Purportedly falling down a flight of stairs on the eve of the event, Dustin had to pull out of the event with back difficulties. Hmmm. In any event, his presence will certainly have an effect on the markets, despite this being a fairly strong field. This will be the player’s last chance to tune up their game in time for golf’s unofficial fifth major: The Players at TPC Sawgrass.
Due to the fact that Quail Hollow plays host to this year’s edition of the PGA Championship, the event has been relocated to the Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Tom Fazio-designed course in lengthy but may be softened by a week of rain leading up to the event. This may make it receptacle to low scoring. The course is also within one mile of the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that the wind could come into play. This should favour the long hitters who are able to utilise slightly lower trajectories.

Clearly, the change of venue doesn’t exactly aid in this whole crystal-ball business. Dustin Johnson will feel confident while Jon Rahm is currently the bookies second favourite. The big-hitting Spaniard has been something of a revelation this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him joining Sergio Garcia in the major winning stakes. The likes of Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson add some gloss to proceedings, while steady hands like Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson lurk menacingly down in the markets.

Wells Fargo Championship | Eagle Point Golf Club | Thursday 4 - Sunday 7 May 

Past Winners
2016: James Hahn (-9)*playoff | 2015: Rory McIlroy (-21) | 2014: J.B Holmes (-13)
2013: Derek Ernst (-8)*playoff | 2012: Ricky Fowler (-14)*playoff

To Win Outright
Dustin Johnson 9/2 | Jon Rahm 11/1 | Adam Scott 18/1 | Paul Casey 18/1 | Phil Mickelson 22/1

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Value Bets
Adam Scott- To Win 18/1 & To Place 36/10
Scott’s stats thus far this season don’t really equate that well with the odds at hand. He has played seven tournaments, making six cuts. Out of those six cuts, only two have been top 10 finishes. But he did seem to be running right into form at Augusta. The former Masters Champion looked bang in contention until a final round hiccup saw him finish in a disappointing ninth. But there are few players on tour who hit the ball as sweet and true as the Aussie when he is on song. His infrequency of play could be seen as either a hindrance or a help, but I just have a gut feeling that he will be there or thereabouts this week

Bill Haas - To Win 35/1 & To Place 7/1
Haas has been unbelievably consistent this season, with 7 top 20 finishes on his resume. He should also welcome the move away from his native home of Charlotte, as Haas has not finished inside the top 40 at Quail Hollow since 2011. He putts well on Bentgrass greens and has picked up victories at both Riviera and Congressional, which seem to correlate well with Eagle Point. Prior to missing the cut at Harbor Town, the American had managed to extend his flawless record at Augusta to 8 cuts from 8.  And that was in the wake of a semi-final finish at the WGC Match-play.

Patrick Reed – To Win 40/1 & To Place 8/1
Surely the burly, rambunctious American - with a capital A - is long enough to chance here.  He hinted at a big comeback at the Texas Open before imploding in the second round and missing the cut. It did however, come in the midst of an equipment change, and while he failed in his hometown of San Antonio, he fared much better in partnership with Patrick Cantlay at the Zurich. The two ended in 14th, so it hardly seems as if I’m offering too much in the way of definitive proof of this selection. But Reed has always got that buzz off of playing team golf and is surely too good a player to not be in the mix again soon. His booming drives should suit a course whose undulations. He is also an exceptional wind player and may prosper if the winds of the Atlantic start to pick up.

The Man to Beat
Dustin Johnson - To Win 9/2 & To Place 9/10
I hate backing the overwhelming favourite. I feel like it cheapens me. But it’s hard to look past Johnson on a course that could buckle under his power. Prior to that ill-fated Augusta roll, Johnson had won three tournaments on the bounce. He was probably playing some of the most dominant golf I’ve ever seen this side of Tiger. His first victory on tour came at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, which was at the Tom Fazio-designed Atunyote Golf Course. His Major breakthrough came at the Tom Fazio reworked Oakmont. And he also has a splendid record at another of Fazio’s redesigns: Riviera. He may be a risk considering the layoff, but he putts brilliantly on Bentgrass greens and has won 6 of his last 17 starts.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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