PGA Tour: Quicken Loans National Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Our golf writer takes a look at the 2018 edition of the Quicken Loans National set to take place between 28 June and 1 July at TPC Potomac. 

Formerly known as the AT&T National, the Quicken Loans National replaced the Colorado-based International event in 2007, with KJ Choi winning the inaugural edition. This will be just the 12th renewal of this event. Tiger Woods was instrumental at the inception of this tournament and the Tiger Woods Foundation is still the chief charity pertaining to this event.

Several courses have held this event, moving to Arenmink between 2010 and 2011. The usual course- Congressional- chose to split with the event due to the vagaries of hosting a PGA Tour event on a yearly basis. A year ago the event moved to TPC Potomac, which was formerly the host of the Booz Allen Classic.

Quicken Loans National | 28 June - 1 July | TPC Potomac, Maryland

The course was not beloved in the days of the Booz Allen Classic, as it was situated between a sewerage works and housing development. It was also considered a pushover, with Ben Curtis winning the final instalment of the Booz Allen Classic with a score of -20. The course underwent a major renovation in 2006 and now it actually played as the most difficult non-major course on the whole PGA Tour last year. The greens were changed from poa annua to bentgrass while the fairways were significantly reduced. The event actually offers the shorter hitters, such as last year’s winner Kyle Stanley, the chance to earn parity with the huge boomers for a change.

Kyle Stanley returns to defend in a field that is hardly stellar this week. Tiger Woods will clearly demand the lion’s share of the media attention while Ricky Fowler leads the markets this week. The likes of Francesco Molinari and defending champion Kyle Stanley would seem ideally suited to the challenges offered this week. But one shouldn’t discount Aussie Mark Leishman, who has become a consistent, incognito contender ala Matt Kuchar.

Past Winners
2017: Kyle Stanley (-7)*playoff
2016: Billy Hurley (-17)
2015: Troy Merritt (-18)
2014: Justin Rose (-4)*playoff
2013: Bill Haas (-12)

To Win Outright:
Ricky Fowler 13/2 | Tiger Woods 11/1 | Mark Leishman 18/1 | Kyle Stanley 22/1 | Francesco Molinari 22/1

Kevin Streelman- To Win 45/1, To Place 19/2
Kevin Streelman is just the sort of consistent player who may find this course to his liking. Streelman finished 33rd at the Travellers last week and has made 17 of his last 20 cuts. Perhaps more importantly, Streelman has finished 17th or better in four of his s starts in this event. So it would seem that Kevin Streelman could be the nominal ‘horses for courses’ option this week.

Chesson Hadley- To Win 55/1, To Place 12/1
The enigmatic talent that is Chesson Hadely is the type of up and down performer to potentially back in this field. He missed the cut at Shinnecock- hardly a disgrace- before missing the cut again at the Travellers. He did, however, shoot a 68 on Friday at the Travellers and he was in tremendous form not too long ago. Between April and May he had seven top 20’s in a row. He also has course form, finishing runner-up when the Web.com Tour visited Potomac in 2013.

Andrew Putnam- To Win 55/1, To Place 12/1
Andrew Putnam never manged to qualify for the massacre at Shinnecock, which was a shame considering his form in the previous week. Putnam finished runner-up at the FedEx St Jude Classic prior to the US Open and he decided to also skip the Travellers in the wake of that missed US Open. His performance at TPC Southwind shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise, as that was the third in a series of top 10 finishes since March. He also managed an eighth at the Valero Texas Open and a fifth at the Corales Puntecana event. He has made his last eight cuts and this run includes five top 20 finishes. He could benefit from a weakened field.

The Man to Beat- Francesco Molinari- To Win 22/1 To Place 48/10
While Ricky Fowler certainly holds some appeal after finishing third last season, 13/2 hardly excites me for a player that doesn’t really execute enough. Towards the upper range of the market, this is a course that would seem to suit the metronomic Italian to the tee- so to speak. Molinari has slowly built an excellent season, though not quite on this side of the pond. He won the BMW Championship at Wentworth for his fourth European Tour title before following up with a second place at his home Italian Open. He had a respectable tie for 25th at a murderous Shinnecock layout and will know that this course suits his slightly antiquated precision based game.
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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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