It is strange how history repeats itself. In 2012 Jason Dufner went into the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in great form and won his first tournament. Last weekend, Billy Horschel, who has shown a similar trend entering the tournament, did the same, lifting his inaugural US PGA Tour title – likely to be the first of many.
After two weather delays, Horschel sank a 27-foot putt on the last hole for a one-shot victory over D.A. Points. It was the sixth time this season the PGA Tour has produced a first-time winner.
Horschel, 26, received $1.15 million for the win, which was his fourth straight top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. He also tied for third in the Valero Texas Open earlier this month and tied for ninth in the RBC Heritage 10 days ago.
On Thursday, the PGA Tour moves to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship. Rickie Fowler (right) beat Rory McIlroy and Points in a playoff here last year. It was Fowler’s first Tour win.
This is a course that has tended to produce Major championship calibre winners, such as Vijay Singh (2005), Jim Furyk (2006), Tiger Woods (2007) and McIlroy (2010).
If you are interested in the Majors, it is worth looking at the results this weekend. For instance, Lucas Glover finished runner up in 2009 just weeks before he won the US Open, McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010 and then took the 2011 US Open. And Bubba Watson was runner -up in 2009 and won last year’s Masters.
At 7,492 yards, it is a long par-72 course that requires length off the tee. There are two par-4s that are reachable and the par-5s are there to be scored upon. But the fairways are difficult to find, so it pays to be long and accurate. Last year, only two courses on the Tour were deemed more challenging when it came to finding the fairways. Each of the last six winners had ranked 63rd or better in the Driving Distance stat on the PGA tour in their victorious seasons.
The holes 16 through to 18 is a stretch known as the ‘Green Mile’, culminating with one of the hardest holes on the PGA Tour, an uphill 478-yard par-4, with bunkers to the right and a creek down to the left.
Two of the many fast and undulating greens at Quail Hollow, the 8th and 10th, have had to be completely re-sod as they failed to respond to efforts to generate suitable grass cover. While these two greens may lack a bit of speed and firmness compared to others, the course is otherwise in superb condition.
The lack of water in Charlotte is slightly ironic, given that Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan – otherwise known as the “Golf Boys” – are back with a new video in an effort to raise awareness about the world’s clean water crisis.
Proceeds from the video, titled “2.Oh”, which features the “four hopelessly tone-def and rhythm deprived golfers”, will go to non-profit organization charity:water that constructs clean water wells in Ethiopia (www.charitywater.org).
“The main focus of ‘Golf Boys’ was the charity aspect of it,” said Fowler. “We’re helping give kids in Africa some fresh water, which is something we don’t have to worry about here at home.”
If you’d like to help, click here
In the meantime, watch their hilarious video a few times, as the more views, the more money the charity makes…
The quartet will all tee off at the Quail Hollow Club, where McIlroy is the favourite at around 10.0, with Lee Westwood (18.0), Webb Simpson (20.0) and Phil Mickelson (21.0).
Tiger Woods is taking his usual third week off after The Masters, as is Green Jacket winner Adam Scott. So who will be the men to follow this week?
Westwood cannot be ruled out. Having settled in Florida, he has eight starts on the PGA Tour this season and made all eight cuts. He’s had five top-25 finishes and three top-10s. His driving accuracy (47th) and scrambling (7th) will mean he should be a threat to all on a course where he finished T5 last year, just three shots behind Fowler.
You can never be too sure about Mickelson, who is becoming very hit and miss. In nine career starts here ‘Lefty’ has finished in the top-10 a record six times (four times in the top-5). And in 2010 he impressed with his career-best second place. But his driving is increasingly sketchy – he’s ranked 142nd on Tour in accuracy.
Bubba Watson tied for second here in 2009 and has made all three cuts on this course subsequently. He can be a little wayward off the tee, but if he is blasting them straight off the tee, his length should see him able to attack the par-5s. His T15 in New Orleans last week showed that he might be starting to get everything together after a sluggish start.
Nick Watney has six top-25s in eight visits to Quail Hollow and two top-15 finishes at The Masters and in New Orleans. He has the history and the recent stats to think he will contend.
However, we think this quartet should be worth following:
Rory McIlroy @ 10
This is one week where we would be happy to back the favourites rather than lay them, and despite his skinny odds, and despite the fact that he makes his first start since The Masters, the young Northern Irishman has finished tied for second, missed the cut and won here in three visits. He comes to Quail Hollow, the site of his maiden Tour victory, off a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open and a T25 at the Masters. When he’s booming the ball well off the tee, there are very few players who can live with him, as he showed at Kiawah Island and at Congressional, where he ran away with those Majors. In fact, McIlroy is one of the more confident selections of the season in this spot.
Bill Haas @ 32.0
Bill Haas also has some solid course form, including top-5 finishes in 2006 and 2011. And while he has also missed four of nine cuts at Quail Hollow, he invariably ranks well in the PGA Tour’s Total Driving stat. Haas has been in good form in 2013, posting good finished where he hasn’t always done well. This should be seen as a positive sign going forward and if he continues to play as well as he has so far this term – with five top0-10 finishes and one missed cut for 11 tournaments – he will soon be winning. Might as well be here. And if not, look for him to win a Major within the next 18 months. At 30, he’s still to reach his prime.
Hunter Mahan @ 52.0
With seven top-25 place finishes from 11 starts, there’s plenty to like about Mahan. He has top-25 finishes at Quail Hollow in four of his last five appearances, so clearly knows the intricacies of this demanding track. The reason for his relatively big price is current form, which has taken a knock with two missed cuts – in Houston and Augusta – in the last three tournaments. Yet, he made the cut nine times in 11 tournaments and was twice in the top-10 earlier in the year. If he gets into a groove, he doesn’t shirk the driver. We think it is only a matter of time before he regains his form and he’s a back-to-lay proposition this weekend at these lofty odds.
Robert Garrigus @ 72.0
Long off the tee, Garrigus has made nine cuts from 10 tournaments this year and has two top-10 finishes. He played solidly at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, with his sixth top-25 finish of the season, on a course that was not, strictly speaking, one that would suit his skill-set. His record here reads 59-16-40-MC-9-15, so he has the course pedigree to believe that he is a much bigger price than he should be. While he may not win, given his current good form, it would not be the biggest of surprises if he did exactly that.
Jimmy Walker to beat Nicolas Colsaerts
The stats will tell you that nobody is longer off the tee than the big Belgian, who was a fine T8 last week in New Orleans, making his second top-10 finish of the season. Walker has been in great form, with four top-10s from 11 events and he’s made the cut in each start. Like Colsaerts, he was also T8 in New Orleans and is 10th in driving distance. Crucially, Walker is 7th in birdie average and 26th in Greens in Regulation. That gives him an edge.
Rickie Fowler to beat Dustin Johnson
Fowler tied for third at Bay Hill in March, but hasn’t backed that up with much since, tying for 38th at the Masters and 32nd in New Orleans last week. But Quail Hollow is a special spot for him and as long as he doesn’t eat too many of the home-made doughnuts that are the stuff of legend in the clubhouse here, he can finish in front of Johnson, who has started to regain the form that saw him win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January. More bust than boom after that, he’s T12-T4-T13 in his last three tournaments, but is making his first start since The Masters.
You can now follow BETDAQ updates on Google+
For further details – CLICK HERE
Did you know that as well as checking the realtime prices on BETDAQ below – you can also log into your account and place your bets directly into BETDAQ from BETDAQ TIPS.