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The Wells Fargo Championship has always attracted quality fields but this year the standard goes up even higher due to its new status as a ‘designated’ event.
The $20m purse will be fought out by just about all the top names except the last two Masters winners: John Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
For many of the big guns, this will also be their final event before the year’s second Major - the PGA Championship - in two weeks’ time.
Rory McIlroy is the clear betting favorite this week and that looks right given his superb course record at Quail Hollow.
This is the 20th edition of the event and McIlroy has three wins to his name at the famed North Carolina track.
Jason Day (2018) and Vijay Singh (2005) are the only other non-American winners of the tournament.
Quail Hollow is a lengthy 7,538-yard par 71 featuring a punishing finish known as The Green Mile.
Those closing three holes - par-4 16th, par-3 17th, and par-4 18th - averaged a combined 0.847 over par for the last edition held there in 2021.
The George Cobb design that underwent a Tom Fazio revamp has staged other recent big events: the 2017 PGA Championship won by Justin Thomas and the 2022 Presidents Cup.
In those years, the tournament moved elsewhere so course form at Quail Hollow after 2016 only applies to 2018, 2019, and 2021 (2020 was lost to the pandemic).
The course has Bermuda greens overseeded with Poa and they’re set to run fast at 13 on the Stimpmeter.
As for the weather, it looks windy for the practice days.
But when the gun fires, the forecast suggests those gusts will calm. There could be some rain for Saturday’s third round which would soften the course.
As mentioned, Rory McIlroy is the big course horse having won at Quail Hollow in 2010, 2015, and 2021.
In the first of those, he made the cut on the number and then shot 66-62 to win by four while his 2015 triumph was by a seven-shot margin.
This is the Northern Irishman’s first event since his surprise missed cut at The Masters.
Patrick Cantlay is second in the betting at +1200.
That’s based more on his current form (4th, 3rd last two starts) as his only two Quail Hollow starts show a missed cut in 2021 and tied 33rd when it staged the 2017 PGA.
Tony Finau won in Mexico last week and is +1600 to follow up here.
The big hitter has played six times at Quail Hollow, posting two top 25s but nothing better than 16th.
Viktor Hovland got his first and so far only look at Quail Hollow in 2021.
The Norwegian certainly liked what he saw and rounds of 69, 72, 68, and 67 gave him a tie for third place.
He returns showing excellent form in the big events.
The latter was his best Masters finish and added to his tied fourth in the previous Major: The Open Championship at St Andrews.
On the stats, the World No.12 ranks 7th in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and that’s a key metric at Quail Hollow.
It’s a track that suits so back Hovland for the ‘W’ at +2000 with BetMGM.
Last week’s 72-hole match bet in Mexico landed easily as -110 Brandon Wu finished third in the tournament behind Finau and Rahm while rival Robbie Shelton missed the cut.
This time, I’ll take Taylor Moore to beat Matt Kuchar in another -110 pick ‘em.
This is Moore’s first start at Quail Hollow but he’s full of confidence after a recent win at the Valspar Championship in Florida.
The American followed that with a promising Masters debut (tied 39th), 11th at Hilton Head, and fourth in the Zurich Classic pairs event.
He’s also made the top five in his last two starts in North Carolina.
Kuchar is in decent shape too but he’s not played at Quail Hollow in a regular tour event since 2010.
He missed the cut that week, his third early exit in four appearances, so it’s no surprise it fell off his schedule.
Kuchar did make the top 10 at Quail Hollow in the 2017 PGA Championship but that was held in August and the course played differently.
At over 7,500 yards it looks awfully long for Kuchar while Moore’s combination of strong driving and hot putting makes him a good fit.
Emiliano Grillo has found some strong form again and looks an ideal candidate for this week’s Top 20 bet.
The Argentine shot four rounds in the 60s to take tied seventh in the RBC Heritage and repeated the feat to land a top-five in Mexico last week.
He boasts course form too having finished tied 14th (2021) and tied ninth (2018) in his last two trips to Quail Hollow.
Grillo is +375 for the Top 20 with bet365, which looks like a good deal.
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Tournament: Wells Fargo Championship
Location: Quail Hollow Golf Club, Charlotte, NC
Date: THURSDAY MAY 04 - SUNDAY MAY 07
How to watch: THURSDAY-FRIDAY 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). SATURDAY-SUNDAY 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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