We come off yet another victory as Billy Horschel picked up his 1st career PGA Tour win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Billy utilized some timely putting and excellent driving to fire a final round 64 and claim the title. I said that he was going to win very soon on Tour and he did just that. Billy knocked in a 27 foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the tournament, and provide yet another exciting finish for us.
This week we travel to the Quail Hallow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. Last year’s winner Rickie Fowler (who we had) returns along with one of the best fields we get to see throughout the year. Let’s take a closer look at the golf course that will test the golfers this week.
Quail Hallow is one of the longer courses the players play on Tour. At 7442 yards and Par 72, this course forces the players to cover every yard of that distance (It is not like when the guys play in Arizona and the ball travels much further). The Players will have to manage the course while bombing the ball on the long Par 4’s and 5’s.
The course features four Par 4’s that are 478 yards or longer, along with a 566 yard Par 5 as its second shortest Par 5. You might think the designer would let up on the players for the Par 3’s but that is not the case. The course features only one Par 3 that measures less than 200 yards. Let’s look a little more in-depth at three holes I feel could have a major impact on deciding this excellent tournament.
Par 4 480 yards 16th Hole – This is a beautiful hole that begins a 3-hole stretch that will decide the tournament this week. The drive must be straight as there is a bunker on the right hand side that will try and swallow up golf balls. If you succeed in driving the ball straight you will have an average difficulty shot into a green that absolutely no one wants to putt on. Wait until you see some of the breaks players will be faced with on this crazy 16th green this week. It should be entertaining.
Par 3 217 yard 17th Hole – Any green that is almost an island and is the 17th hole tends to provide plenty of excitement on the PGA Tour. This 17th hole will provide players with a decision on whether to go for the pin or lay-up safely to the other side of the green come Sunday. If you are a player who needs the birdie on this hole, you had better understand your ball has a strong chance of getting wet.
Par 4 478 yard 18th Hole – The 18th is one hole that I would love to play but I think I would post a Kevin Na type score come Sunday with the pressure. The 18th has a very tight fairway forcing the players to be extremely accurate. To add to the difficulty there is a bunker on the right and a creek down the left hand side. The green is well guarded and will force players to once again be accurate. This is always an interesting finishing hole.
The field this week is superb. This week we have 14 of the Top 30 players in the Official golf rankings. Some of the better known names include Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia. The field also consists of 6 past champions – Rickie Fowler (2012), Lucas Glover (2011), Rory McIlroy (2010), Sean O’Hair (2009), Vijay Singh (2005), and David Toms (2003) . Quail Hallow is a difficult test and figures to be the type of golf course that experience helps dramatically.
There will be 16 past major champions competing this week, once again showing the depth in this field. All the players know the competition level is at a premium this week in North Carolina, so expect the cream of the crop to rise to the top. Look for the top players in the world to battle it out, but a few lesser known players will also try to make a statement.
Steve’s Six Pack System Picks
We have our usual 6-pack of outright winners sent out to members, but I’m going to include a free one here for you below. To get all picks this week visit www.GolfBanker.com and sign up for a membership.
Lee Westwood 17 TO 1 – Lee Westwood is going to win on on Tour. I said it last week about Billy Horschel, and feel the same way about Westwood. A player of Lee’s caliber can only come close so many times before he breaks through with a 2013 victory. Lee has posted back to back Top 10 finishes ( Shell Houston Open and The Masters ), and appears to have his game in order. It seemed to take Lee a bit of time at the beginning of the season to get accommodated to living full time in the United States, but he is settled now in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lee has participated at Quail Hallow four times now, with his best finish coming last season (T5). In that tournament he closed with weekend rounds of 68 and 66, something that should give him plenty of confidence heading into the 2013 edition. Westwood will drive the ball very well this week, as he ranks 13th on Tour for Total Driving. Another statistic I like for Lee is the fact that he has hit over 73% of his Greens in Regulation in each of his past three starts here ( 2012, 2010, and 2007). Look for Lee to give himself plenty of birdie opportunities, but possibly more important at Quail Hallow, plenty of tap in Pars.
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