By News Team
5th May 2021
One of the great courses on the PGA Tour, Quail Hollow hosts this week as a strong field head to North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship.
With the likes of Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy all in the field, this is an event which promises much – and here’s our preview, where we think a local resident could be in store for a good week.
Big guns worth taking on
Of the market leaders, Justin Thomas (11/1) is the rightful joint-favourite and could easily blow this field apart. He won his sole Major, the PGA Championship, at Quail Hollow in 2017, and based on last week’s performance at Innisbrook, he is close to playing his best. Though he finished 13th, he ranked first for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, SG: Tee To Green and SG: Approach, and had it not been for a stone-cold putter (ranked 67th in SG), he would probably have won. It’s becoming a nagging problem for JT and it’s a big enough concern to leave him off here.
World number three, Jon Rahm, finished only 58th here at the aforementioned PGA in 2017, but there’s every chance he’ll improve on that this week. He’s finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 11 starts and you’d imagine if he’s in the same form again here then he’s sure to contend at 11/1 as the fellow joint-favourite.
It’s anyone’s guess how Rory McIlroy will go this week. He loves Quail Hollow, having won this event twice, but his game has been in a sorry state for a while now and although he’s now working with a new coach, you’ve got to think this isn’t a quick fix – and he looks opposable as well at 16/1.
Local man Simpson the one
If any player wants to win this event then it’s surely WEBB SIMPSON and he gets the headline vote at 22/1. Simpson is a member at Quail Hollow and only lives a short trip away from the course, so this an event which he holds close to his heart. He came close to winning it in 2015 where he finished runner-up and was also fourth in 2012 so has plenty of form here. He was also T21 and T18 in the last two editions, and while the fact he lives close to the course brings added pressure, his numerous top fives at the Wyndham Championship shows he’s more than capable of playing well in front of the North Carolina crowds.
Simpson’s case is also furthered by the stats. Putting has become very important at Quail Hollow with the last winner, Max Homa, ranking first for SG: Putting, with Jason Day – the 2018 winner – ranking second in that category. Another key stat is par-four scoring with four of the last six winners ranking first on those types of holes, while the other two ranked fourth and fifth respectively. Webb is ranked 18th in SG: Putting this season and is also 18th for par-four scoring.
Simpson comes into this in good form, having finished 12th at Augusta and ninth when defending his title at Harbour Town, and he looks likely to go very well as he hunts down another PGA Tour title.