PGA Tour Picks: Wells Fargo Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/30/2014
I think it's fair to say that frustration is setting in for me on these weekly golf predictions stories. I have followed the PGA Tour very closely for years, but I had 100 percent never heard of last week's winner of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, South Korean Seung-Yul Noh.
He was the third-round leader and had a few stumbles on Sunday but finished with a 1-under 71 on a very windy day to win by two shots over Andrew Svoboda and Robert Streb (who!?!?) for his first PGA Tour victory. It was his 78th career start, and he had never finished better than T4. I'm not surprised a relative unknown won last week because of a not-great field, but come on! Noh earned a spot in next week's Players Championship as well as this year PGA Championship and the 2015 Masters. He is the fifth Korean-born player to ever win a PGA Tour event, the seventh first-time winner this year and the first player from somewhere other than the U.S. or Australia to win a tournament so far. Noh jumped from No. 176 in the world rankings to No. 88.
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I went with Canadian Graham DeLaet to get his first win last week, but he finished T29 after a final-round 73. The only Top-10 result I hit on was Justin Rose at +110 as he finished T8. Two other guys I liked, Rickie Fowler and Kevin Stadler, missed the cut. I also hit on Rose at 9/4 as the top European. Head-to-head my winner was DeLaet (-140) over Matt Every, who missed the cut.
This week the field is better at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. It's usually a popular stop among players because of the course -- the final three-hole stretch is known as the "Green Mile" and the fact that Wells Fargo is big-time sponsor on Tour. Guys like Tiger Woods and Jason Day would normally be playing here if not for injuries. Ten of the world's Top 30 are set to tee it up, led by Phil Mickelson, Rose and Rory McIlroy, who won here in 2010. McIlroy, incidentally, fell to No. 11 in the world rankings this week, his first time outside the Top 10 since mid-January 2011. Tiger will keep the top spot in the rankings this week even though he's sidelined, but there's a great chance he loses it next week.
The winner this week will earn a spot in the Players Championship if not already qualified. That's what happened last year when some dude named Derek Ernst, ranked No. 1,217 in the world, won this tournament. He birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff and then beat Englishman David Lynn on the first extra hole for his first Tour win. Ernst has been terrible since then, usually missing cuts. The only guy who can qualify this week for the Players by not winning is J.B. Holmes if he finishes 63rd or better. He needs eight FedEx Cup points to fulfill his major medical extension.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Wells Fargo Championship Favorites
McIlroy is the 7/1 favorite at Bovada . He has yet to miss a cut on the PGA Tour this season and has only one finish in a stroke-play event outside the Top 10. He last teed it up at the Masters with a T8. His win at the 2010 Wells Fargo was McIlroy's first on the PGA Tour. He was T10 here a year ago and lost in a playoff two years ago.
Mickelson is 14/1, and something seems amiss with Lefty, perhaps his back. He hasn't played since missing the cut at the Masters for the first time since 1997. He has more missed cuts (two) than Top-10 finishes (zero) in 2014. Mickelson has three top-three finishes in 10 starts at the Wells Fargo, including last year. He hasn't won, however.
Lee Westwood is 16/1, followed by Rose (18/1), Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler (both 25/1). Westwood enters off a dominant seven-shot win at the Malaysian Open on April 20, ending a two-year winless drought. He led wire-to-wire. He finished seventh in the Masters in his last start in the States. Westwood has Top-5 finishes in his past two trips to this event. Rose played well last week but has never been better than 28th here. Fowler struggled last week but got his first PGA Tour win here in 2012.
PGA Tour Picks: Wells Fargo Championship Predictions
Bovada is offering Top-5 results for the full field, but the only one I would bite on is McIlroy at 11/8. For sure get him at -150 for a Top 10. Also like Westwood (+115), Webb Simpson (+350) and Bill Haas (+350). This is Simpson's home course, literally, while Haas is also from Charlotte. I don't like Lefty on much of anything again this week. Take McIlroy at 15/8 as the top European, Stuart Appleby at 4/1 (he has played here every year of its existence) as the top Aussie and Rory Sabbatini at 2/1 as the top South African. He finished third here twice.
Head-to-head, lean McIlroy (-175) over Mickelson (+135), Westwood (-120) over Rose (-110), Simpson (-115) over Hunter Mahan (-115) and Ryan Moore (-115) over Zach Johnson (-115).
I would really like to pick Simpson to win at 40/1 because he knows the course better than anyone. The guy practices there. While I think a Top-10 is
doable, he hasn't played well this year, so I can't take him to win. I hate picking the favorites, but McIlroy is the choice to win an event twice for the
first time in his career.
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