PGA Tour Picks: Wells Fargo Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Really not too much to say about Sunday's Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which was won by the team of Spain's Jon Rahm and American Ryan Palmer. That event is nearly impossible to handicap because of the team format and the fact it's still pretty new.
Rahm and Palmer shot a final-round 69 - easily the team's worst round of the week - but it was enough to finish at 26-under and win by three over Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia. A 65 by Rahm and Palmer on Friday was the best alternate-shot round of the entire tournament. It was Palmer's first win since the 2010 Sony Open. It was Rahm's third PGA Tour win in as many years. My choice last week was Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. They shot a first-round 62 but wouldn't approach that again and finished T5 at 20-under.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship - Wells Fargo is a mega-sponsor on Tour and the company sponsors several guys individual so this usually gets a very good field. It's quite good this week with 10 of the world's Top 25 among the field of 156. However, there's definitely some star power missing with Tiger Woods deciding not to play - along with Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.
It was thought Woods was going to tee it up for the first time since his stirring Masters victory. Even tournament organizers thought so and had been marketing this event as if Woods would play. Alas, he didn't commit by last Friday afternoon's deadline. Interesting, because that means Tiger almost surely will not have played a competitive round since Sunday at Augusta, and the PGA Championship in two weeks. Tiger never plays next week's Byron Nelson in Texas and never plays the week before a major (others will use this as their tune up as well). Woods won the Wells Fargo in 2007 and did play last year.
That DJ, Spieth and Watson aren't playing isn't a shock as they rarely do in Charlotte. Justin Thomas was going to but had to withdraw with a wrist injury. Phil Mickelson is playing this week - the tournament began in 2003 and he has played every year but one.
Quail Hollow is a long par-71 measuring about 7,550 yards. It has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship every year but 2017. It didn't then because Quail Hollow held that year's PGA Championship. When courses hold a major, they often give up the regular Tour event that year just for preparations as tracks are made tougher for a major. Quail Hollow is still annually among the Top 10 toughest on Tour. The hardest stretch if 16-18, known as "Green Mile." Thomas, incidentally, won that PGA Championship.
Golf Odds: Wells Fargo Championship Favorites
No surprise that Rory McIlroy is the heavy +600 favorite at Bovada as he's the only player to win this event twice. McIlroy's first PGA Tour win was at Quail Hollow in 2010 thanks to a final-round 62, and then he shot a tournament-record 21-under par in 2015 (third-round 61) on the way to a seven-shot victory. Rory was 16th last year and T22 at the 2017 PGA at the course.
Australia's Jason Day is +1000 to become the first repeat champion here. He had a two-shot lead through 54 holes last year, struggled early but regained control with birdies at 16 & 17 to finish at 12 under, two ahead of Nick Watney and Aaron Wise. Day also had a Top 10 at the 2017 PGA.
Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler are each +1100 and Hideki Matsuyama +1800. Fowler won in 2012 at 14 under, beating McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff. He was T5 at the 2017 PGA and 21st last year. Rose has a couple of Top 5s in this tournament. Matsuyama was T5 at the 2017 PGA but 76th last year here.
Golf Odds: Wells Fargo Championship Picks
Americans have won this tournament all but four times. Just one of the past nine defending champions has managed a Top-25 finish the next year.
For a Top 10, have to go Rory at -150 as he's a definite Horse for the Course. Also like Fowler (+140) and 2011 champion Lucas Glover (+400). He also has a runner-up here and a few other Top 10s. Go McIlroy at +160 as top European.
My winner is Mickelson at +2500. He's second in all-time Wells Fargo Championship earnings with eight Top 5s but yet to win. How good of a story would it be for Lefty and Tiger (assuming neither plays next week) to each enter the PGA Championship off wins?!
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