PGA Tour Picks: 2018 Wells Fargo Championship Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
About the only thing I'll remember from last week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans was that it was pretty interesting to watch when the guys came to the first tee with their new walk-up music. Some players were meh, while some really got into it. It was a big ol' party in the Big Easy, with Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy winning the only annual team event on the PGA Tour. There's no way the Zurich Classic will ever switch back to normal stroke play at this point as the players seem to love the new format.
Horschel, the former FedEx Cup winner, had been in a major slump until recently. He and Piercy combined to shoot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 - the low round of Sunday - to edge Pat Perez and Jason Dufner by a shot. Dufner missed a 14-footer on the 72nd hole to tie. He was trying to become a repeat Zurich Open champion. He won it in 2012 when it was a normal format. It was the fifth PGA Tour win of Horschel's career - his first was in New Orleans in 2013 -- and the fourth for Piercy. They split a little more than $2 million.
Interestingly, the four-ball format led to a field scoring average that was 65.888 on Thursday and 65.222 on Saturday, while the foursomes led to averages of 73.863 on Friday and 72.250 on Sunday. Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, who lost the 2017 Zurich Classic in a playoff, were the 54-hole leaders entering Sunday but shot a 5-over 77. My choice last week was the English duo of Chris Paisley and Tommy Fleetwood, and they finished T4 at 19-under, three back of the winners.
This week the PGA Tour heads to Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship. Some guys treat this like the week before a major because the Players Championship is next week. Thus, those guys who generally like to play before a major are and those who don't aren't. This event has been held at Quail Hollow Club, a par 71 measuring 7,554 yards. However, that wasn't possible in 2017 with the course undergoing renovations/preparations for hosting the 2017 PGA Championship, which Justin Thomas won. With the changes, the course played much tougher than it had previously.
The defending champion is Brian Harman, who shot 10-under 278 last year at Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington and beat Dustin Johnson and Perez in a playoff. The defending champion at Quail Hollow is James Hahn, who beat Roberto Castro in a 2016 playoff with both finishing at 9-under. I'm presuming the scores will be more like that than the tournament-record 21-under Rory McIlroy shot in 2015. Since the tournament began in 2003, Lucas Glover (2011) is the only man to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.
Tiger Woods is playing for the first time since the Masters - the 2007 champ hadn't played here since 2012 -- and also will play next week at the Players. Nine of the world's Top 15 also are in the field.
Golf Odds: Wells Fargo Championship Favorites
McIlroy is the +650 Bovada favorite , and he's the only two-time winner here. His first PGA Tour win was at this course in 2010 when it was called the Quail Hollow Championship. He shot 15-under that year and won by four. Then he had that record 21-under score in 2015 and won by seven shots. Rory was fifth in the Masters in his last PGA Tour event.
Thomas is +1000 to sort of repeat here. He and teammate Bud Cauley missed the cut last week, and Thomas was MC here in his last trip in 2016. He was seventh the year before. Rickie Fowler (+1000), Jason Day (+2000), Patrick Reed (+2000) and Phil Mickelson round out the favorites (+2000). Woods is just outside at +2200. Fowler won here in 2012 in a playoff. Mickelson has done everything but win here with 11 Top 12 finishes in 14 trips. It's Reed's first stroke-play event since winning the Masters. He has yet to contend in Charlotte.
Golf Odds: Wells Fargo Championship Picks
For a Top 10, I like McIlroy (-125), Fowler (+120) and Mickelson (+200). Take a shot on Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson (+400) as well. I don't like Tiger (+200). He's -450 to make the cut at +300 to miss.
Head-to-head, go Simpson (-110) over Oosthuizen (-120), Tony Finau (-130) over Kisner (even), Paul Casey (-125) over Fleetwood (-105), Mickelson (-130) over Woods (even), Hideki Matsuyama (-115) over Reed (-115), and McIlroy (-130) over Thomas (even).
Bovada offers a prop on McIlroy and Thomas (+400) vs. the field (-650). I would prefer it be McIlroy and Fowler; instead, Fowler is with Day and Reed at +450 vs. the field (-750). Let's not overthink this: McIlroy owns this track. He's the winner.
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