8th August 2017 at 7:47 pm #115286aceventurerModerator
Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts the USPGA Championship, for the first time this week but for those that have competed her before, it is a favourite. Since the course last hosted a PGATour event, 15 months ago it has undergone massive renovations. The 7,600 yard course will now play as a par 71 (35-36). When it played as a par 72 it ranked inside the top ten toughest in both fairways hit (51.01%) and GIR (57.95) so those two stats could be important. Could be a tough time out there this week as storms are moving in, which could cause delays.
Rory McIlroy has been in the doldrums for a while now but there has been some resurgence in his form, especially at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at the weekend. Some people thought it wasn’t advisable changing his long term caddie so near to a Major, but he looked back to his best at Firestone. Rory has an affinity with Quail Hollow and it’s a course where he plays some of his best golf. He won his first PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010, here and has accumulated over $3 million in winnings here alone. Also from 2012 to 2016 he was not out of the top ten on each occasion, including another win in 2015, by seven shots. In that same year he broke the course record with a brilliant 11 under par 61 on the Saturday. With all that in mind I have every confidence in tipping him this week.
DD: 318.8 yards (*N/A) DA: 56.30% (*N/A) GIR: 66.50% (*N/A) SG:Putting: 0.064 (*N/A)
Another whose first PGA Tour victory was at Quail Hollow in the Well Fargo is Rickie Fowler. He beat the aforementioned McIlroy in a playoff in 2012. Twice this season he has been in positions to get his first Major under his belt. In the Masters he was out in the last round with his pal Jordan Spieth and it was expected they would fight it out for the title, but it didn’t turn out that way with Fowler shooting a 76. He has one tournament win this year at the Honda Classic and has played consistently for most of the season. I still believe Fowler has it in him to be a Major winner and this could be where he does it.
DD: 301.4 (32) DA: 64.16% (T53) GIR: 67.56% (36) SG:Putting: .847 (1)
World Number 10 and US Open winner Brooks Koepka is a serious contender for the USPGA title. He finished T11 at the Masters, won the US Open and T6 at the Open at Birkdale this year and has the lowest aggregate finishes of anyone in the Majors. I have long been a Koepka fan, since he was on the European Tour, and was mad with myself for not tipping him for the US Open. Although he has never played Quail Hollow he certainly has the game to win here. He could also become only the third person to win the USOpen and the USPGA in the same season, the other two being Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Not bad company to be in.
DD: 309.2 (T6) DA: 56.10% (159) GIR: 63.89% (141) DG:Putting: .582 (10)
It’s about time Thomas Pieters showed his Ryder Cup form on the US circuit and he did that in spades last weekend when he finished fourth in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He’s had a very so-so season mixing four top fives from ten events with the same amount of missed cuts. The form that really impressed me was his T4 in the Masters. A 75 on the Saturday blew him out of the running but he fought back with a 68 on the Sunday. The 25-year-old Belgian has all the attributes to win a big one.
DD: 294.4 (*N/A) DA: 56.17% (*N/A) GIR: 65.91 (*N/A) SG:Putting: .562 (*N/A)
With four top tens in his last six outings, Charley Hoffman is certainly in top form. A T3 last week at the Bridgestone, second in the Canadian Open and an 8th in the US Open are certainly worth looking at. In his last two outings he has had eight sub-70 rounds, and that’s some form. The 40-year-old has certainly come to the fore this year and maybe this is going to be his year.
DD: 298.3 (50) DA: 58.07% (136); GIR: 67.23% (48) SG Putting: 0.050 (96)
*McIlroy and Pieters have not played enough on the PGA Tour to be classed.
4.00 win Rory McIlroy (Coral 7-1)
1.50 ew Rickie Fowler (Ladbrokes 16-1)
1.50 ew Brooks Koepka (Paddy Power 25-1)
1.00 ew Thomas Pieters (Betfred 60-1)
1.50 ew Charley Hoffman (Bet365 50-1)
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