Skeeter’s still on his travels so i’m taking the reins again for the final Major of the year, the US PGA Championship from Quail Hollow golf club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Quail Hollow is a classic 7,600 yard par 71 and the scene of Rory Mcilroy’s demolition of a top class PGA Tour field in 2010 at the Wells Fargo, an event he also won in 2015.
This is what Rory said about the course this week which has had a few changes made including changing the greens to Bermuda grass.
Rory McIlroy: “The changes are good. It definitely makes the start of the golf course more challenging. The first hole, now instead of it being 3 wood and a wedge, it’s a driver and a good mid iron. I think you won’t really see guys getting off to the hot starts that they used to. You see guys maybe, especially those first six holes, you’d see guys 3 or 4 under par. I don’t think that’s going to happen now. And then the rest of the golf course is pretty much the same. Obviously they have lengthened 11 a little bit. But what they have done on 16, 17 and 18 over the years has stayed pretty much the same.
I like the changes. I mean, I obviously like the golf course the way it was before. My record around there is pretty good. I fancy my chances around there. But it’s always been, I guess, a modern player’s golf course. You’ve got to, if you can drive it a long way, there’s an advantage there, especially coming in with the driveable par-4, 14th and in; the par-5 15 and the long holes coming in. So yeah, I think people will really enjoy it this year. It’s a great venue for a tournament and it will be a great venue for a Major, as well.”
Quail Hollow will play long and par 5 scoring will be a key to success, along with the standard requisites of solid scrambling and putting.
This has been a happy punting tournament for me in the past (getting towards distant past) with bets at 200/1+ landing with YE Yang and Keegan Bradley.
I look for players that have won in the last 12 months and who have held a good level of form since with a recent top 10 finish.
Justin Thomas has won three times in the last 12 months and has cemented himself in the world’s top 20. He tied for 4th at the Memorial and tied for 9th at the US Open and was 7th at Quail Hollow in 2015. He looks a solid chance to give the leaderboard a shake at some point over the weekend
Belgian Thomas Pieters, like Justin Thomas, looks a sure fire future Major winner and showed his current form with a 4th placed finish at the Bridgestone last week. He was also 4th in the Masters and won the Made In Denmark event on the European Tour just under 12 months ago.
1 unit win at $70 on
Charley Hoffman has not won in the past 12 months but he’s been incredibly consistent and has three top 3 finishes in his last five events. He was 8th in this year’s US Open and also contended for a long time at the Masters. All this should stand him in good stead this week.
I’ve never tipped Brendan Steele on here before as he’s generally the type of player that does well in the minor tour events rather than this sort of field but his recent course form figures of 14, 9 and 30 catch the eye. He’s also won in the last 12 months, at the Safeway Open in October.
Wes Bryan dominated the Web.com Tour (like Justin Thomas) before graduating to the PGA Tour and he’s settled in very well, winning the RBC Heritage and finishing 3rd in the John Deere just 3 starts ago.