Back to proper tournament golf after lasts weeks shenanigans. As a marker of both the innate conservatism and success of the PGA Tour it was interesting to note that last weeks Zurich was the first team event on the tour since 1981!
The Wells Fargo while a well-established event over the past 15 years is thrown in here at a new venue as its traditional home since 2003, Quail Hollow, is in use for the USPGA in August.
Come on down Eagle Point Golf Club, Wilmington, voted one of America’s top 100 courses by Golf Digest. The course looks magnificent, a tree lined, bog standard Par 72 but with zero course form there is even more room for speculation this week.
Dustbin is back after his Masters debacle and has now had 6 weeks off…nice. As testimony to his meteoric rise Rahm is second in the market. Scott and Milky Phil add more star quality. Kisner is flying but falling short.
Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open champ is back and he has some knowledge of this course. Describing it as a golf club (without the country club bs) he also likens it to Augusta with the colour, trees, topography and sand in the bunkers. So he’s local and that has to be some sort of advantage but more to the point he’s back to near his best. Robbed, along with Bradley, of their putting prowess having being raised on the belly method he’s taken time to reconcile his stroke. 2017 represents the point where he looks like he will win – the same can’t be said of Bradley. Simpson has spent a lot of time here over the years and allied to his efforts to contend twice at the Waste Management and at the Heritage plus his emotional resonance and hardened game set up well for a good week. He’s inconsistent yes but he is a major champion and multiple winner on tour and on greens no one will be as in tune with he has to be on our shortlist.
1pt win @ $34
William McGirt is one of those players that has taken time to mature and at 37, with his local connections – raised in the state – and current form, he looks made for Eagle Point. At 7,400 ish yards this is in reality not a long course and given his impressive efforts at Augusta where he faded to 22nd but was in contention after Friday, the local(ish) man looks poised to contend. Eagle Point is a curiously straight course with just one dogleg so straight driving should be rewarded and McGirt in the form of his life and ranking as he does 3rd in fairways hit might like it around here. Three top 10’s including a 3rd at the tight Hilton Head all bode well.
1 pt win @ $46
Shane Lowry has seemingly yet to recover from last years US Open – where we assumed two weeks later he might. So why now? The unknowables combined with some all round impressive ball-striking stats and the fact he can get hot. Eagle Point LOOKS to be a course where solid tee to green perfomances will play a vital part and putting will separate the contenders. Lowry is a consistently good ball striker with a great wind game and with Eagle Rock being a mile from the shore wind might be a factor. Leaving wind aside (currently 0 mph) and his modest efforts this season Lowry has won on tour and his profile looks on the up. One of those players whose stats seem middling it’s the totality of his that impress. 22ND off the tee, 27th tee to green and 33rd strokes gained total. Putting has let him down but even there he has a positive figure albeit a modest 0.123. A talented player looking for his best.