First Look: Wells Fargo Championship

THE TOURNAMENT

With regular host Quail Hollow being the location for the PGA Championship in August this year’s Wells Fargo Championship will move to Eagle Point Golf Club. Tom Fazio’s 7,400 yard, par-72 layout is drawing early comparisons to Augusta National due to its length, grass types, and the fact that they hired the course’s former superintendent. We’ll find out later this week if Wilmington, NC provides the same majestic atmosphere that we experience the first week of April every year.

The field this week is made up of 156 golfers with the top 70 and ties playing the weekend. Among those participating is Dustin Johnson who will be making his first appearance since his unfortunate accident that caused him to withdraw from the Masters; DJ is one of seven from the world’s top 20 that are competing.

THE COURSE

At 7,400 yards, Eagle Point Golf Club doesn’t appear to require prodigious length off the tee… at least on paper. With reports of copious amounts of water being dumped on the course this week there’s reason to believe that the fairways will be soft and there won’t be much yardage gained after carry – advantage bombers. The majority of the par-4s will be playing around the same distance, leaving approach shots from 125-175 yards. This should benefit strong wedge players as errant shots into these heavily undulated greens can prove to be very penal. These multi-tiered greens will require proper club selection or golfers will be faced with navigating their way out of some large and difficult collection areas. The greens are made up of Bentgrass and are expected to run at around 12 to 12.5 on the stimpmeter. With the strong coastal winds that are prevalent here a conservative approach to green speed is predictable.

THE STATS

  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Good Drive %
  • Scrambling
  • Driving Distance
  • Par 5 Scoring

Strokes Gained: Approach

Interviews with the likes of Webb Simpson caddy Paul Tesori have indicated that this is very much a second shot course; Tesori is a member of Eagle Point Golf Club and played the course as recent as last week. Golfers with a strong wedge game and the ability to find the proper tier on the greens will succeed this week.

Good Drive %

Despite there being only one dogleg on the entire course, being on the proper side of the hole for approach shots is very important. Good Drive Percentage is a good measurement for ball position as it takes into account greens or fringe in regulation whether the drive was in the fairway or not. Much like Augusta missing the fairway won’t be awful but blocking out your shot to the green could lead to big numbers.

Scrambling

With crown shaped greens it can be expected that many approach shots will find there way to the large collection areas surrounding these putting surfaces. Getting up and down and saving those almighty strokes will be as important as ever.

Driving Distance

If the course softens up like the forecast suggests then targeting guys who mash the ball off the tee is a good place to start. While three of the four par-5s may be reachable by most in normal conditions, those who have length without the course being firm will maintain their short approach shots.

Par 5 Scoring

This can somewhat be coupled with the Driving Distance argument as it appears much of the scoring will take place on the par-5s. With four opportunities on the par-5s each day those who can take advantage will find themselves at the top of the leader board.

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Be sure to check back Wednesday for the Weekend Warriors picks article.

You can also find Going for the Green on Tuesday’s over on FantasyDraft.

Follow me on twitter @GWBuffalo7

Josh Burkett

From Portland, Maine to Austin, TX in search of anything sports. First love was racing, spending my summers bouncing from track to track across the country. Lifelong New York Rangers, New England Patriots, and Boston Red Sox fan. Follow me on twitter @GWBuffalo7.

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