Just 124 days after the first day of the Masters, we’ve arrived in Charlotte ahead of the year’s final Major Championship. The best golfer’s in the world will tee it up at Quail Hollow this week in hopes of lifting the famed Wanamaker trophy.
This course has primarily favoured the long, elite drivers of the ball and those who play aggressively in search of birdies. Strong par five scoring has been an indicator of success here. There have been some major course renovations but on the whole, the layout should favour right-to-left hitters.
Pick of the favourites: Rory McIlroy
It goes without saying that McIlroy is the man to beat this week. He’s one of only two players in history to win at Quail Hollow on their debut, winning the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010 before setting the course record and winning again in 2015. His scoring average of 69.46 is the best of anyone in the field and in his 26 rounds here the Northern Irishman has beaten the field average by more than three shots a round. McIlroy finished in the top five last week at Firestone and seemed to be in the form of his life off the tee, a key aspect to playing well this week. He is the only player in history to have birdied more than 30 percent of the holes he has played at Quail Hollow and with the course hosting a Major for the first time, birdies (and eagles) will be crucial. No one else has a birdie rate of more than 25 percent.
Form Horse: Thomas Pieters
If you’re looking for a long-hitter, in-form with Major potential, look no further than Thomas Pieters. The Belgian co-lead after 54 holes last week at Firestone and looked to have all parts of his game firing throughout the week. His fourth place finished matched top five performances at this year’s Masters and WGC-Mexico Championship and many believe Pieters could contend this week at Quail Hollow. His 302.9 yard average driving distance is more than ten yards further than the field average of the events he’s played and the 25 year old ranks inside the top ten in One Putts and the top 20 in Putts per GIR as well this season.
Wildcard Pick: Ross Fisher
England’s Ross Fisher has enjoyed a comeback season so far in 2017. Six top tens, including the WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Match Play, have the 36 year old inside the top ten in the Race to Dubai rankings and inside the top 50 in the world. Only Tommy Fleetwood has finished in the top ten more this year on the European Tour. Fisher is averaging 300 yards off the tee this season and ranks inside the top 15 in Greens in Regulation. Whilst he only has four top 20 finishes in Majors, it’s a new Ross Fisher that arrives at Quail Hollow this week and he could surprise a few people.
Those are the three picks from our statistics expert, now it's over to you. Be sure to make your Fantasy picks and select your Daily Fantasy team before the first round kicks off on Thursday.