Wells Fargo Championship experts' picks

May, 1, 2012
Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Rory McIlroy
Seems as soon as Luke Donald takes the No. 1 world ranking, Rory plays the next week and takes it right back from him. That's gonna happen again after this week in Charlotte. And just like at the Honda, Luke's not playing. This is a course Rory destroyed on his way to his first PGA Tour win in 2010. Remember that Sunday 62? He's gonna get close to that score again this year.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Rory McIlroy
The reigning U.S. Open champion didn't live up to his pre-tournament billing with a tie for 40th at the Masters, but Quail Hollow is where he had his maiden win on the PGA Tour in 2010 with a final-round, course-record 10-under-par 62.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson
Although he's sometimes been critical of the course, Lefty has played Quail Hollow every year starting in 2004 and has just one finish outside the top 12.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Tiger Woods
Toss out his last outing at Quail Hollow. His MC in 2010 was just his second start after returning from his scandal. But over the years, Woods has played this venue quite well, with three top-5s including a victory in 2007.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Bill Haas
Talk about being greedy! It's not enough that you made more than $12 million, including the FedEx Cup last year. Couldn't you just go on vacation for a while? This year he ranks 32nd on tour in birdie average and 32nd in greens in regulation. Top it off with the fact that since 2005 he's missed the cut here only twice ('07 and '08).

Farrell Evans: Cameron Tringale
The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech star had his third top-10 in a row in New Orleans with a tie for seventh. He's slowly becoming one of the top consistent young players on tour.

Bob Harig: Cameron Tringale
He keeps putting himself in contention, and his tie for seventh at New Orleans was his third straight finish in the top 10.

Kevin Maguire: Cameron Tringale
He might be the best player on tour that the average golf fan has never heard of. His accountant certainly knows what he can do since Tringale has cashed nearly $1 million in earnings so far this season.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Brendon de Jonge
It seems the native Zimbabwean has gotten extremely comfortable in his fourth straight year on tour, having made 10 of 13 cuts this year -- only two of which were outside top 50s. Credit his work with swing coach Ricky Sullivan (Bulls Bay GC, just outside Charleston, S.C.) and his greens in regulations (tied for 35th), which will benefit him the most this week.

Farrell Evans: Jonathan Byrd
The five-time PGA Tour winner lost in a playoff last year to former Clemson teammate Lucas Glover. But this is Byrd's first tournament back after taking three weeks off after his wife, Amanda, gave birth to their third child on March 30. The 34-year-old St. Simons Island resident last played at the Masters, where he finished in a tie for 27th.

Bob Harig: Ken Duke
He tied for seventh in New Orleans, his third top-10 in seven events, and keeps hanging around, looking for that first PGA Tour victory.

Kevin Maguire: Padraig Harrington
The three-time major winner has played his best golf this year on major or major-caliber courses (T-7 at Pebble Beach, T-8 at Augusta National and T-20 at Innisbrook) and Quail Hollow fits that bill perfectly.


Michael Collins: Bo Van Pelt
He's been off since missing the cut in Hilton Head. That was after a tie for 17th at the Masters, and four top-10s before that. This is a big boy course and Van Pelt is a big boy looking to get his second career win and a spot on this year's Ryder Cup team. This week will be a huge step toward the latter.

Farrell Evans: Webb Simpson
As is Johnson Wagner, the 26-year-old Charlotte resident is a member at Quail Hollow. It's been tough this year for him to play up to the high standards that he set for himself in 2011, when he had 12 top-10s, but he's been solid in 2012 with three top-10s, including a tie for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The Wake Forest grad had a good week in New Orleans with a T-13. A T-21 last year at Quail Hollow was his best finish in three trips to this event.

Bob Harig: Jim Furyk
A winner of the event in 2006, Furyk has also been in the top 11 in three of the last four years. Still looking for his first victory since the 2010 Tour Championship, Furyk has shown flashes. He puts it all together at Quail Hollow.

Kevin Maguire: Phil Mickelson
Somehow Lefty's never won at Quail Hollow despite six top-10 finishes in eight starts there. If he can avoid the big numbers (see: Augusta National), it'll be hard to keep Mickelson from winning his second event in 2012.





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