Impressive field lined up for Wachovia
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 Wachovia Championship | Preview | 30 Apr 2008
The Wachovia Championship begins a series of top class events on golf courses of the highest quality leading into the US Open.
This week’s tournament at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina was introduced to the PGA Tour schedule in 2003 and has quickly established itself as a must play event not only because of its scheduling ahead of the Players Championship but because of the quality of the Tom Fazio redesigned layout.
Originally built in 1961, the Quail Hollow layout was previously the venue for the Kemper Open before that event was taken north to the Congressional Golf Club then redesigned by Fazio in 2003. The course is one of the more demanding amongst those used for regular tour events. With recent rain in the region the golf course will play its full length of 7442 yards.
In keeping with the quality of the event and the venue the tournament has attracted a particularly strong field with only the recovering Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and K.J. Choi missing from the leading ten players in the world.
The favourite will be Phil Mickelson, who despite not winning at Quail Hollow, does boast a very good record in the four times he has played here. Mickelson finished fifth in his last start this season, which was at Augusta National, and for that reason alone he must be optimistic about his chances this week.
Newly crowned world number five, Adam Scott, has found a rich vein of form not only last week but in earlier events this season. Scott has played this venue well in each of his three starts here including a third in 2006 behind Jim Furyk after a final round of 66.
Jim Furyk has produced two good finishes on strong golf courses in recent weeks and, as a previous winner and runner up at Quail Hollow, he should figure in the finish on Sunday.
Vijay Singh has also been a winner and runner up at this venue, the victory coming in 2005 when defeating Furyk and Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Singh has played with a lot of consistency in recent weeks and all things being equal should be amongst the contenders.
Steve Stricker finished runner up to Tiger Woods in the event last year and, despite a little inconsistency of late, his form for much of this season has been good enough for him to be a contender on a golf course that suits his style of play.
If Sergio Garcia can find a way to hole a few putts then he has a chance to do well on a golf course he has played well previously. His form has been solid enough of late but a few putts made will make all the difference. He lost a playoff to Singh in 2005 after self destructing in the final round but he could do well.
Geoff Ogilvy was perhaps disappointing at Augusta but prior to that he had been on fire with a win at Doral and runner up in Houston. He has played this course well enough previously to be a threat this week also.
This is, though, a particularly strong field and a win from outside of this group would not surprise.
The Australasians other than Scott and Ogilvy are Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Mathew Goggin, Nick O’Hern, Rod Pampling, John Senden, Nathan Green, Peter Lonard, Mark Hensby, Tim Wilkinson, Nick Flanagan, Matt Jones, Brett Rumford and Stephen Leaney.