Tournament: Wells Fargo Championship, May 4-7
Course: Eagle Point Golf Club, Wilmington, NC. 7,396 yards, par 72
Defending Champion: James Hahn. Hahn, a surprising multiple Tour winner best known for getting jiggy with it, held off hard charges from Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy to best Roberto Castro (Florida Gator) in a playoff. Gatorfreude.
Fun Fact: The tournament is normally conducted at Quail Hollow Golf Club, a demanding test in Charlotte. But Quail Hollow is the site of this summer’s PGA Championship (a major), so to give variety, the tournament moved to Wilmington, NC.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Six): Brendon Todd, Harris English, Kevin Kisner, Chris Kirk, Hudson Swafford, Brian Harman.
We’ve had a couple of winners this season from the UGA folds, and couple of near misses. This includes last week’s unique team format Zurich Classic, where Georgia’s own Kevin Kisner teamed with his childhood buddy and fellow Tour pro Scott Brown and finished second. They were 1 shot out of it on the last hole having come from 4 shots down, but the Kiz came through in the clutch with an eagle chip-in in low-light conditions (and a final round 60). They played 4 holes sudden death the next day, but unfortunately the good guys couldn’t quite match the magic.
From New Orleans, the Tour comes east and settles on the North Carolina coast. As mentioned above, this is a 1-time thing at Eagle Point as the normal host course readies itself for hosting it’s first major championship in August. But stand-in Eagle Point is no slouch itself (don’t sell yourself short, Eagle Point). It is a very lush course, with surprising elevation and undulating greens, somewhat reminiscent of Augusta National. Pine trees, quick greens, white sand... it all looks familiar. But this is not Augusta National, and the scores will be appreciably lower.
Six former Bulldogs are playing this week, so I’m hoping the good early season mojo produces some good results.
Brendon Todd. A former Tour winner, I honestly can’t figure out how he’s playing this week. He only has partial, if any, Tour privileges and I haven’t seen him playing Web.com mini-tour events either. His world ranking is now 862 (yikes). My research only goes so far, but no matter, as I still root for him to do well and regain full playing privileges.
Harris English. 95th in world ranking, he’s had a decent season thus far but I feel he’s underachieving. He has a top 10 and some top 25s, and over half a million in earnings.
Kevin Kisner. He’s 40th in the world, and 14th in FedEx Cup points, with 6 runner-up finishes in his career (plus a lone win). Laid back and fiery at the same time, the good ol’ boy from Aiken has made a name for himself the last 24 months on Tour.
Chris Kirk. Down to 96th in the world, he’s still a world-class player. He has four Tour victories, and this might make him the 2nd or 3rd most successful golfer to come out of Athens (Bubba Watson and Chip Beck come to mind).
Hudson Swafford. The 29 year old is up to 75th in the world, and 18th in FedEx Cup points thanks to his January Tour win in California. Two other top 10s this season have put almost $1.8M in his pocket this season.
Brian Harman. UGA’s other lefty golfer, Harman has 3 top 10 finishes this season on Tour, and is also inside the top 100 in the world. Sneaky long, and with a streaky putter, he should do well here this week.
So push the appropriate buttons on your remote for either Golf Channel or CBS in order to root on these ‘Dawgs as they continue to show North Carolina who is actually first.
And as always...