Posted: 5/1/2012 1:57:42 PM
For the first time in its nine years as host of the Wells Fargo
Championship, Quail Hollow Club averaged under par in 2011. What has
been one of the most difficult par 72s on the PGA TOUR checked in at a
relatively benign 71.953.
Even the infamous Green Mile -- holes 16, 17 and 18, a par
4-3-4=11 -- played its easiest in history, at just 0.777 strokes over
par. This week, the member tee at the 17th will be employed in all four
rounds. It's an angle that offers a more direct look at a green
protected by water front and left. That should agree with the field of
156 given the suggestions golfers have made over the years asking for
"I think the players will be very excited by the move so we decided to do it," Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris told the Charlotte Observer on April 21.
Defending champion Lucas Glover
exemplified the formula for success on the 7,469-yard track, leading
the field in total distance of putts made. Indeed, putting and
scrambling are vital at Quail Hollow.
Consider that of the 15 that
finished in the top 10 on the leaderboard a year ago, only five ranked
inside the top 25 in greens in regulation. Meanwhile, 12 finished inside
the top 25 in fewest putts per round; 10 cracked the top 25 in total
distance of putts made.
The fairways annually are among the most
difficult to find. In 2011, the field averaged 47.64 percent,
third-lowest of any event. The course has ranked inside the top five in
five of the last six years. Yet, the challenge increases on the approach
to the 6,500-square foot greens. In each of the last four years, Quail
Hollow has ranked most difficult in proximity to the hole. Not
surprisingly, it's a regular inside the top 10 most difficult in
A light threat of rain early in the week
would soften the turf but a dry tournament is forecast. Sunshine and
high temperatures in the mid- to high 80s are expected. Winds should be