Golf

Power Rankings: 2016 Wells Fargo Championship

May 3, 2016

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. A field of 144 players will tackle Quail Hollow Golf Club, which will host the PGA Championship next year.

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Rory McIlroy won this event last year by seven shots over Patrick Rodgers and Webb Simpson. Here are 10 players to watch in the Charlotte:

1. Rory McIlroy: The defending champ is a clear No. 1 in this field, having earned his maiden PGA Tour victory here in 2010 and having won last year by a whopping seven shots. In between, McIlroy lost in a playoff in 2012 and added two other top-10 finishes, turning Quail Hollow into one of his favorite venues.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler has cooled somewhat since his torrid start to the year, but now he returns to the site of his breakthrough win back in 2012. He managed a T-20 finish last week in New Orleans and has four top-10 finishes over his last seven starts dating back to a playoff loss in Phoenix.

3. Phil Mickelson: This event is turning into U.S. Open Light for Lefty – a bevy of close calls, but no hardware. Mickelson has six top-5 finishes at Quail Hollow, including a runner-up in 2010 and a T-4 finish last year, but he has yet to find the winner’s circle and now returns in search of momentum after missed cuts in both Augusta and San Antonio.

4. J.B. Holmes: The 2014 winner has been hit-or-miss at this event, but he tends to play well on big ballparks and he brings plenty of momentum with him to Charlotte. Holmes finished T-13 at Valero on the heels of a T-4 result at the Masters, and he has now strung together six top-15 finishes across his last eight starts dating back to Torrey Pines.

5. Daniel Berger: The reigning Rookie of the Year remains in search of his first victory, but he may find it soon. Berger finished T-20 at Zurich despite a lackluster closing round, his fourth straight top-20 in stroke-play events. Berger’s ball flight and length off the tee should be conducive for Quail Hollow, where he finished T-28 in his debut last year.

6. Patrick Reed: Reed enters off a near-miss in San Antonio, a result that continued a run of four top-20 finishes over his last five starts. While he hasn’t won in more than a year, Reed continues to put himself in contention on a consistent basis and has made the cut in each of his three prior starts at Quail Hollow – a clean sheet that few in the field can boast.

7. Justin Rose: The Englishman comes in off a surprising missed cut in defense of his Zurich title, but before that he had a stretch of five straight stroke-play results of T-17 or better. Rose has only played this event once in the last four years, but that appearance led to a T-5 finish in 2014.

8. Adam Scott: Scott is still in search of his first top-10 finish since back-to-back wins in Florida, but his ball-striking prowess merits a spot on this list for most events. Scott has a pair of top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow, but he has missed his last three cuts and hasn’t played the weekend in Charlotte since a T-8 finish in 2008.

9. Henrik Stenson: While Stenson came close to victory in both Orlando and Houston, his worldwide victory drought now approaches 18 months. He has the tee-to-green game to end it on a burly track like Quail, but last year’s T-58 finish was his first made cut in Charlotte since 2007.

10. Hideki Matsuyama: A winner earlier this year at TPC Scottsdale, Matsuyama has three finishes of T-11 or better in his six starts since. That includes a T-7 finish at the Masters in his most recent start, and his record at Quail Hollow shows signs of progress: T-38 in 2014 followed by a T-20 finish last year.

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