Expert Picks: Wells Fargo Championship


This week, the PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, N.C., for the Wells Fargo Championship, where players will be tested by a future major championship venue in Quail Hollow. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman returns after another extended break to a course that he has dominated in the past. His victory in 2010 at Quail Hollow was a signature moment in his career, and his runner-up showing last year was almost as impressive.

Group 2: Bo Van Pelt: Normally a top-10 machine, the veteran has not been as sharp this year, but he’s played well in Charlotte in the past (fifth in 2010 and T-6 in 2006).

Group 3: Jonas Blixt: A case could be made that Blixt was 2012’s top rookie – he matched Rookie of the Year winner John Huh with a victory and had five top 10s, including a tie for ninth in his first trip to Quail Hollow.

Group 4: John Rollins: Another quietly consistent year for the American, he has six top-25 finishes in 11 starts and ranks 27th on Tour in total driving, a combination of accuracy and distance, which is key at Quail Hollow.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Webb Simpson: It’s his hometown event, and he’s beginning to round into form after a playoff loss in his last start. In his past two appearances at Quail Hollow, he’s finished fourth and joint 21st.

Group 2: D.A. Points: Last year’s playoff loss in Charlotte masked an otherwise forgettable record there. But he’s made his last four cuts and was thisclose to earning his second title of the season in NOLA.

Group 3: Brian Davis: Top 16s in his last two appearances at Quail Hollow, and he’s been inside the top 35 in his last four starts.

Group 4: John Rollins: Not great form recently, missing his last two cuts, but he’s posted six top 25s this season and could provide some value in a weak group.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Webb Simpson: He showed up in Hilton Head after getting knocked down at the Masters. Lost the playoff there and finished one outside of the playoff last year in Charlotte. I think this week he gets the win.

Group 2: Ryan Moore: A tie for fifth here a year ago is the confidence he needs to reignite his season, where he hasn't seen a top 25, much less a top five, since he finished solo fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Group 3: Jonas Blixt: He finished T-9 here last year but has been streaky in 2013, playing the weekend only five times in 11 starts. Last year's Open champ trended only slightly better coming into Charlotte a year ago, when he went on to get his first top-10 finish of the season. 

Group 4: Steve LeBrun: After a tough start to his season, he's picked up momentum and has finished inside the top 40 in his last four starts, including a T-21 last week and a T-18 the week before at Harbour Town, where he also held a share of the 36-hole lead.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Lee Westwood: If he struggles on pristine greens, then perhaps logic should tell us he'll succeed on raggedy ones.

Group 2: Brendon de Jonge: Charlotte resident is becoming a leaderboard stalwart, with six top-25s in 14 starts.

Group 3: Kyle Stanley: A disappointing start to the season turned joyful in a hurry last week, and this streaky player should keep it going.

Group 4: Bobby Gates: While most players are complaining about Quail's greens, Gates is taking a positive attitude into this week.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Keeps the momentum going for his return to the U.S. Open.

Group 2: Luke Guthrie: Quail Hollow likes anointing young stars.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: See Luke Guthrie...

Group 4: John Peterson: See Luke Guthrie...