The 27th event of the wraparound season is upon us, as the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship. A field of 156 will tackle Quail Hollow Club, where the winner must navigate the daunting "Green Mile."
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J.B. Holmes won this event a year ago by one shot over Jim Furyk. Here are 10 players to watch in Charlotte:
1. Rory McIlroy: The world No. 1 is a deserved favorite this week, and by a wide margin. McIlroy followed his match-play win with a top-10 at the Players despite front-nine struggles, and his record at Quail Hollow is impeccable: three straight top-10 finishes to go along with his breakthrough win in 2010.
2. Phil Mickelson: Lefty hasn't been consistent this season, but he plays some of his best golf in Charlotte. Mickelson hasn't finished worse than T-26 at this event since 2007, notching a trio of top-three finishes across that span. He has broken par in 33 of his 44 career rounds on the difficult layout.
3. Jim Furyk: Furyk has a pair of runner-up finishes (2005, 2014) to go along with his victory here in 2006. He has finished outside the top 30 just once since 2005 at this event, and he is still brimming with momentum after his win at Harbour Town and strong showing at TPC Harding Park.
4. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama quietly finished T-17 last week at TPC Sawgrass, his sixth consecutive top-25 finish dating back to February. He finished T-38 last year in his Quail Hollow debut and ranks third on Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, eighth in GIR percentage and 10th in scoring average.
5. J.B. Holmes: The defending champ has cooled somewhat since his win last month at Houston, but he's clearly still a threat on this course after leaving with the trophy a year ago. Holmes also finished T-9 in 2011 and has a pair of runner-up results this year at Torrey Pines and Trump National Doral.
6. Justin Thomas: It's not if, but when, this rookie will win an event. Thomas stumbled down the stretch at TPC Sawgrass but still recorded his third straight top-25 finish, his ninth such result in 18 starts this season. The 21-year-old hits it far enough off the tee to contend at Quail Hollow and ranks eighth on Tour in birdie average.
7. Bill Haas: The Charlotte native barely missed out on the playoff at the Players, but he heads home to an event where he finished fourth in both 2006 and 2011. Haas has seven top-25 finishes this season, highlighted by his win in Palm Springs in January.
8. Henrik Stenson: The Swede would be higher up on this list were it not for his poor history at Quail Hollow. Stenson missed three straight cuts from 2011-2013, with only one of those six rounds better than 74. His top-20 finishes at the Masters and the Players show that he has the game to turn that trend around.
9. Nick Watney: Remember him? Watney has faded from the Tour's upper echelon in recent years, but his season includes six top-25 finishes in 15 starts. He's also had some success at Quail Hollow, with seven top-25 finishes since 2005. That stretch includes back-to-back top-10s in 2012 and 2013.
10. Louis Oosthuizen: Oosthuizen faded over the weekend at TPC Sawgrass, but his form this season shows he could nab another win soon. The South African boasts a trio of top-10 finishes in his last six starts, including a T-7 finish at the RBC Heritage and a trip to the quarterfinals at TPC Harding Park.