CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Some notes and nuggets to whet your appetite for Sunday’s final round of the Wells Fargo Championship:
1. Rory McIlroy can regain the world No. 1 ranking with a top-7 finish. The only way he wouldn’t is if Lee Westwood came from behind in an improbable-but-not-impossible fashion to win and McIlroy finished outside the top 7. Westwood is currently in a tie for 30th at 5 under, nine off the pace.
2. Of Rory McIlroy’s three PGA Tour wins, Quail Hollow is the only course where he came from behind to secure the victory. At the 2011 U.S. Open, he led by eight heading into the final round and went on to win by eight. At this year’s Honda Classic he led by two heading into Sunday and went on to win by two. When McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010, he trailed by four through 54 holes and went on to win by four.
On the eve of this year’s final round, he trails Webb Simpson by two.
3. Rickie Fowler is the lone player in the top 10 without a PGA Tour victory. Two players have won their first career title at the Wells Fargo Championship: Anthony Kim in 2008 and Rory McIlroy in 2010.
Fowler’s best finish this season was a T-7 at the Honda Classic and he’s coming off a T-10 at last week’s Zurich Classic.
4. While frontrunner Webb Simpson, who leads by one shot at 14 under, seems to be the man to beat on Sunday, Quail Hollow has a history of producing out-of-the-pack champions. Just three of the nine Wells Fargo winners had the overnight lead heading into the final round.
5. Most years Quail Hollow’s famed closing stretch, dubbed the “Green Mile,” has factored into Sunday’s outcome but the “Mile” hasn’t been quite as long this year. Through three rounds Nos. 16, 17 and 18 are playing a combined .589 over par, compared to last year’s combined average of .777. The biggest difference is a new tee box at the par-3 17th which has dropped the hole from second-hardest last year to 14th this week.
6. Although Sunday’s focus will be on the final pairing of Simpson and Ryan Moore, Geoff Ogilvy and Stewart Cink, in the day’s fourth-to-last group, may surprise some. Ogilvy carded a round-of-the-day 65 despite a bogey at the last while Cink’s card was marred by a double-bogey at the closing hole.