The PGA Tour is in North Carolina this week for one of the most prestigious events on the schedule. J.B. Holmes is defending champion in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour is in North Carolina this week for one of the most prestigious events on the schedule. J.B. Holmes is defending champion in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

A strong field will tee it up in Charlotte this week. World Number 1 Rory McIlroy will play in an event he won back in 2010, and he’s joined on the start sheet by World Number 3, Henrik Stenson and Number 5 Jim Furyk (also a former champion.)

Founded by James J. Harris in 1959, Quail Hollow is a private members’ club, but it has been host to this tournament since 2003. There’s an illustrious list of winners in the event, formerly known as the Wachovia Championships. David Toms came out on top in 2003 and, since then, Joey Sindelar, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Rory McIlroy, Lucas Glover, Rickie Fowler and Derek Ernst have been victorious.

Last season J.B. Holmes held on to win by a single shot from Jim Furyk. With three holes to play, the win looked secure. But Holmes didn’t make it easy. On the 16th he made a bogey, reducing his lead to two. Then, on the 17th he faced an eight-foot putt for par to keep his advantage at two. He duly knocked it in and it proved to be crucial as he bogeyed the last for a one-shot victory.

The course at Quail Hollow is one of the toughest visited by the PGA Tour each season. Last year the scoring average was +0.546 over the par of 72. The George Cobb/Tom Fazio layout will play host to the PGA Championship of 2017.

The weather forecast for the week is for overcast skies and an increasing threat of rain into the weekend.

Venue: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
Date: May 14-17
Course stats: par 72, 7,562 yards
Purse: $7,100,000 Winner: $1,278,000
Defending Champion: J.B. Holmes (-14)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:
Hideki Matsuyama – The Japanese player has showed extremely consistent form so far in 2015 – he has recorded six straight top-25 finishes. He’s ranked third on the PGA Tour in ball-striking.

J.B. Holmes – The defending champion clearly enjoys this course. He’s been playing brilliantly in 2015 with a win and two runner’s-up finishes.

Justin Thomas – He has three straight top-25 finishes coming into this event. He played some excellent golf at Sawgrass, including a record 10 birdies on Saturday.

Key holes: 17th. A par-3 where the ball must be carried all the way to the green over water. There’s a new tee from 2014 that has increased its maximum distance to 221 yards. When the pressure is on, this hole is bound to produce some drama.

Holes 16-18 here are known as “The Green Mile.” The 17th has been described above and the 16th was also lengthened last year, to 508 yards. The 18th though is the pinnacle of the challenge. It’s one of the hardest finishing holes on the PGA Tour – a 478 yard par 4, uphill with a creek on the left and bunkers on the right.

Skills required: Playing the par-5s. It’s imperative here to make the most of the four par-5s on the course. It’s a tough layout and there are few “gimmie” birdies out there. The winner will play the long holes well and pick up some shots. To do that they will have to drive the ball well.