Wells Fargo Championship 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into Tournament

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMay 1, 2013

Wells Fargo Championship 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into Tournament

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    Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy will both hit the course for their first tournament since the Masters at the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship. 

    One of them is on this list, which is devoted to the hottest and coldest golfers heading into this week's event. 

    I've only included guys in this week's field (view the full field on PGATour.com). So you won't find last week's winner Billy Horschel on this list, but it's worth mentioning that he is on absolute fire.

    It's a decent field at this tournament, but this time of year is really hit-and-miss given that we are around the halfway mark between the Masters and the U.S. Open. 

    Here are six guys who will be hoping to either hold their recent form or usher in a dramatic reversal of fortunes. 

    *All stats via PGATour.com.

Cold No. 3: Phil Mickelson

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    Phil Mickelson almost always qualifies for these kinds of list. The streaky left-hander seems to either be scorching hot or ice cold. 

    He's offered up both kinds of streaks this year. 

    In his last three tournaments, Mickelson missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, finished in 16th at the Houston Open and then 54th at the Masters. 

    While the 16th-place finish was solid, Phil's performance at Augusta highlights how he is struggling with his swing. Mickelson typically fares well at the Masters, and, with a 77 and 76 in the second and third rounds, he fired two of his three worst scores in the storied tournament. 

    The majority of his struggles have come from a lack of accuracy. This is plaguing him off the tee and with approach shots. 

Hot No. 3: D.A. Points

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    Earlier this year, D.A. Points appeared to be heading toward losing his Tour card. 

    He missed the cut in 14 of his last 24 Tour events to end last year and then seven of his first nine this year.

    Then, he suddenly found his game. He took the Houston Open to claim his second Tour win, and he came in second last weekend in New Orleans. 

    Sandwiched between those two events, he finished 53rd at the Texas Open and 38th at the Masters. These certainly aren't spectacular finishes, but considering how badly he was struggling just to make the cut, they are promising finishes. 

    The reason for his turnaround is simple: He started draining some putts. His win at the Houston Open was his first tournament all year where he had a positive number in strokes gained-putting, and he's kept that nice flat, iron work going. 

    Points is a good ball striker, and that has served him well at this event. He came in second here last year. 

Cold No. 2: Charles Howell III

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    There has never been any doubting Charles Howell III's talent, and while he's notched two career Tour victories, he just hasn't been able to put it all together for any prolonged stretch. 

    It looked like this might be the year he finally did. Howell was in great form to start the year as he earned a top-10 finish in his first three Tour events of the year.

    He fell off a bit, but he still missed just one cut in his first 12 events, and he earned two top-20s in WGC events following his string of top 10s. 

    His last two events have not been as fruitful. He has missed the cut at the Heritage as well as last week in New Orleans. 

    Mostly, it's been putting woes for Howell as he finished his last two tournaments with negative numbers in strokes gained-putting. However, last week he also lost it off the tee as he hit just 39 percent of his fairways. 

Hot No. 2: Bill Haas

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    Bill Haas is in a nice groove. He has five top-10 finishes and just one missed cut in his 11 Tour events this year. His missed cut came way back in January. 

    In his last four times out, Haas was eighth at Bay Hill, 10th at the Houston Open, 20th at the Masters and 24th at the Heritage.

    Haas has been driving the ball really well, and his putting has been solid.

    He also has the game to win this event. He missed the cut here last year, but his form heading in was nowhere near where it is this year, and in 2011, he tallied his second fourth-place finish at this event.

Cold No. 1: Hunter Mahan

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    What has happened to Hunter Mahan?

    He has always been streaky, but his current slump is going a little above and beyond. 

    Mahan looked fantastic as he finished second at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and then the wheels fell off the bus and onto his beautiful golf swing.

    Since the match-play event, Mahan missed the cut in the Houston Open and then also at the Masters after terrible rounds of 76 and 82. 

    He looked to be putting that streak behind him as he shot a 68 to open up the Heritage, but that proved to be a mirage as he fired a 76 and 78 to finish in 91st. 

    Mahan has still been solid off the tee but not on his approach shots.

    Mahan typically does a wonderful job of hitting greens in regulation, but he hasn't hit more than 55 percent of his greens in regulation over his last three abysmal tournaments. 

Hot No. 1: Sergio Garcia

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    It is impossible to predict what the future holds for Sergio Garcia. When he tees off to start a round, anything can happen. 

    He could fire an 80 that has him dejectedly throwing tantrums or shoot in the low 60s while putting on a virtuoso display of ball striking. 

    For the most part, it has been the latter recently. 

    In his last four Tour events, he has a third at the WGC Cadillac, a seventh in Tampa Bay, a withdrawal at Bay Hill—but he was in decent form prior to the withdrawal—and then an eighth at the Masters, which was derailed by a 76 in the second round. 

    He also added a 12th at the Spanish Open following the Masters. 

    As you can imagine, Garcia has been on point with his ball striking in this stretch, and his wild putter has been solid. He is a great pick for this tournament.