Quail Hollow Championship 2010: Five Contenders Not Named Tiger or Phil
Yes, it was one round. We've all seen Tiger Woods make up nine shots in a front nine.
The excitement is remarkably subdued at the Quail Hollow Championship this week in Woods' return to the pedestrian PGA Tour schedule. Maybe that's why the irons were all over the rough, the drives weren't so straight and the putts were coming up short.
Whatever the reasons, Tiger Woods shot a 2-over-par 74 and Masters champion Phil Mickelson shot a 2-under-par 70 to start significantly off the pace at Quail Hollow.
The leaderboard in Charlotte is full of those names you'd expect in a non-major week. Let's imagine for a moment that Tiger's troubles don't improve and Phil's dehydration issues keep him out of the money.
Is it someone among the Round 1 leaders or another name a bit off the pace that will make a run this weekend?
Let's take a look at five guys who you need to know about at Quail Hollow.
He's coming off a big win at The Heritage at Harbour Town two weeks ago and has another win on a tough track at Copperhead. He's not scared of courses like Quail Hollow. He won here in 2006.
Furyk's game is just long enough to score on the par 5's this week and accurate enough to deal with the treachery of this course. He's shown it before -- four top-11 finishes in his last five at Quail Hollow.
Furyk sits at +3 after one round (one shot behind Tiger) but is known for good second rounds in Charlotte.
Here's a guy that just hangs around the money without taking the full dive in. Is he finally ready to make a splash?
Villegas is having a top-notch year with four top-10 finishes thus far and he is fourth on the tour in scoring average.
He's a favorite among the ladies for his tendency to pull off these poses on the greens.
Villegas is an all-or-nothing shooter -- much like Mickelson, he's not afraid to go for the impossible shot. That paid off for him in round 1, as he jumped on to the leaderboard with a 5-under 67.
Consistency is the issue here. There's always a 6 or 7 thrown into a round that throws Camilo out of the mix. If he can stay tight with his irons this weekend, this could be the tournament where he finally takes a top spot.
He's my favorite guy on tour, bar none. He's personable, down to Earth and yet has the game to be a superstar.
Boo likes everyone to think of him as a chucklehead. Good time Boo. Nothing to worry about there.
Truth is, Weekley has the game to be in a class with Tiger and Phil. He just has too many other interests to fully commit to it.
He finished 12th at The Heritage and 10th in New Orleans last week. He's the best ball striker on tour and Quail Hollow has a similar setup to his home courses in Florida.
Weekley sits alongside Tiger at +2 going into the second round.
This 29-year-old is just sitting on the cusp of a breakout. He's another guy that's just eating up paychecks -- over $1 million in earnings already this year -- without taking a top spot.
Watney has four top-10 finishes this year, including a fourth-place at Copperhead and a seventh at The Masters.
Also, he's never missed a cut at Quail Hollow. That's nice, but can he actually make a run? He sits at -2, five shots off the lead, heading into Friday. Like Furyk, he's traditionally a second-day mover in Charlotte.
Bo Van Pelt
I feel for this guy. People see his name on the leaderboard and think Scott Van Pelt's playing the Tour now.
Van Pelt is on a hot streak at the moment after a third-place finish at The Heritage. He's been around the top 25 at Quail Hollow, but this is definitely his best start in Charlotte to date.
His game is all over the place -- he went from a 14th at Bay Hill to missing the cut at Houston to the third at Harbour Town. He's third in total driving and fourth in greens hit in regulation.
Van Pelt's just not a Sunday guy. He's got one win in the last five years -- last year in Milwaukee. His fast starts fade into middling second and third rounds.
Still, he has the game and the momentum to make us think that he could change his reputation starting this weekend.