Wells Fargo Championship primer: PGA Tour returns to DC region with star-studded field

POTOMAC, MD – JULY 01: Abraham Ancer of Mexico walks to the 18th green during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac on July 1, 2018 in Potomac, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The PGA is back inside the Beltway. Sort of.

The Wells Fargo Championship comes to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Potomac, Maryland, this year because Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte is hosting this year’s President’s Cup, moving the regular PGA Tour stop elsewhere for the second time in five years (the 2017 PGA Championship moved the Wells Fargo to Eagle Point in Wilmington, North Carolina).

The course had previously been the home for the Quicken Loans National in 2017-18, the Kemper Open (1987-99), the Kemper Insurance Open (2000-02), the FBR Capital (2003), and the Booz Allen Classic (2004, 06).

While I thought the National suffered from a bad spot on the schedule (the late June-early July spot often meant many players were off to Europe preparing for the British Open), early May is a great time to have a tournament in the area as it’s a natural tune-up for the PGA Championship and the weather isn’t as unbearable as it would be in the summer.

Course Layout: The par-70 track measures 7,139 yards.

Defending Champ: Rory McIlroy is the only three-time winner of the Wells Fargo, having also won in 2010 and 2015. He’s also the most decorated major champion in a field filled with them, from Stewart Cink (2009 British Open) to Sergio Garcia (2017 Masters).

Players to Watch: Last year’s runner-up Abraham Ancer is also in the field and has two top-ten finishes this season. Recent winners Max Homa (Fortinet Championship), Luke List (Farmers Insurance Open), and Sepp Straka (Honda Classic) are also competing.

Feeling at Home: Francesco Molinari won the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at 21 under par in 2018 while Rory Sabbatini won the lone FBR Capital here with a score of -14 in 2003.  McIlroy’s first major championship took place just down the road at the 2011 US Open.

Prime Player Pairings: McIlroy, Molinari and Webb Simpson tee off the tenth tee Thursday morning at 7:34 a.m. Rockville native and University of Virginia graduate Denny McCarthy’s first round starts at 8:18 a.m. on the tenth as well. Howard University senior Gregory Odom Jr. begins his first round on the first hole at 2:11 p.m.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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