Former US Open champion Webb Simpson is banking on home advantage paying off at this week’s $6.9 million Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, as he attempts to reverse a run of poor form in his past six PGA Tour starts.
The 28-year-old American, who lives about a mile away from the clubhouse at Quail Hollow, made a barn-storming start to the 2013-14 season with four successive top ten finishes, including a victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
However, he has mainly struggled over the past three months, and has missed two cuts in his last six appearances on the US circuit.
“I’ve got to tell myself all the time, it’s a game where you go in waves,” said Simpson, whose best finish at Quail Hollow was fourth in 2012, ahead of today’s opening round.
“Jimmy Walker’s super hot right now. He’s playing incredible golf. Maybe the best of anybody in the world.”
Fellow American Walker has won a season-high three times on the 2013-14 PGA Tour.
And Simpson faces other strong challenges with a high-quality field including players such as reigning US Open champion Justin Rose, 2010 winner Rory McIlroy and five-times major winner Phil Mickelson.
American left-hander Mickelson and Englishman Rose will tee off today in a star-studded grouping along with former world No 1 Lee Westwood.
Little known American Derek Ernst will defend the title he won last year as a rookie.