This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
Fortinet Championship Betting Preview
Welcome to the 2022-23 PGA Tour season!
The fall portion of the Tour's schedule once again kicks off in Napa, California with the Fortinet Championship. While many of the best players in the world will only play sparingly until January, this week's field does include five players coming off making the Tour Championship. Defending champion Max Homa, the favorite at 10-1 odds, headlines the field along with Hideki Matsuyama, who is listed at 16-1 and is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 16 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Last year, Homa -- at 50-1 -- claimed victory Maverick McNealy by one stroke.
The North Course at Silverado Country Club has been the host venue for the last eight years and plays as a par-72 (four par-3s, four par-5s) at just under 7,200 yards. That makes it a relatively short course by Tour standards, with none of the par-4s playing over 450 yards. Silverado doesn't tend to be a place that significantly favors one style of play over another as we've seen winners ranging from Homa (solid all-around) to Cameron Champ (long-hitting) to Emiliano Grillo (precision). The winner finished top-3 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green each of the last five years, making that a key stat to hone in on this week. I'll also look towards strong wedge players, as we'll see a lot of approaches from inside 125 yards.
The following five players, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have averaged the most birdies or better per round at Silverado since 2017.
Tour veteran Hadley has started off his season on a good note a few times over recent years, posting three top-25 finishes, including a T3 finish back in 2017. His second-round 61 that year still holds up as the course record, and he's dominated the course with elite iron play -- gaining 0.8 shots on approach per-round over 18 rounds during that span. Another veteran that has shown an affinity for Silverado is Streelman, who came up just short of the victory in 2020 when he finished in a share for third. He showed some form late in the summer with a runner-up finish at the alternate event Barbasol Championship and ranked a solid 48th in SG: Tee-to-Green last season. He'd be a long-shot winner at 100-1 this week but is someone to keep an eye on in DFS contests.
Rookies to Regard
These five rookies, who graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour, have the best odds to win this week.
It won't be an easy task for this year's group of Korn Ferry Tour graduates to replicate what last season's rookies accomplished that was highlighted by Cameron Young and Sahith Theegala both making the TOUR Championship as well as stellar seasons from Mito Pereira and Davis Riley. Looking to make his mark will be Detry, who picked up his card through the KFT Finals and has played primarily on the DP World Tour. Detry is known for his length off-the-tee and above-average putting and is coming off a top-5 finish against a strong field at last week's BMW PGA Championship. Another rookie with a high ceiling to keep an eye on is the 23-year-old Eckroat. The former Oklahoma State standout finished runner-up at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship and has received a handful of sponsor's exemptions on the PGA Tour over the past couple years where he's made 6-of-9 cuts. He flashed good ball striking in those events, gaining 0.21 strokes off the tee and 0.43 strokes on approach per round, showing that his game is well-suited for the big stage.
Fortinet Championship Bets: Outright Picks
Hideki Matsuyama (16-1)
Matsuyama was plagued by a neck injury this summer but that appears to be a thing of the past after four solid rounds at the TOUR Championship, which included a third-round 63. He's played well at Silverado in the past with a pair of top-10s and was third in SG: Tee-to-Green here last year.
Taylor Pendrith (30-1)
Pendrith was one of the hottest golfers to close the season after coming back from a rib injury that sidelined him for four months. He hasn't missed a cut in six starts since, recording five top-15 finishes and a career-best T-2 result at the Rocket Mortgage. Pendrith has a high ceiling with his length off-the-tee (10th in driving distance last season).
Gary Woodland (60-1)
Woodland had a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, missing more cuts than he made. However, he did record five top-10 results. He also gained shots in the four primary strokes gained categories, showing that he played better than his results would indicate. I expect him to be in the hunt in his first appearance in Napa.
Fortinet Championship Bets: Top-10 Wagers
Wyndham Clark (13-2)
We've seen some long hitters have success here and it doesn't get much longer than Clark, who averaged 319 yards driving last season. He's always been held back by his subpar iron play, but I'm hoping that won't be much of a factor without many long approaches this week.
Patrick Rodgers (15-2)
If you're looking for someone that fits the course history angle, look no further than Rodgers, who has a pair of top-10 finishes and has made five cuts in a row at Silverado. While he hasn't really lived up to the expectations coming out of college, he had his best season on Tour statistically in 2021-22, finishing 47th in SG: Total.
James Hahn (10-1)
After struggling for much of last season, Hahn turned it on during the summer and posted three top-10s over his last 11 starts. That makes him a nice value considering this week's field strength. Hahn is due for a better season overall if he can have some positive regression with his short game.
Fortinet Championship Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Mullinax has taken his game to another level recently, picking up his first Tour victory at the Barbasol in July and finished no worse than T37 over his final five starts of the season. He's the far superior ball striker to Putnam, who will need to have an exceptional week with his short game to keep pace with Mullinax.
This is a battle between two golfers with exceptional short games, and Noren is the longer hitter of the pair and also the better iron player. He's making his first trip to Silverado while McCarthy has never made the cut in four appearances.
Be sure to stay on top of this week's event with everything RotoWire has to offer including the latest PGA odds, the most up-to-date PGA injury report, the Fortinet Championship tournament field, and our expansive PGA stats database.
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