Less than two weeks ago, the PGA TOUR season came to a close as Patrick Cantlay hoisted the FedExCup in stellar fashion. But don’t worry about breaks or having a minute to breathe because the new PGA TOUR season is already here.
Players will tee it up in Wine Country for the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort. The Napa event has kicked off the season since 2013, when the TOUR moved its season start from January to the Fall.
Without further ado, here are my favorite First Round Leader bets for the Fortinet Championship.
Jon Rahm (+1200)
Not mentioning Rahmbo for FRL is like Christmas without Santa or your drunk uncle. He’s the hottest player on the planet (not named Patrick Cantlay) and someone whom you should bet across the board. Rahm currently sits at second on the TOUR’s Thursday scoring average list.
The World No. 1 just missed out on winning the FedExCup a fortnight ago thanks to the funky handicapped scoring system, but who cares? He led the 2021 PGA Tour money list, having made more than $7.7 million.
The young Basque looks to get one last start in this week before the Ryder Cup. Given his luck with COVID this year, I’m a bit surprised he’s playing this week and not spending his time in a bio-secure bubble, like a really bad 90’s Jake Gyllenhaal movie.
Kevin Na (+2500)
After a stellar season and a Ryder Cup (somewhat) snub, Kevin Na comes into this event with a fire in his belly. He enters the event first in Strokes Gained: Total at Silverado and is coming off of a third place finish at East Lake.
He has recorded a string of great finishes in this event in the mid-2010’s. Combined with his recent stellar play, this should be a good week for everyone’s favorite walk-in putter.
Cameron Tringale (+3500)
The Georgia Tech grad is coming off of his best season to date on TOUR. Despite a decade of membership and no wins to his name, Tringale has played some incredible golf recently (despite barely missing out on a spot in the TOUR Championship last month).
Tringale is one of the TOUR’s finest Thursday scorers, currently third on the list. He is able to consistently get off to hot starts early in the week and help carry himself into the weekend.
Harold Varner III (+4500)
One of the nicest guys on Tour, HV3 also boasts one of the best first round scoring averages. His ability to go low on Thursday and attack the course really gives him an advantage.
Varner’s low ball flight should also be an advantage this week as Napa is known to get a bit windy.
Cameron Champ (+6500)
A two-time winner of this event, Champ knows how to play this course. He surprised us with some great finishes late last season, and that form should carry over into an event he loves so much.
Back in 2019, I spoke with his caddie at the time, Kurt, at the Northern Trust. I was showing him some Champ stats and how he gains more strokes on the field in the wind. After they won for the second consecutive year at the event, Kurt messaged me later that night to say “it got windy towards the end, but I had the confidence in him to pull it off because of that stats you showed me”.
Champ now has Chad Reynolds on the bag, who has been a great partner for him. He’s a good player in the wind, he’s a good player on this course, and I think he’s going to play well come Thursday.
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