After a one-week hiatus, the PGA TOUR heads to wine country in Napa Valley, California for the 2021-22 season opener, the Fortinet Championship. The tournament will be at Silverado Resort and Spa (North), playing as a par 72, measuring 7,123 yards. The greens will be bentgrass mixed with poa annua.
There’s no rest for the best; Jon Rahm (+300, $12,100) is teeing it up as he prepares for the Ryder Cup next week at Whistling Straits. Silverado isn’t similar to Whistling Straits, but Rahm should use this week to dust off the rust (if any). He’ll be joined by former winners like Kevin Tway (+20000, $6,600), Cameron Champ (+4500, $9,000) and Brendan Steele (+10000, $7,400). Defending champion Stewart Cink will not be playing this week; his son is getting married this weekend.
The North course features tree-lined fairways and can get tight around the 300-yard mark, measuring only 24 yards wide. We could see winning scores get into the high teens as a stock par 72, with four par 5s. The course also features six par 4s measuring between 400 to 450 yards, one over 450 yards and another stepping off under 400. Where golfers can potentially struggle is when they get up to the greens. Silverado features undulating greens and severe runoff areas on seven holes with thick rough surrounding them. Those who have an above-average short game could find themselves on the front page of the leaderboard, even if they’re missing with their irons. Even though golfers will need to putt well with Silverado playing difficult in approach proximity, golfers will need to be elite with their irons to win this week. Past winners have been a mixed bag of pure ball-strikers like Emiliano Grillo (+5000, $8,900) and golfers who hit it long Off-the-Tee like Tway, Champ and Steele. Still, Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green will be priority number one this week, with winners gaining twice as many strokes with their irons over putting over the previous five years.
DraftKings roster construction might be tricky this week, with not many familiar names towards the bottom of the salary range. Still, rostering golfers who are cheap could be advantageous this week. Last season, Stewart Cink won with a $6,300 price tag. The average salary of the top six golfers in DraftKings scoring last year was $7,900, with two players, including Cink, priced in the $6,000-range. In 2020, the average salary was a little over $8,300 and in 2019, it was $8,600, with two golfers priced over $10,000 (Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore).
Sebastian Munoz (+4500 to Win, $9,200 on DraftKings)
Munoz played well towards the end of last season, finishing with a top 25 at THE NORTHERN TRUST and a 29th at the BMW Championship. A 53rd place in the FedExCup standings was another highlight, and he comes into this tournament ranked sixth in approach and second in par 4 efficiency on holes measuring 400 to 450 yards. He’s started off his season strong before, winning the Sanderson Farms in 2019; he could be in line for his second win if he keeps on hitting his irons well.
Doug Ghim (+8000 to Win, $7,900 on DraftKings)
The upside is always there with Ghim; it’s just a matter of putting everything together at the same time. When he was hitting his irons well mid-season, the putter was cold. When he started putting better late last season, his irons went cold. After missing the BMW Championship and finishing 83rd in last year’s FedExCup standings, Ghim makes his way to Silverado, where he finished 14th in 2020, gaining 6.4 strokes Tee-to-Green. He’s lost strokes through approach in his previous three events; hopefully, the time off can get him back on track this week.
Greyson Sigg (+13000 to Win, $7,100 on DraftKings)
Sigg is a recent Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) graduate who will make his first start in wine country as a PGA TOUR professional. Sigg was tremendous on the KFT, winning twice and ranking second in the “Top 25.” This week isn’t Sigg’s first time teeing it up in a PGA TOUR event; he’s made his previous four cuts, including a 62nd at this year’s U.S. Open and a top 10 at Corales Puntacana last season. The former Georgia Bulldog is great with his irons and short game, which you need here. We should be more inclined to roster him on DraftKings over betting him outright, and he could be a nice pivot in this range off some other recognizable names. Hudson Swafford (+13000, $7,200) is also someone we should be targeting in both the betting and DFS markets. Only Webb Simpson (+1400, $10,800) hit his irons better than Swafford during the FedExCup playoffs. Swafford finished 11th at THE NORTHERN TRUST, 17th at the BMW Championship and 36th in the FedExCup standings just a few weeks ago.
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