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Adon’s 2019 Memorial Tournament First-Round Leader Bets: Cantlay Ripe for a Hot Start

Adon’s 2019 Memorial Tournament First-Round Leader Bets: Cantlay Ripe for a Hot Start article feature image

Stephen Spillman, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay

  • Adon S. runs through his favorite First-Round Leader bets for the 2019 Memorial Tournament, which gets underway on Thursday, May 30.
  • Patrick Cantlay looks ready to get off to a hot start: He has great course history and a penchant for putting well on Bentgrass greens, which we'll see this week at Muirfield Village.

Last week in this article, I discussed Kevin Na’s prospects at Colonial Country Club and how well his game translated there, so it was satisfying to see him grab his second PGA Tour win in less than a year. Unfortunately for our purposes, he didn’t go low until a second-round 62.

It was our PGA Championship coverboy Tony Finau who led after Round 1, shooting an opening-round 64 and further displaying his tendency to start off hot.

Finau switched to the claw putting grip once he left Bethpage and saw immediate results, improving by nine strokes on the greens, compared to his performance the previous week. He now heads to a course that once again features his best putting surface statistically, Bentgrass greens.

Weather always seems to be an issue at the Memorial Tournament, and that trend will continue once again this week. Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast throughout the day on Thursday, and I see no clear advantage in loading up on either the morning or afternoon wave. The timeframe for these storms changes every time check the forecast.

There will not be any major sustained wind to worry about, especially compared to last week. As of right now, gusts appear to peak during the evening hours, but any severe weather threat will suspend the round and throw off tee times. So this is just one of those weeks where you check the forecast leading up to the event and hope for the best.

Now let’s get to this week’s four first-round leader selections:

Patrick Cantlay

Odds: 25-1 (0.4 units)
Tee time: 12:54 p.m. ET

Cantlay comes into this tournament with three straight top 10s in individual events, including back-to-back top-3 finishes. Patrick is Tiger-esque in the way he manages his schedule and does not show up to a tournament unless he is ready to contend. Cantlay was great last year in the Midwest, finishing fourth here at Memorial and sixth later in Akron for the WGC-Bridgestone, which also features Bentgrass greens.

Matt Kuchar

Odds: 28-1 (0.35u)
Tee time: 1:56 p.m. ET

We finally get the chance to back Kuch, who ranks first on tour in Round 1 Scoring Average. Kuchar has five top-5 finishes at this event in his past nine starts, including his 2013 win, and he comes into the week with great form. Kuchar has finished T8, second, T12 and T7 in his last four events.

His comfortable pairing with Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson won’t tee off until later on Thursday, so if we see play interrupted by weather, it’s possible they won’t get on the course until Friday, which is preferred to having a start-stop round dodging weather.

Tony Finau

Odds: 33-1 (0.3u)
Tee time: 12:54 p.m. ET

Even though we were one week early on the Finau FRL, that won’t deter me from targeting him again at Muirfield Village, where he has three top-13 finishes in four starts at Jack’s place.

As I said in my writeup for the PGA Championship, I love to target Tony on Poa and Bentgrass greens. After his Thursday triumph last week on Bent with his newfound claw method, I like his odds to go back-to-back here. It’s a nice bonus to know he did just that last year with consecutive FRL triumphs at Riviera and Torrey Pines.

Pictured: Tony Finau. Credit: Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports.

Matt Every

Odds: 100-1 (0.1u)
Tee time: 8:59 a.m. ET

One of my favorite Thursday targets, Every continued his strong recent play with a 17th place finish in Fort Worth, one start after his T2 finish at the Byron Nelson. Every is birdie machine who has been in the top five after Round 1 in roughly half of his past 10 starts.

This event has been kind to longshot winners and Every is one of the guys I have an outright ticket on, along with Sung Kang, Jason Dufner, Peter Uihlein, Si Woo Kim and Danny Lee. These guys are proven winners priced in the triple digits who have the skill set to play well at this event.

Total Risk: 1.15 units
YTD: -3.24 units

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