2022 Fortinet Championship Early Picks: Cameron Davis & Taylor Pendrith Fit the Mold at Silverado Resort & Spa
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Davis.
The golf "offseason" is just a short two weeks, but it felt long as we waited for the new season. The TOUR kicks things off Thursday in wine country at the Fortinet Championship. Max Homa headlines the field as both the defending champion and one of the top-ranked players in this field. Homa will be joined by World No. 16 Hideki Matsuyama and both players will have an eye on the following week as they get set to play for opposing sides of the Presidents Cup.
A few other players from the international side will tee it up this week and it's fair to wonder where the focus will be for those guys. I'll try not to get too far into that narrative, especially at the start of a new season.
While there are some unknowns on that end, there are certainly some distinct characteristics for players who do well at Silverado Resort and Spa. Several of the recent winners would be classified as longer hitters who are more known for their ball striking than anything on the greens. Players can generally bomb and gauge their way around this track as there isn't much to penalize them. I'm going to target that long, ball-striking skillset as we look for betting odds on Monday morning.
Best Early Buys
One of those aforementioned players on the international side of the Presidents Cup is Cameron Davis. The Australian will the get that honor for the first time and I am hoping he will come in focused on having his game in the best possible shape heading to next week. If it weren't for that event looming, I would likely be all over Davis — regardless of the number — because he is the perfect fit for this event. His length off the tee, wedge and scoring ability all set up for him to continue to build off of the great season he just completed. He's shown that fit over the past three years tee to green at this event, but hasn't quite figured out how to get the ball in the hole well enough to contend. He's a different player than he was when he last played in 2020 and that all stacks up for me to take a shot on Davis if the odds are right on Monday morning.
This wasn't really the plan when I sat down to start putting my picks together, but here we are with another international player in next week's Presidents Cup. Taylor Pendrith is just another player with the style of play I am looking for this week, so I'm riding with it.
Pendrith ranked 10th on TOUR in driving distance last season, including 36th in SG: Tee-to-Green. The Canadian was hot with his game to close out last season and if he picks up where he left off, he'll be set to contend for his first win this week in wine country.
The fall swing presents plenty of opportunities to throw some darts at long shots and I'll be doing that frequently to start the new season. Taylor Montgomery is someone who stands out for me this week as he gets the promotion to the PGA Tour after closing his year on the Korn Ferry with four consecutive top-10 finishes, including three top 5s. Montgomery didn't close out any wins at that level, but with top 10s in more than half of the events he played last year, he was putting himself in the mix. The former UNLV grad is familiar with West Coast golf and fits the skillset we want with distance off the tee and birdie making ability. If he can carry that play over to the PGA, he's worth a sprinkle at likely long odds to win and maybe a little more as we go down the board for placement bets.