2022 Fortinet Championship First-Round Leader Odds, Expert Picks: Matt Kuchar and Patrick Rodgers Have Value
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Kuchar
Click arrow to expand 2022 Fortinet Championship odds via WynnBet
|Byeong Hun An||+15000|
|Paul Haley II||+22500|
|Scott de Borba||+200000|
The “swing season” on the PGA kicks off with a trip to “wine country” to play the 2022 Fortinet Championship.
The field this week is not quite as strong as we saw last year, but it will give golf fans a chance to see plenty of the players that will be partaking in next week’s Presidents Cup including: Hideki Matsuyama, Taylor Pendrith, Corey Conners, Cameron Davis and Max Homa.
There seems to be a significant edge to be had in the first-round-leader market this week. In seven of the past eight editions of the tournament, golfers who’ve started in the AM wave have had at least a share of the first-round lead.
The weather may also play a factor as the wind should start to pick up around 2:00 PM local time. I don’t expect the wind to be incredibly significant, but the AM starters should still have the better weather draw.
Therefore, I will take the approach of taking a handful of longshots starting in the AM to get off to a flying start in Napa.
Fortinet Championship First-Round-Leader Selections
Matt Kuchar +5000 (DraftKings)
Kuchar had a down year in the 2021-22 season, but there’s still hope that he can bounce back. “Kuch” finished in 35th at the BMW Championship which had an extremely strong field. It isn’t the result that he’s typically hoping for, but it is most definitely a step in the right direction.
Kuchar putts extremely well on Poa and leads the field in that category in his past 24 rounds on the surface. He also has encouraging history on the West Coast. We often see a hot putter carry a player to the first-round lead and the 44-year-old is a great putter long term.
First Round Tee Time: 7:44 A.M. PDT
Patrick Rodgers +6000 (DraftKings)
Patrick Rodgers will never reach the expectations that the world set for him when he was a top player at Stanford. However, if there’s any event that is picture perfect for him to finally break through in, it’s this one.
Rodgers has played really well at Silverado and finished in sixth place at the Fortinet last season. This year, the field is even weaker and I believe Rodgers can take advantage and get himself into contention.
First Round Tee Time: 7:11 A.M. PDT
Byeong-Hun An +14000 (DraftKings)
An had a great season on the Korn Ferry Tour last year and earned his spot back where he belongs on the PGA TOUR. Before he lost his TOUR card, the South Korean was known for getting off to fast starts in Round 1.
An also has played well on the West Coast throughout the last few seasons. He finished eighth in the 2021 American Express at PGA West and 9th at the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
First Round Tee Time: 8:17 A.M. PDT
Harry Higgs +15000 (DraftKings)
In 2020, Higgs finished in second place at Silverado in what proved to be his closest call on winning a PGA TOUR event to date. He gained 5.4 strokes on approach for the week, so there may be something to the layout that works for his game.
Higgs also showed some signs of life in his most recent start at the Wyndham Championship where he gained 3.3 strokes on approach, which was his best iron week since the CJ Cup in 2021.
If he can get some positive vibes on a course where he narrowly lost to Stewart Cink just two years ago, he may be able to go low on Thursday with the early tee time.
First Round Tee Time: 8:39 A.M. PDT