2022 Fortinet Championship Round 2 Odds & Picks: Value on Tom Hoge, Corey Conners & Will Gordon
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Hoge.
- The Fortinet Championship continues with the second round on Friday from Silverado Resort and Spa.
- Chris Murphy is eying which players to back and which ones to fade based off of their strokes gained metrics from the first round.
- Check out his picks and analysis below.
The new PGA Tour season kicked off on Thursday morning before being quickly put to a halt as heavy fog rolled into the area. The players would eventually get back on the course 90 minutes later and it turned into a great day in wine country.
Byeong-Hun An was the story of the morning wave as he made his return to the TOUR after grinding his way back from the Korn Ferry Tour last season. He birdied his first three holes and would add a few more to be the first in the clubhouse at 6-under after the opening round. Another Korean, S.H. Kim would join him at that number not long after An finished his day. They would both be passed in the afternoon though as Justin Lower put together a flawless round of 9-under 63 to take the overnight lead. Lower would be chased further into the evening by defending champion Max Homa, who finished his day at 7-under.
Rickie Fowler headlines the group at 5-under as he came out sharp in his first round of the new year. He was matched by Sahith Theegala, who kept his great play from last season rolling into Thursday and looks to be in the mix once again this week.
This is a course that produces some low scores, but no one separated themselves Thursday. The morning wave saw an advantage — which is typical on the poa annua mix greens — and they are in line for a similar edge Friday. I'll be playing toward that and seeking betting value as I look for buys heading into Round 2.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2
Tom Hoge is one early tee time that I'll take a stab at going into Friday morning. He was one of the top 15 players in SG: Ball Striking in the opening round and gained more than two shots in that category on the day. Hoge won his first PGA tournament in California last year and seems to have an affinity for golf on the West Coast. Hoge gets to go right back to it on Friday and is playing from the preferred morning wave. If he can get a few more putts to drop, he'll have a shot to be in the mix going into the weekend. I'll be buying Hoge in all formats, including taking a shot at +4500 to win on FanDuel.
The guy who sticks out for me who will play in the afternoon on Friday is Corey Conners. He closed his round with his worst hole of the day on Thursday as he bogeyed the par-5. It was his only blemish on the day and left him with one birdie, one bogey and two pars on the par 5s. I expect him to bounce back with sharper ball striking on Friday and even from seven shots back, he has the skillset to go low and be within shouting distance of the lead heading to the weekend. Conners is listed at +3500 on DraftKings, which is a decent value — even from this far back — as he is one of the elite players in this weak field.
Play was stopped on Thursday evening due to darkness, so there are a number of players still on the course, some with as many as five holes still to play. This course has the par 5s backloaded on each nine, leaving a number of scoring opportunities that these players will now get in the fresh morning conditions on Friday.
Will Gordon is one of those players with holes to play as he finished up his 15th hole in near darkness on Thursday. He'll tee it up from the par-5 16th to start his morning. The 16th and par-5 18th were two of the three easiest holes of the opening round, yielding over 100 birdies and a couple of eagles combined on the day. Gordon is a long hitter with the ability to get in position to go for each of these greens and have eagle looks — which makes him a solid value at +9000 on DraftKings. He will have a good chance to get to 4-under before rolling into his second round.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2
Nick Taylor kicks off the fade section of the new season. He had a strong round on Thursday with a late chance to match the lead in the morning wave, but it's how he got there that has me concerned going into Friday.
The Canadian gained better than three shots around the green in the first round with more than two shots gained during two bunker shots on par 5s. He stuck one on the 5th inside of two feet, then did even better at the 16th, where he holed out from the greenside bunker for eagle. He added another birdie from off the green at the par-4 14th. Overall, it was a great round of 5-under 67, but we haven't seen much consistency from Taylor lately and there was certainly a little luck going his way in Round 1.
Unfortunately for me, the player who sticks out above all others for a fade into Round 2 is one of my pre-tournament bets in Taylor Montgomery. He lost strokes to the field in both aspects of his ball striking, losing more than two and a half shots in that metric. He stumbled down his final three holes, losing more than a shot and a half to the field in those three iron shots alone.
Luckily for Montgomery, a recent Korn Ferry Tour grad, he carried a white-hot putter throughout the round. He gained more than five shots on the field with the flat stick and made more than 121 feet of putts. Now, he did rank 3rd on the KFT in putts per green last season, but this level of putting certainly isn't sustainable. I'll begrudgingly put in the fade that his putter can't stay hot enough to carry him throughout and that he'll need to find his play tee to green to stay in the hunt for this championship.
Webb Simpson's opening round at the Fortinet Championship was a microcosm of what we have seen from him for more than a year on the course. He showed some early flashes of the Webb of old, but eventually it faded and he struggled to finish. We haven't seen him show any consistency for quite some time and as he lost nearly a stroke and a half to the field on approach over his final nine holes. It was a quick reminder that he is still searching for it. I'll have my fade in on the former U.S. Open Champion until he starts to bunch multiple good rounds together.