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2022 Fortinet Championship Round 3 Buys, Fades: Theegala in Position to Contend for First Win

2022 Fortinet Championship Round 3 Buys, Fades: Theegala in Position to Contend for First Win article feature image
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Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images. Pictured: Sahith Theegala.

Max Homa picked up right where he left off on Friday morning, as he came out with two birdies in his first three holes and added an eagle at the par-5 16th to take the solo lead at the 2022 Fortinet Championship. He looked as though he may really separate himself from the field after another birdie at 10, but he dropped a shot at 11 and was only able to get it back on his final hole of the day.

Homa, the defending champion, will go into the weekend as the co-leader alongside Danny Willett. The Englishman, Willett, had the round of the day on Friday as he fired a bogey-free 8-under 64 to put himself in the final tee time on Saturday.

They are two shots ahead of the rest of the field, including first round leader Justin Lower, who was only able to add one shot to his 9-under score from the opening round. Benny An would also join them in double digits, with everyone else at 8-under or worse.

Still, this is a tournament that has seen the winner go into the weekend seven and eight shots back the past two years. Silverado Resort and Spa North can yield some low numbers as we have seen through these past two days, leaving a much larger portion of the field still in the mix as play starts on Saturday.

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 3

If you asked me for a player not named Max Homa to win this tournament come Sunday, I’d say it’s likely Sahith Theegala. He has the ability to go really low at any given time, and this is a course perfectly tailored for his game. He doesn’t have to be perfect off the tee at Silverado Resort & Spa North, which is great, because he is always going to have some loose drives during a given round.

Theegala did that on Friday, and between the driver and putter, he dropped a couple of shots in the middle of his back nine. He was able to shake it off and get both shots back before closing out the day just four shots behind the lead. The Pepperdine alum is +1400 going into the weekend, which speaks to his talent and potential to make up the deficit over these final two rounds.

Matt Kuchar has had a really solid run of golf over the past few months after it seemed like he had kind of faded away from contending in golf tournaments a year or so ago. He is right there once again as he sits four shots back of the lead going into the weekend, and he still hasn’t done everything to the best of his ability yet.

I wasn’t surprised to see Kuchar ranking toward the middle of the field in SG: Off the Tee, but I was pretty shocked to see how few fairways he has hit this week. Typically, he needs to stay in the short grass to contend as he just doesn’t have the distance to keep up with the stars of the TOUR. If he finds his accuracy with his driver this weekend, he certainly has the approach and short game to have staying power throughout the finish on Sunday.

If I am going to throw a dart toward the bottom of the board, I may shoot my shot with Adam Svensson. He has shown an ability to put together really low rounds when he has everything going, and I think he bounces back from a rare poor day with his irons on Friday. The Canadian managed to still fire an under par round despite losing strokes to the field on thirteen of eighteen approaches. I expect he will bounce back on Saturday, and if he can pair that with a hot putter, he can get within shouting distance before Sunday. If not, it doesn’t cost us much at +18000 on DraftKings.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3

Taylor Moore has been just below field average on approach across the first two rounds, but he finds himself inside the top 5 as play heads to the weekend. He has gained nearly four shots on the field with his putter over the past two days, and that has made up for his lackluster iron play. Unfortunately for Moore, it appears more likely that his putter regresses, as he ranked 113th on TOUR in SG: Putting last season, than it is likely that his iron play picks up. He was 155th in SG: Approach last year, and the early signs during the Fortinet Championship have him struggling to gain shots in that category this week too.

It’s a similar story so far this week for Marty Dou, who graduated into the PGA Tour after his win at TPC Colorado on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. Dou has taken full advantage of his first start of the new season, as he finds himself just outside of the top 10 heading into the weekend. My concern for Dou is the same as that for Moore above, as he has gone two rounds losing strokes to the field on approach and making up for it with his short game metrics. He certainly can continue that good short game play this weekend, but generally at this level you can’t truly contend without having some positive gains on approach.

Yesterday, I faded a solid start from Webb Simpson, and today, I’ll target another accomplished veteran in Brandt Snedeker. Last season was actually so poor for Sneds that he is playing on a medical exemption this year, as he looks to regain the form that led to nine career wins at this level. He is T14 heading into Round 3 this week, but his tee to green play faded on Friday, and he was bailed out by three strokes gained on the greens. I’ll have the fade in on the Vanderbilt alum until he shows a bit more consistent form. Right now, I think we are likely to see him continue to trend in the wrong direction with his ball striking this weekend, which will have him tumbling down the leaderboard if the putter starts to falter.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 2

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