2022 Wyndham Championship Round 2 Odds and Picks: Youngsters Austin Smotherman, Davis Riley Have Betting Value
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Pictured: Austin Smotherman.
The first round of the Wyndham Championship saw John Huh get off to a fast start on Thursday as he posted a 9-under round of 61. He made five consecutive birdies on his opening nine to claim the lead and will carry a two-shot edge into the second round. Overall, the field was just a half shot under par, showing just how great Huh’s round was. However, he certainly has some names lingering behind him.
Sungjae Im is the most prominent of those names and he is just two shots back of the lead going into Friday. Two more players are one shot behind him before things really start to bunch up with nine players sitting at 5-under after the opening round.
There are plenty of players within a handful of shots from the lead going into Round 2, so we will be looking to buy some betting value on the hopes Huh comes back to earth over the next few rounds. Let’s see who stands out.
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
Austin Smotherman is a guy I have been chasing since the start of the season and I see no reason to stop now in the last event of the regular season. He charged out with a strong 5-under 65 on Thursday and did so as the best player in the field tee to green. He was the second best, behind Huh, in SG: Ball Striking and led by 2.82 strokes gained on approach. The two things that have me looking to buy the former SMU grad is his value at +5000 on DraftKings and the fact that he struggled on the greens. He was able to put together a low round despite losing .82 strokes to the field with his putter on Thursday. Smotherman, even with the great day he put together, has room to improve and at such a strong number, he is worth a shot going into Friday.
I’ll take the same theory into the second round with Davis Riley. He has struggled on approach the past few weeks, which has led to a couple of missed cuts and a bottom of the field 64th place finish. Riley seemed to bring the irons with him this week at the Wyndham and gaines 2.88 strokes on the field with his approach on Thursday, though he struggled with the putter. He’s +4500 on DraftKings, which is a good number on a player of his caliber in this field, even from six shots back of the leader. If he can see some putts roll in on Friday, he can certainly position himself for a run over the weekend.
We’ve seen time and again where some of the stars in a field come out of the gates slow only to put together a low Friday round and make you wish you had bought them at big numbers before the day. I’d like to pull the trigger at triple digits on Will Zalatoris or Shane Lowry, but I can’t quite get there. Instead, I’m taking a longshot on Keith Mitchell.
Mitchell is a volatile and streaky player who can put together really low rounds when he has his game. I’m going to shoot for that low number on Friday because at +9000 on FanDuel he provides some really strong value. He’s got a couple of recent low rounds of 62 and 64 and I’ll be looking for him to make a move with that kind of play again as he tries to get into the mix going into the weekend.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2
The first fade sticks out pretty clearly for me on Friday, but unfortunately it’s with my pre-tournament pick, Alex Smalley. He came out strong to start the week with a 5-under 65, but his irons were ice cold and lost 1.1 shots to the field. There weren’t any overly big strokes lost with those swings either as his final nine holes just showed a player struggling on approach. Unless he can find things with those clubs leading into Round 2, it’s going to be hard for him to stick around the first couple pages of the leaderboard heading into Friday.
I’ll take another guy who came out with a 65 on Thursday as my second fade. Ben Kohles had missed the cut in six of seven tournaments coming into the week. His only made cut was a solid T13 at the Barbasol, but that was a much weaker field than what he faces this week in Greensboro. Kohles was around field average with much of his game on Thursday, relying mostly on the flatstick to carry him to the top. He’s lost a bunch of strokes to the field tee to green over his past two PGA events and he certainly didn’t show much to expect that to change this week.
Everything about Martin Trainer and his stats from Round 1 are what we look to fade going into the next day. He lost strokes in all three metrics tee to green, losing 2.13 overall in the category on the day. The only reason he is T23 is because he had the best putter of the day, which gained 4.62 shots on the field. Nothing about any of those stats and results are sustainable for him going into Friday and for that reason, he’s an easy fade.