2023 the Memorial Tournament First Round Leader Bets: Picks for Denny McCarthy, Adam Scott & Chez Reavie

2023 the Memorial Tournament First Round Leader Bets: Picks for Denny McCarthy, Adam Scott & Chez Reavie article feature image

Via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Denny McCarthy of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 06, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 2023 PGA Tour season is the gift that keeps on giving with another incredible event set to begin on Thursday. The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club is one of the best stops on Tour, and the best players in the world will be competing for one of the most prestigious non-major trophies in golf.

In the past five editions of the Memorial Tournament, there have been 12 first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the 12, eight have come from the morning wave, and four have emerged from the afternoon wave. None of the 12 went on to win the tournament.

As of now, wind isn't expected to be a major factor on Thursday. It'll be 85 degrees and mostly calm for much of the day, therefore I'd give a slight edge to AM starters, but it wouldn't be a surprise if either the AM or PM wave produced the first-round leader.

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2023 the Memorial Tournament First-Round Leader Picks

Adam Scott +6000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 9:29 a.m. ET*

Adam Scott seems to have found something of late with his ball striking. In his past three starts, he's gained an average of 2.9 strokes per event on the field on approach and 2.2 strokes off the tee. After struggling for much of the year with his ball striking, it's an encouraging sign to see him getting back to what's made him so great over the years.

The Aussie has some strong history at Muirfield Village, including a runner-up finish in 2019 when he gained a whopping 11.8 strokes on approach for the week. He shot 66s in rounds two and three that week, which would put him in contention for the first-round lead if he can repeat those performances.

Scott has been firing out of the gates in his past two starts, shooting 68 in the first round at the PGA Championship and 63 to begin the AT&T Byron Nelson. I wouldn't be surprised if his best round of the week came on Thursday once again at Muirfield Village.

Denny McCarthy +7500 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:17 a.m. ET*

Outside of a poor showing last week in Texas, Denny McCarthy has been playing some quality golf in the biggest events. Prior to the Charles Schwab Challenge, he's finished in the top 30 in his previous five events. Those include the PGA Championship, the Wells Fargo Championship, the RBC Heritage, the Valspar Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship. The 30-year-old has brought his best stuff in the biggest events.

Last season, McCarthy finished in fifth place at the Memorial Tournament. Shorter hitters can compete at Muirfield Village, and Denny ranks third in the field in his past 24 rounds in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast Bentgrass greens. He has the ability to get a really hot putter in any given round, and he has the current form to start fast on Thursday.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout +9000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 12:00 p.m. ET*

Christiaan Bezuidenhout is coming off a strong start at Colonial where he finished 21st. The 29-year-old has gained strokes on approach in six consecutive starts, averaging +4.0 strokes on the field per start in that span. Combine that with the fact that he ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast Bentgrass greens, and you have a recipe for going low.

C-Bez has been solid in his two starts at Muirfield Village, finishing 37th and 22nd. Now, he's playing arguably as well as he ever has on the PGA Tour and has what it takes to nab the first-round lead on Thursday.

Byeong Hun An +9000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:17 a.m. ET*

Byeong Hun An was agonizingly close to winning this event in 2018 before finally succumbing to Bryson DeChambeau in a playoff on Sunday. In addition to the runner-up finish, An has three other finishes in the top 25 at Muirfield Village.

The South Korean heads to a course he loves in really strong form. He's coming off finishes of 14th and 21st, with his statistics backing up those results. He's been automatic off the tee, gaining an average of 3.6 strokes off the tee in his past five outings. His approach game is heating up as well, having gained 4.4 strokes at Colonial just last week.

An is always a good candidate to get off to a flying start, so why not this week at one of his favorite stops on Tour?

Chez Reavie +15000 (DraftKings)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

This pick is more of a flier on a player who may be starting to turn things around. Reavie is one of the best iron players in the game when he is in form, which he hasn't been all that much in 2023.

Reavie ranks 22nd in the field in his past 24 rounds on Nicklaus designs and has a 22nd-place finish at Muirfield Village in 2020. He also ranks 14th in the field in Good Drives Gained in his past 24 rounds so he should keep it in the fairway despite his relative lack of distance off the tee.

I don't think Reavie is in form to compete for 72 holes this week, but I think he has the long iron game to have a hot round at Jack's place.

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