Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Fortinet Championship Tips

Get Steve's previews as soon as they're published @Bamfordgolf Follow Now

Get 4 x £/€5 FREE BETS to use on this week’s golf! New customers who bet £/€5 (or £/€5 EW) with Ladbrokes on any sport get 4 x £/€5 free bets to use on any golf bets – plus they’re going 7 places each way, 1/5 odds on this week’s Fortinet Championship. No promo code required, simply use this qualifying link to claim this offer.

  • 18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, no cashout. Restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Welcome to the 2021/2022 PGA Tour season!

After crowning Patrick Cantlay as the 2020/21 FedEx Cup Champion, the 2021/22 PGA Tour kicks-off in just 3 days in California at the freshly titled Fortinet Championship (Safeway Open as was).

Despite its establishment as recently as 2013, the wraparound season format still takes some getting used to and 2022 will yet again see some considerable changes in these Covid-19 impacted times.

The Far East Swing is again impacted with the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China cancelled and the CJ Cup in South Korea to be played at Las Vegas’ The Summit Club. The ZOZO Championship though looks like it will return to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club outside of Tokyo, Japan.

With the cancellation of the WGC event, the Bermuda Championship will be a standalone event with full FedEx Cup points and an increased prize fund. 9 PGA Tour 2021/22 season tournaments will be played in 2021 with 8 of them being played on courses we know.

The Fortinet Championship at the resort-style Silverado Country Club attracts a number of quality players year in, year out. This 2021 renewal sees World Number 1 Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Kevin Na, Will Zalatoris, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Max Homa and Si Woo Kim from the OWGR top 50 amongst a full 156-man field who are all looking to start the new season with a win.

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Fortinet Championship we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System, Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Ladbrokes Fortinet Championship – Featured Bookmaker:

Ladbrokes are leading the way for this week’s Fortinet Championship, offering an excellent 7 places each-way at 1/5 odds. They are also offering 7 places each-way at 1/5 odds on the Dutch Open this week, providing 4 additional each-way spots this week across the main Tours.  If you haven’t already got a Ladbrokes account then new customers can access their new customer offer using the link below:

✅ Bet £/€5 get £/€20 in free bets using this qualifying link.
✅ For further details read our Ladbrokes promo code page.
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Daily ‘Odds Boost’ available to use on your golf bets to enhance the advertised odds

Ladbrokes New Customer Offer: 18+. UK+IRE customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excluded. Min £/€5 first bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stakes not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Course Guide: Silverado Resort and Spa was purchased in 2010 by a small group of individuals including Johnny Miller who soon set about updating both the North and South courses.

Set in the rich wine growing country of the Napa Valley, the North Course had played host to the PGA Tour from 1968 to 1976 and also the Champions Tour from 1977 to 1980. Miller’s goal had always been to attract the PGA Tour back to the North Course with a view to potentially landing the U.S. Open or PGA Championship in the future. So 2011 saw Miller re-design both courses with the 1966 Trent Jones Jnr tournament course receiving a renovation that added 250 yards and saw a host of holes re-routed.

North Course, Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, California: Designer: Trent Jones Jnr, 1966 with a Miller redesign, 2011; Course Type: Classical, Resort; Par: 72; Length: 7,123 yards; Water Hazards: 2; Fairways: Bermudagrass with Poa Annua, and Rye; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass and Rye, 3″; Greens: 6,200 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Stimpmeter: 11.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2014: 71.70 (-0.30), Difficulty Rank 24 of 52 courses, 2015: 71.11 (-0.89), Difficulty Rank 33 of 50 courses. 2016: 70.83 (-1.17), Difficulty Rank 36 of 50 courses. 2017: 71.76 (-0.24), Difficulty Rank 23 of 51 courses. 2018: 71.10 (-0.90), Difficulty Rank 29 of 49 courses. 2019: 71.24 (-0.76), Difficulty Rank 19 of 41 courses. 2020: 70.21 (-1.79), Difficulty Rank 44 of 51 courses.

Widths Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Silverado Country Club and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.
  • East Lake: 250 yards from the tee: 28 yards wide; 275:26; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Caves Valley: 40- 60 yards.
  • Liberty National: 250 yards from tee: 37 yards wide; 275:33; 300:30 325:31; 350:27.
  • Sedgefield: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:26 325:23; 350:22.
  • TPC Southwind: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:28; 325:31; 350:25.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes, other Robert Trent Jones Jnr designs include:

  • Chambers Bay – 2015 US Open
  • CordeValle – 2010-2013 Frys.com Open
  • The Mines Resort & GC – 2010-2012 CIMB Classic

Course Overview: The North Course is a classical, tree-lined track that’s set up to be scoreable at the Fortinet Championship. It’s not overly long at just over 7,120 yards, however the Par 72 features plenty of dog-legs with Napa Valley Oaks and Redwoods strategically placed to block approach shots. Miller re-routed a number of holes, lengthened the course and re-worked the bunkering with the goal of creating an ‘Augusta-type’ feel. Fairways are on the tight side and are very difficult to hit – but the penalty is not massive despite 3″ rough. Green complexes and surrounding rough are the main defence with some fairly severe undulations, and with winning totals at -21/267, (last year),and -17/271 across 2019 and 2020, this course seemingly is becoming easier with every passing year.

This event has traditionally favoured free-scoring players who can putt beautifully and confidently on greens that have Poa Annua within their structure. As we know, Poa Annua is not every player’s cup of tea. Previous to 2015, a winners’ list with Molder, Blixt, Walker and Bae clearly indicated that strong putters, and those with an excellent scrambling game from the rough, had an advantage in Northern California. But in the past 6 renewals bigger-hitting, ball-strikers in the shape of Stewart Cink, Cameron Champ, Kevin Tway, Brendan Steele (x2) and Emiliano Grillo have won here at Silverado. Steele has always had a penchant for putting on the West Coast though having grown up in California.

Set-up wise, the North Course at Silverado is a classical-style golf course – indeed Johnny Miller has a long-term goal of landing a U.S. Open or PGA Championship here. Fairly tight, tree-lined fairways can block approach shots and pin positions can be tucked into areas where accessibility is difficult.

To add to the difficulty, 2017 saw 7 green complexes feature closely mown run-off areas which grab wayward approaches. These now feature across the 15th to 18th holes just to add a new variant. The greens themselves, especially on the front side, are described as severely sloping by many, which in turn has placed Silverado in the top-half of difficulty on Tour when it comes to proximity to the pin since its arrival on the schedule. Another insightful statistic is that the course typically ranks in the top 20 hardest for Going for the Green, which makes sense when so many, fairways are missed by the field. With 5 holes (the 5th, 8th, 9th, 16th and 18th) where Going for the Green becomes a factor, look for players who can be successfully aggressive with their approach shots.

fortinet championship tips

Winners: 2020: Stewart Cink (-21); 2019: Cameron Champ (-17); 2018: Kevin Tway (-14); 2017: Brendan Steele (-15); 2016: Brendan Steele (-18); 2015: Emiliano Grillo (-15); 2014: Sang-moon Bae (-15); CordeValle Winners: 2013: Jimmy Walker (-17); 2012: Jonas Blixt (-16); 2011: Bryce Molder (-17); 2010: Rocco Mediate (-15).

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Jon Rahm, Kevin Na, Cameron Champ, Luke List, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Si Woo Kim, Tyler McCumber, Harry Higgs and Hudson Swafford.

Tournament Winners & Prices: 2020: Cink 200/1; 2019: Champ 150/1; 2018: Tway 66/1; 2017: Steele 33/1; 2016: Steele 50/1; 2015: Grillo 50/1; 2014: Bae 150/1; 2013: Walker 30/1; 2012: Blixt 28/1; 2011: Molder 40/1; 2010: Mediate 150/1. Past 8 Renewals Average: 91/1; Overall Average: 77/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2020: Thursday: Due to fog, the start to round one was delayed one hour and began at 8 a.m. Cloudy, with a high of 69. Wind SSW 5-10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 70. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Hazy filtered sunshine, with a high of 85. Wind SW 4-8 mph. Sunday: Filtered sunshine, with a high of 85. Wind WSW 5-10 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Sunny. High of 85. Wind SW 6-12 mph, with gusts to 18 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 77. Wind SW 6-12 mph. Morning tee times were delayed 10 minutes due to fog. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 73. Wind NW 12-18 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 69. Wind W 6-12 mph, with gusts to 18 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 70. Wind SW 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 74. Wind SW 8-15 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 78. Wind NW 7-12 mph. Sunday: Sunny and windy, with a high of 84. Wind N 15-25 mph, with gusts to 36 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 84. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 84. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 86. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 84. N wind 15-25 mph, with gusts to 30 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 69. Wind SW 5-10 mph. Friday: Cloudy, with moderate rain showers in the afternoon. High of 66. Wind SW 10-20 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 66, with heavy rain in the afternoon. Sunday: Cloudy, with a high of 66. Wind SW 8-15 mph.
  • 2015: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 78. Wind SW at 8-14 mph. Friday: High of 79. SW wind at 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High of 77. Wind S at 10-15 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy in the afternoon, with a high of 75. SW wind at 6-12 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Napa, California is here.

This part of California, famous for its vineyards, is notoriously dry. With little in the way of rain this month and none due in tournament week, we should again see fast fairway conditions. Tournament organisers are likely to produce receptive enough greens and with nothing more than the lightest of breeze from the south west forecast, and with temperatures of 23 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius, I would expect the standard low scoring.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the 3M Open / Cazoo Open (Wales), which includes PGA Tour, European Tour events and the Olympics. Players rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Jon Rahm; 2) C.T. Pan / Aaron Rai; 4) Charles Howell III; 5) Doug Ghim; 6) Ryan Armour; 7) Brice Garnett; 8) Chez Reavie; 9) Will Zalatoris; 10) Troy Merritt; 11) Hideki Matsuyama; 12) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Maverick McNealy; 14) Tom Hoge / Phil Mickelson; 16) Jason Dufner; 17) Tyler Duncan / Alex Smalley; 19) Roger Sloan / Vincent Whaley; 21) Adam Hadwin / Scott Stallings; 23) Sebastian Munoz; 24) Patton Kizzire / Sean O’Hair.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Cameron Percy; 2) Hudson Swafford; 3) Sepp Straka; 4) Harold Varner III; 5) Jon Rahm; 6) Webb Simpson; 7) John Augenstein / Kevin Stadler; 9) Bronson Burgoon; 10) Max Homa / Brendan Steele; 12) Sebastian Munoz / Aaron Rai; 14) Chesson Hadley; 15) Pat Perez; 16) Hideki Matsuyama / Kevin Na; 18) Talor Gooch / Nick Watney; 20) David Hearn / Lucas Herbert / Nick Taylor; 23) Joseph Bramlett; 24) Cameron Champ / Charley Hoffman / C.T. Pan / Will Zalatoris.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Jonathan Byrd; 2) Jason Dufner; 3) Si Woo Kim; 4) Scott Piercy / Nick Taylor; 6) Harry Higgs; 7) Kevin Na; 8) David Hearn; 9) Kurt Kitayama / Sebastian Munoz; 11) Martin Trainer; 12) John Huh; 13) Cameron Tringale; 14) Patrick Rodgers; 15) Aaron Rai; 16) Mito Pereira; 17) Bronson Burgoon / Maverick McNealy / Brian Stuard; 20) C.T. Pan; 21) Webb Simpson; 22) Joseph Bramlett / Hideki Matsuyama / Tyler McCumber / Doc Redman.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Cameron Percy; 2) Jon Rahm; 3) Aaron Rai; 4) Kevin Na; 5) Charles Howell III / Sebastian Munoz; 7) Jason Dufner; 8) Webb Simpson; 9) Hudson Swafford; 10) Hideki Matsuyama / C.T. Pan / Pat Perez; 13) Will Zalatoris; 14) Nick Taylor; 15) Nick Watney; 16) Si Woo Kim; 17) Kiradech Aphibarnrat; 18) Max Homa / Maverick McNealy / Sepp Straka; 21) Cameron Champ / Adam Hadwin / Charley Hoffman; 24) Mito Pereira; 25) Talor Gooch / Marc Leishman / Brendon Todd.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Nick Taylor; 2) Alex Smalley; 3) Jon Rahm; 4) Jonathan Byrd / Will Zalatoris; 6) Michael Gligic; 7) Charley Hoffman; 8) Sung Kang; 9) Phil Mickelson; 10) Kevin Na / Sam Ryder; 12) Cameron Tringale / Kevin Tway; 14) Pat Perez; 15) Harold Varner III; 16) Bo Hoag / Martin Trainer; 18) John Augenstein; 19) Cameron Champ / Harry Higgs; 21) Brian Stuard; 22) Mito Pereira / Adam Schenk; 24) Tyler Duncan / Adam Hadwin / Sebastian Munoz.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Jon Rahm; 2) Kevin Na / Nick Taylor; 4) Pat Perez; 5) Will Zalatoris; 6) Aaron Rai / Webb Simpson; 8) Sebastian Munoz; 9) Hudson Swafford; 10) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Jason Dufner; 12) Alex Smalley; 13) Charley Hoffman / Hideki Matsuyama / Cameron Tringale; 16) Harry Higgs / Harold Varner III; 18) Jonathan Byrd / Mark Hubbard; 20) Mito Pereira; 21) Maverick McNealy / Cameron Percy; 23) John Augenstein / Adam Hadwin / Bo Hoag.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at Silverado since 2016 click here

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends: Analysing the Strokes Gained stats of Silverado CC winners since 2016 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2020, Stewart Cink (-21). SG Off the Tee: 18th, SG Approach: 8th, SG Around the Green: 23rd, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 13th.
  • 2019, Cameron Champ (-17). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 13th, SG Around the Green: 19th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 28th.
  • 2018, Kevin Tway (-14). SG Off the Tee: 19th, SG Approach: 23rd, SG Around the Green: 7th, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 18th.
  • 2017, Brendan Steele (-15). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 3rd, SG Around the Green: 48th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 29th.
  • 2016, Brendan Steele (-18). SG Off the Tee: 20th, SG Approach: 8th, SG Around the Green: 38th, SG Tee to Green: 11th, SG Putting: 6th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 11th, SG Approach: 11th, SG Around the Green: 27th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 19th.

Traditional Skill Set Trends: Analysing the traditional stats of Silverado CC winners since 2014 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2020, Stewart Cink (-21). 316 yards (11th), 55.4% fairways (24th), 84.7% greens in regulation (1st), 29″8″ proximity to hole (22nd), 90.9% scrambling (2nd), 1.74 putts per GIR (52nd).
  • 2019, Cameron Champ (-17). 337 yards (1st), 53.6% fairways (21st), 73.6% greens in regulation (10th), 37″9″ proximity to hole (51st), 84.2 % scrambling (1st), 1.74 putts per GIR (38th).
  • 2018, Kevin Tway (-14). 319 yards (14th), 51.8% fairways (40th), 72.2% greens in regulation (18th), 36″3″ proximity to hole (48th), 80.0 % scrambling (1st), 1.73 putts per GIR (22nd).
  • 2017, Brendan Steele (-15). 328 yards (1st), 67.9% fairways (3rd), 79.2% greens in regulation (4th), 29″10″ proximity to hole (6th), 73.3 % scrambling (7th), 1.81 putts per GIR (60th).
  • 2016, Brendan Steele (-18). 292 yards (23rd), 64.3% fairways (5th), 75.0% greens in regulation (21st), 30″0″ proximity to hole (16th), 72.2 % scrambling (4th), 1.65 putts per GIR (8th).
  • 2015, Emiliano Grillo (-15). 300 yards (37th), 64.3% fairways (8th), 73.6% greens in regulation (16th), 30″0″ proximity to hole (3rd), 73.7 % scrambling (5th), 1.74 putts per GIR (41st).
  • 2014, Sang-moon Bae (-15). 299 yards (26th), 55.4% fairways (45th), 75.0% greens in regulation (6th), 28″5″ proximity to hole (4th), 77.8 % scrambling (3rd), 1.70 putts per GIR (18th).

Traditional Skill Set Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 16th, Driving Accuracy: 21st, Greens in Regulation: 11th, Proximity to Hole: 21st, Scrambling: 3rd, Putting Average 34th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how Silverado has played in recent years and what specific skills it requires:

Stewart Cink: “Well, I think the ground has dried out a lot, so the ball’s going farther in the air, but it’s also going farther when it lands, especially off the tees, so you’re having to account for a little bit more of that. The rough is dried out, so it’s playing a little bit more unpredictable than it was before when it was still kind of damp. And the greens are still holding, so I still expect scores to be pretty low today.”

Cameron Champ: “I just play (the par-5s) them as aggressive as I can. Obviously key is getting it in the fairway out here, some of the par 5s are pretty narrow, and then from there, like I said, I usually play my best whenever I stay aggressive and that’s what I try to do on the par 5s. Out here it just depends on the pins. Sometimes I don’t even care if I’m in the rough, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll just try to position it off the tee. If the pin’s far left, I’ll play the right side. And like I said, I’ll take it in the rough being up there hitting driver. So that’s kind of how I look at it this week. For me, the par 5s out here are key. I feel like I have to birdie those with my length, and some of the chances I can have at them, those are key for the rest of the week.”

Kevin Tway: “Yeah, I played in the wind all the time from Oklahoma State, and now I live in Jupiter and it’s windy there, so I’m comfortable with the wind. Got to hit the ball solid and that’s just what I’m trying to do. Yeah, the 2nd hole’s hard, especially when it was cold this morning. I think I hit 2-iron and I don’t hit many 2-irons on par 3s. Yeah, that hole’s tough. If the greens firm up, a couple of pins could be pretty tough, but there’s no wind, so it should be pretty good scoring.”

Brendan Steele: “The difficulty on this course is definitely on the greens. You have to be careful where you leave it. They’re quick and got a lot of slope. A few have tons of slope. Nos. 3, 4, 8, these holes, like if you get on the wrong side you’ve got no chance. As the week goes on it’s going to firm up. If you’re out of position it’s going to be almost impossible to hold the greens, as it was last year. I think even though there are some shorter holes that they’re really good strategically because they have areas where you can’t be always. So you know, okay, if I’m going to lay up here I need to lay up left so I can come in this way or you have the tree in your way or there is a bunker on the other side. If you’re hitting good shots you can score well, and if you’re not hitting good shots it’ll penalized you a little bit.

Emiliano Grillo: “The course asks you to be aggressive a little bit, but you have to be very smart out there. If you play smart you can score well. Out here you got to play well off the tee. You got to play from the fairway. If not, you can get some bogeys out there. I think the main key is staying patient and hitting some solid shots.

Justin Rose: “Yeah, this is a golf course where you have to drive it well. If you do drive it well around here, you set up a lot of birdie chances. The par-5s are all within range and then there are a lot of par-4s where you have wedges into the green. That’s why you see guys going low. Also a tricky course. Has its subtleties. You got to put the ball in play. There are some doglegs. Pretty narrow off the tee. It’s kind of the course if you play well you can go low. It’s going to find out our if you’re not on your game.

Sang-moon Bae: “Honestly, I really like this course because it’s like a classic – always classic courses you need really good iron shots for second, really narrow, small greens, a lot of undulation. I think the greens were pretty soft this week, but the fairways were a little firm, but rough is not easy. So I drove it pretty good, but iron shot was really, really good, and that’s why I made a lot of birdies this week.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 7 Silverado winners of this event:

  • 2020 – Stewart Cink: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 26th, Round 3: 7th.
  • 2019 – Cameron Champ: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Kevin Tway: Round 1: 22nd, Round 2: 5th, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2017 – Brendan Steele: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 2016 – Brendan Steele: Round 1: 9th, Round 2: 16th, Round 3: 6th.
  • 2015 – Emiliano Grillo: Round 1: 13th, Round 2: 19th, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2014 – Sang-moon Bae: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 7 Silverado winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2020 – Stewart Cink: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2019 – Cameron Champ: Round 1: 1 2 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2018 – Kevin Tway: Round 1: 1 5 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2017 – Brendan Steele: Round 1: level, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2016 – Brendan Steele: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 9 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2015 – Emiliano Grillo: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2014 – Sang-moon Bae: Round 1: level, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 4 ahead.

Incoming form of winners since 2014:

  • Stewart Cink: MC Wyndham/46th 3M/62nd Memorial/17th Workday.
  • Cameron Champ: 28th Sanderson/65th BMW/21st Northern Trust/MC Wyndham.
  • Kevin Tway: 43rd Dell Tech/56th Northern Trust/11th Wyndham/23rd Barracuda.
  • Brendan Steele: 44th BMW/56th Dell Tech/MC Northern Trust/MC PGA.
  • Brendan Steele: 64th BMW/72nd Deutsche/22nd Barclays/17th Travelers.
  • Emiliano Grillo: 1st web.com Final/MC Nationwide/2nd Small Business/9th Hotel Fitness.
  • Sang-moon Bae: 15th ANA Open/MC Barclays/14th Wyndham/MC Canada.
  • Jimmy Walker: 11th BMW/MC Deutsche/54th Barclays/MC Wyndham.
  • Jonas Blixt: 3rd Shriners/20th Deutsche/44th Barclays/55th Wyndham.
  • Bryce Molder: 10th Shriners/64th Barclays/56th PGA/10th Barracuda.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2014. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2020 – Knox – AM -9/63 – 95/1.
  • 2019 – Scott/Landry – AM/PM Split -7/65 – 28/1 125/1.
  • 2018 – Straka – PM -9/63 – 150/1.
  • 2017 – Duncan/Hoge/Steele – All AM -7/65 – 125/1 100/1 45/1.
  • 2016 – Piercy – AM -10/62.
  • 2015 – Steele – AM -8/64.
  • 2014 – Bae/Gonzales AM/PM Split -6/66.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Jon Rahm, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 2 – Scott Piercy, Brendan Steele, Nick Watney.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Jonas Blixt, Cameron Champ, Jason Dufner, Emiliano Grillo, Bill Haas, James Hahn, J.B. Holmes, Max Homa, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Nate Lashley, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt, Sean O’Hair, Andrew Putnam, Chez Reavie, Scott Stallings, Chris Stroud, Nick Taylor, Vaughn Taylor, Kevin Tway, Bo Van Pelt.

The Fortinet Championship, previously the Safeway Open or Frys.com – produces some interesting trends. Although the tournament has had various schedule slots across the ‘Fall Series’ before becoming the now PGA Tour curtain-raiser, all winners have been between 28/1 and 200/1 across the past 11 renewals.

In terms of form Stewart Cink, Cameron Champ, Brendan Steele and Kevin Tway of late all highlight that immediate top 10 form here is no requirement for victory. Cink, Steele, Bae, Molder, Blixt and Walker also had previous main Tour top 10 finishes ‘Out West’ to their names, but clearly it’s not imperative. Grillo, on the other hand, was quite simply playing exceptional golf after winning the web.com Tour Championship on his previous outing. This tournament in recent times has undoubtedly promoted maiden Tour winners – Molder, Blixt and Walker at CordeValle; Grillo became yet another in 2015 at Silverado at 50/1, with Kevin Tway winning his first PGA Tour title here in 2018 at 66/1.

Sang-moon Bae had won at TPC Four Seasons in 2013 prior to winning here in 2014 and Brandon Steele had only tasted PGA Tour victory once, a distant 4 years prior to lifting the trophy here in 2016. Cameron Champ was also another single-time winner when capturing the title here last year, having won the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship, prior to his win here at Silverado. Throw in defending champion Stewart Cink who had won 6 times on the PGA Tour, but was winless for 11 years, and you can see it’s a veritable melting pot in reality.

Spreading things slightly broader and taking the first tournament after the Tour Championship into account across the last 11 seasons – naturally this includes the ‘Fall Series’ from 2010 through to 2013 – 8 of those 11 tournaments have been won by players ranked in the top 90 in the Official Golf World Rankings. Bae (2014), Tway (2018) and Cink (2020) won with OWGR ranks of 195, 138 and 319 respectively.

  • Bill Haas – 2010 Viking Classic – OWGR 89 – 22/1
  • Kevin Na – 2011 Shriners Open – OWGR 76 – 60/1
  • Ryan Moore – 2012 Shriners Open – OWGR 44 – 14/1
  • Jimmy Walker – 2013 Frys.com Open – OWGR 66 – 30/1
  • Sang-moon Bae – 2014 Frys.com Open – OWGR 195 – 150/1
  • Emiliano Grillo – 2015 Frys.com Open – OWGR 72 – 50/1
  • Brendan Steele – 2016 Safeway Open – OWGR 88 – 50/1
  • Brendan Steele – 2017 Safeway Open – OWGR 59 – 33/1
  • Kevin Tway – 2018 Safeway Open – OWGR 138 – 66/1
  • Joaquin Niemann 2019 Greenbrier – OWGR 84 – 28/1
  • Stewart Cink 2020 Safeway Open – OWGR 319 – 200/1

My selections are as follows:

Charley Hoffman 1.5pts EW 40/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

I’ve been impressed with Charley Hoffman in 2021. He looks a different player these days and he’s undoubtedly upwardly mobile results-wise.

As low as 152nd in the Official World Golf Rankings back in February, he now finds himself in 62nd spot. 7th at Pebble Beach, 2nd at TPC San Antonio, 18th at Harbour Town, 18th at Copperhead, 17th at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and 3rd the week after at Colonial will boost your ranking undoubtedly!

Charley also played nicely in the FedEx Cup Playoffs with 21st at The Northern Trust and 38th at the BMW Championship, frustratingly seeing him lose out on a Tour Championship starting berth by 3 positions. Clearly that would have opened the door to the biggest tournaments in 2022, so despite the rise in his game and results the next step has to be a win and/or a jump into the OWGR top 50 or both.

So the start of a new season is a huge opportunity for Charley, with weaker fields and low-scoring tournaments in which he traditionally thrives. 24th for SG on Approach, 21st for SG Tee to Green, 7th for SG Putting and 13th for SG Total (Current Form) across my 8-week trackers, Hoffman is playing some lovely stuff and he’s racked up around $5.5 million across his career in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Top 60 for Total Driving, top 30 for Driving Distance and top 25 for SG Off the Tee across the whole of last season, I can see Charley cracking the code at a low scoring, tree-lined golf course which if motivated should be right up his street. RESULT: T22

✅ £/€20 risk-free bet offer for new customers using code YSKAEE and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Paddy Power promo code page
✅ Paddy’s most popular new customer offer for Golf Betting System visitors
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Paddy Power New Customer Offer: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Maverick McNealy 1pt EW 50/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Maverick McNealy was one I backed at the Barracuda Championship last month and he was pretty much in the mix the whole way, scoring another top-20 finish. That made 6 consecutive top-30 finishes prior to the FedEx Cup Playoffs with 20th at Colonial, 21st in Detroit, 18th at TPC Deere Run, 16th at TPC Twin Cities and 18th at Old Greenwood. That run also included 54-hole positional figures of 9th (Colonial), 8th (TPC Deere Run), 2nd (TPC Twin Cities) and 11th (Old Greenwood). To say he’s been there or thereabouts would be very apt.

But a look at McNealy’s PGA Tour best finishes highlights a player who’s very specialised. 5th (2020) and 2nd (2021) at Pebble Beach (course rota of 1 Par 71 and 2 Par 72s at circa 7,100 yards), 8th (2020) at Detroit Golf Club (Par 72 at 7,320 yards), 7th (2020) at Old Greenwood (Par 71 at 7,390 yards at altitude) and 4th (2021) at Harbour Town (Par 71 7,121 yards). 11th (2020) at PGA National and 12th (2020) at El Camaleon also came on a Par 70 at 7,125 yards and a Par 71 at 7,017 yards. So it’s short formats all the way for Maverick.

So across the Major Championship strength fields of The Northern Trust and BMW Championship it was noteworthy to see McNealy finish 27th at the Par 71, 7,410 yard Liberty National. Safe to say that course was not really his bag. And at the bombs away Par 72 at Caves Valley which was 7,542 yards in length, McNealy was semi-competitive standing 25th going into the weekend, before falling away to 63rd.

So I’m back in on Maverick at a Silverado track which at a freshly reduced 7,123 yards is the kind of Par 72 he can perform well at and he’s undoubtedly Poa Annua positive. He also tends to save his very best performances for his home Golden State – indeed 4 of McNealy’s last 6 top-10 finishes have come in California. including 3rd at the 2019 Ellie Mae Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour. RESULT: 2nd

✅ Bet £/€10 Get £/€30 in free bets for new customers using code H30 and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our William Hill promo code page
✅ Earliest bookmaker to publish odds most weeks on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 9 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 2021 Major Championships

William Hill New Customer Offer: 18+. Play safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. #Ad

Mito Pereira 1pt EW 60/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

As many of you will know, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Chilean Joaquin Niemann and that has spilt over recently to his countryman Mito Pereira.

Now I tipped up the 26 year-old at the recent 3M Open at 80/1 and the Chilean played well for me, landing a part each-way place. My reasoning was based on the fact that he had landed 3 Korn Ferry wins across the past 18 months, the last 2 of which came across consecutive weeks in June.

An undoubted talent, since his promotion to the PGA Tour in the first week of July, Pereira’s first 3 outings produced 5th at the Barbasol Championship, 6th at the 3M Open and 3rd across regulation 72-hole play at the Olympics in Japan. Undoubtedly the Texas Tech University graduate is a talent and maybe his compatriot and housemate Joaquin Niemann wasn’t joking when he mentioned in a recent interview that Pereira is better than he is!

Well-rested after a 7 straight week marathon into the Wyndham Championship, where exhausted he missed the cut, this will be his Silverado debut and with his power I think it will be a course he’ll like. It’s also fascinating to note that Pereira’s seasonal debuts to date have included a 4th (2016), 2nd (2019) and 3rd (2020) at Latinoamerica and Korn Ferry Tour levels. He’s clearly a player who prepares and motivates himself after periods of competitive inactivity. RESULT: 3rd

✅ £/€20 risk-free bet offer for new customers using code YSKAEE and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Paddy Power promo code page
✅ Paddy’s most popular new customer offer for Golf Betting System visitors
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Paddy Power New Customer Offer: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Hudson Swafford 1pt EW 150/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

Hudson Swafford impressed me greatly across the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Not the sort you would expect to put his hand up in such strong company, Hudson delivered 11th at the Northern Trust (Liberty National) and 17th at the BMW Championship (Caves Valley). That was good enough for 36th in the season ending FedEx Cup standings, his best ever finish across his 8 season PGA Tour career.

The season included 1st (2020) and 6th (2021) at Corales, plus 2nd at the Palmetto Championship, and it’s easy to overlook that Swafford was 11th and 9th entering Sunday across both the Northern Trust and BMW Championship. Naturally those fields are amongst the strongest on the PGA Tour, so I’d expect some pep in Swafford’s step as he arrives in Napa this week.

Now the 34 year-old also has the type of game I’m looking for at Silverado. A 303 yard driver of the golf ball (45th for Driving Distance last season), Hudson undoubtedly has pop and it’s noteworthy that he also ranked 3rd for Total Driving across the season – that is genuinely elite-level driving.

His 8-week Strokes Gained tracker statistics in this field are also excellent. 2nd for Approach, 9th for Tee to Green and 9th for Current Form, it’s also fascinating to note that the Sea Island resident has an understated but noticeable set of results on the west coast of the United States. 3rd at Waialae (2019 Sony Open), 13th at Torrey Pines (2016 Farmers Insurance Open), 9th at TPC Scottsdale (2020 Phoenix Open) and 11th at Montreux (2018 Barracuda Championship), Hudson also won the first of his 2 PGA Tour titles in California at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge hosted at PGA West.

5 for 5 across his Silverado starts, Swafford was 7th here in 2014 and 17th here in 2015. In my eyes one to follow when confident, Hudson does his very best work on scoreable par 72s. RESULT: MC

✅ £/€20 risk-free bet offer for new customers using code YSKAEE and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Paddy Power promo code page
✅ Paddy’s most popular new customer offer for Golf Betting System visitors
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Paddy Power New Customer Offer: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Harry Higgs 1pt EW 100/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

Harry Higgs was another to raise his hand in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Where plenty take a back seat and shy away, Higgs played his way into the BMW Championship, eventually finishing a creditable 66th in the FedEx Cup standings – he was 55th last year in his rookie season. Not to be sniffed at that.

16th at the Northern Trust played at Liberty National, Harry was a feature throughout with rounds of 69/66/68 seeing him finish 16th and taking him to Baltimore for the BMW, where he proceeded to finish 38th which again was no disgrace, especially as he was top 25 going into the weekend. And with Silverado around the corner, my card had been marked.

Powerful with driver in hand (averages 299 yards), Higgs massively gained confidence with his driver over the Playoffs and that makes the Dallas, Texas resident a big danger for me this week. 2 visits to Silverado have seen the 29 year-old finish 23rd (2019) and 2nd (2020). That translates in this field in terms of Strokes Gained at Silverado to 6th for Approach, 8th for Ball Striking, 13th for Tee to Green and 2nd for Strokes Gained Total across 8 competitive rounds – full Silverado Strokes Gained Stats are here free of charge.  Safe to say Higgs likes Silverado almost as much as his favourite Tito’s and water cocktail.

It’s also worth noting that his 3 visits to California in 2019 gleaned the aforementioned 23rd here, 9th at the star-studded Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, plus 18th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where he was 8th at halfway. 2nd in Kansas, 11th in Utah, 3rd in Colorado, 11th in Idaho and the winner of the Price Cutter Championship played in Springfield, Missouri in his 2019 Korn Ferry Tour season, Higgs clearly gets on with the agronomy he faces this week and that makes sense for a player whose formative years were in New Jersey.

With confidence building, I see no reason why he cannot feature. RESULT: MC

✅ £/€20 risk-free bet offer for new customers using code YSKAEE and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Paddy Power promo code page
✅ Paddy’s most popular new customer offer for Golf Betting System visitors
✅ Offered 12 places each-way 1/6 odds at the 2021 Open Championship for the first time ever

Paddy Power New Customer Offer: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Brandon Hagy 1pt EW 250/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Brandon Hagy has undoubtedly had the best year of his career. Up 248 spots in the Official Golf World Rankings, the 30 year old from Santa Monica in California earned his PGA Tour card for this season with ease for the first time in his career.

21st at The American Express, 2nd at the Honda Classic, 17th at the Valero Texas Open, 6th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, 18th at the John Deere Classic and 5th at the Barracuda Championship, he’s also had recent experience at the sharp end on Sunday. The month of July saw him 5th entering Sunday at Detroit which became 6th at the close, whilst at TPC Deere Run he went out in the final Sunday Group and finished 18th. We then landed a full 60/1 each-way payout at the Barracuda with a Sunday 18 point haul – 2nd best in the field – which blasted him into the paying places on the final leaderboard.

35th here in 2016 as a Tour rookie, Brandon is on a different level experience and confidence-wise these days and I think Hagy has the raw materials to unlock Silverado – a course where he is 2/4. 10th for Driving Distance, 27th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee and top 70 for Going for the Green last season, finishes of 5th, 6th and 18th across his past 5 non FedEx Cup outings is great form for a huge triple digit chance. RESULT: MC

✅ Bet £/€10 Get £/€30 in free bets for new customers using code H30 and this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our William Hill promo code page
✅ Earliest bookmaker to publish odds most weeks on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 9 places each-way 1/5 odds at all 2021 Major Championships

William Hill New Customer Offer: 18+. Play safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:45BST 13.9.21 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.