With a blank week on the DP World Tour and a stellar field assembled at Riviera, I’ve taken a deeper look at the First Round Leader market for this week’s event.
Using our historical FRL stats for this event, we can now investigate the tee times, incoming FRL form, event FRL history and odds of the field from the last 4 years:
We’ve added the eventual day 1 finishing positions to each of the stats sheets above and all columns can be sorted, so if you sort by the ‘Result’ column on the end you can review the data for those players who performed best.
Looking at the FRL winners and those who placed from an each-way perspective, my summary of the key factors is as follows:
Tee Times. Of the eventual FRL winners and those in the top 5 and ties after day 1, the split between AM and PM starters is almost identical:
- AM starters: 16 players
- PM starters: 14 players
Event Experience. Each of the eventual FRL winners, including the share for the lead in 2018, had experience of the course in the past:
- 2021: Sam Burns, 2 starts
- 2020: Matt Kuchar, 13 starts
- 2019: JB Holmes, 12 starts
- 2018: Patrick Cantlay 2 starts; Tony Finau 3 starts
Event FRL Performance. There’s evidence of repeat FRL performances here at Riviera:
- Matt Kuchar (2020) and JB Holmes (2019) finished as FRL here at Riviera for the 2nd time in their respective careers those years.
- Patrick Cantlay (2021), Tony Finau (2019) and Sam Saunders (2018) each finished in the places, having previously been FRL here.
FRL Winners’ Odds. Each of the eventual FRL winners, including the share for the lead in 2018, were priced in the 50/1 to 100/1 bracket:
- 2018: Patrick Cantlay, 55/1; Tony Finau 55/1
- 2019: JB Holmes, 100/1
- 2020: Matt Kuchar, 50/1
- 2021: Sam Burns, 66/1
Recent FRL form. There’s evidence of recent fast starts from a number of the eventual FRL winners and those in the top 5 and ties after day 1:
- 11 of the 30 players had a FRL win (or tie) in their recent history, as detailed on the stats pages.
- 27 of the 30 players had finished inside the top-15 after day 1 in one of their last 6 starts.
Some trends to follow there and if you combine that with the firm and challenging conditions expected underfoot this week as Steve Bamford describes in his full betting preview, this should help lead us to the right kind of players.
History would suggest that there’s no major bias from AM to PM tee times, and there’s little wind in the forecast to counter this with maybe just a touch more later on in the afternoon to accompany the higher temperatures. Poa annua can get a little bumpy to putt on in the afternoons though, and to that end I’ll stack my team 2:1 in preference of the morning wave.
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