PGA Tour Picks: Frys.com Open Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/8/2013
The 2013 PGA Tour season wrapped up unofficially last week with yet another American victory in the Presidents Cup, and the shortest offseason in sports history already is complete as well. The Tour's new 2013-14 wraparound season begins this Thursday with the Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif. It's the last time the course will host the event.
This time of year is when the golf's top players usually rested or played silly-season events, while the grinders were competing for a Tour card for the following year in the Fall Series events, which didn't count toward FedEx Cup points. That's all gone now, with the Web.com Tour finals serving as the de facto Fall Series. All four winners of the Web.com Tour Finals events – former Masters winner Trevor Immelman, Andrew Svoboda, Seung-Yul Noh and Chesson Hadley – are among those who earned their 2013-14 PGA Tour cards via the Web.com Tour Finals and will be using them for the first time. Michael Putnam and John Peterson, the Web.com Tour and Finals money winners, respectively, are also teeing it up this week.
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The Frys.com Open is now a full points event, and for the first time the winner also gets a Masters invitation. Tour officials had hoped these changes would draw some of golf biggest names to these new fall events, but that's not the case this week because many of those top Americans played five events in the past seven weeks with the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Presidents Cup. The highest-ranked player in the field is Japan's 21-year-old Hideki Matsuyama. He's one of three players from last week's losing International team playing, along with Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman. None of the Americans are.
The PGA Tour has assured that golf's royalty will play the Frys.com Open in the near future. Last year, Tour members Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar played a cash-grab event in Turkey held the same week as the Frys.com Open. In exchange for a release from the Tour, they agreed to play the Frys.com Open at least once over the next three years. One guy off the radar to perhaps watch this week is Max Homa, who won the NCAA individual title in June for Cal and is making his pro debut. So is Justin Thomas, the 2012 NCAA Player of the Year and a member of the 2013 National Champion Alabama team.
Last year, Sweden's Jonas Blixt won his first Tour event at the Frys.com Open. He shot a final-round 68 to finish at 16-under 268 and beat Tim Petrovic and Jason Kokrak by a shot. Blixt is back to defend. I picked three overall tournament winners in 2013. My goal is to double that on the new schedule. As usual, the best value is usually on the props like Top-10 finish or head-to-head.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Frys.com Open Favorites
Billy Horschel, Gary Woodland and Matsuyama are all 20/1 favorites at Bovada. In my opinion, Horschel is the best player in this field. He had eight Top-10 finishes last season, including a win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He was T29 at the 2012 Frys.com Open.
Woodland, one of the longest drivers on Tour, made it all the way to the Tour Championship as did Horschel (only two guys in field to do so). Woodland won the Reno-Tahoe Open in early August and was a very strong T2 at the Barclays, which featured a stellar field as the playoff opener. Woodland was T9 at this tournament in 2012.
Matsuyama looks like a future star and was 1-3-1 in his first Presidents Cup. He has four wins in Japan and turned pro on the PGA Tour in April. He finished T6 at the British Open and T19 at the PGA Championship.
Jimmy Walker and Blixt round out the Top 5 at 25/1. No player has won this event twice. Blixt did get victory No. 2 in July at the Greenbrier Classic and was fourth at the PGA Championship. Walker did not close the year well, missing six cuts in his final nine events. He was T2 at the Greenbrier behind Blixt. Walker was T4 at the 2012 Frys.com Open, propelled by a final-round 62.
PGA Tour Picks: Frys.com Open Betting Predictions
This tournament has never been won by more than a stroke, so I'd double up on a playoff (+240) and a one-stroke win (+250). I do like Woodland at +165 for a Top-10 as well as Horschel (+165) and Bryce Molder (+300). Molder is worth a look at 50/1 to win. He won this tournament in 2011 and was T11 last year. He's a stellar putter. Head to head I like Peterson (-115) over Bud Cauley (-115) and Rory Sabbatini (-115) over Robert Garrigus (-115).
I was tempted to pick Sabbatini to win as he closed the year pretty well, but I will play a hunch and go with Charles Howell III at 33/1. He didn't close the 2013 season well but started it terrifically. Maybe he can do that again. Howell, looking for his first win since 2007, was T11 here last year.
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