PGA Tour Picks: Frys.com Open Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/7/2014
Before I begin looking at the first tournament of the PGA Tour's 2014-15 wraparound season -- talk about a short offseason -- let's as usual look back at my results last week where I examined the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
I will cut to the chase immediately: I am still winless in 2014, but still had a pretty solid week all around when including all the props. Much like the PGA Tour had many unlikely winners in 2013-14, so did the Euro Tour last week in Scotland as Oliver Wilson got his first victory on that Tour. He had finished runner-up a crazy nine times previously but lost his card as recently as the end of 2012 and is currently a Challenge Tour member (won't be any longer) playing on a sponsor's exemption.
Wilson led entering the final round by three and shot a closing 70 at the Old Course at St. Andrews to finish at 17-under, one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Richie Ramsey. Fleetwood, playing with Wilson, could have forced a playoff but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 Sunday.
My pick last week came down to either Fleetwood (28/1) or Shane Lowry (22/1), and I went with the Irishman. He finished T6, which paid off at +185 for a Top 10. Also hit at +200 on Fleetwood for one. Brooks Koepka was the top American at T9, and I had Ryan Palmer, who was two shots back in 14th. Head-to-head, I hit on Lowry at -115 over Joost Luiten and Fleetwood at -115 over Paul Casey.
So this week the new season begins in the States with the Frys.com Open at Silverado Resort and Spa's North Course in Napa, Calif. It's not just the first time that the Frys.com Open is played here but the first time at Silverado, which is co-owned by Hall of Famer Johnny Miller, has hosted a Tour event since 1980. It's a par 72 measuring 7,203 yards.
A total of 12 tournament winners from last season are scheduled to play, but there was one late withdrawal: Patrick Reed, who won three times. Four players from the Ryder Cup are playing: Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker from the USA and Lee Westwood from Europe. And it's also the first tournament for all those Web.com Tour graduates. Koepka flew over from Scotland to play.
Walker is the defending champion, taking the lead for good on Sunday with a birdie on the 15th at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif. It was Walker's first Tour win in his 188th event, and he would go on to win two more times in his breakout season. He led the FedEx Cup points race a huge chunk of the year. Koepka had a four-shot lead with four to play but then fell apart. He finished T3. Vijay Singh was second to Walker. Singh is playing this week as well. Don't expect to see all the big names compete in a PGA Tour event until the WGC-HSBC Champions starting Nov. 6 in China (although Tiger Woods probably won't be playing yet). Matt Kuchar is the only Top-10 player teeing it up at Silverado.
I quickly want to touch on Bovada's prop on the leading money winner on Tour this year. Predictably it's McIlroy at 9/4, followed by Tiger at 9/1, Rickie Fowler (14/1), Adam Scott (16/1) and Bubba Watson (16/1). I like Fowler on that. He will play more tournaments than the other guys and is so overdue for a victory or three.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Frys.com Open Favorites
Kuchar is the 14/1 favorite this week . He has never played this tournament but has finished in the Top 10 in his past two season debut starts. Mahan and Walker are 16/1. Mahan had one victory and six Top 10s last season. That victory came in the playoff opener but then he struggled in the next three events. Walker was so-so in the playoffs, concluding with a T17 at the Tour Championship.
Brandt Snedeker, Graham DeLaet and Hideki Matsuyama (all 25/1) round out the favorites. The Canadian DeLaet is very overdue for his first career win. Snedeker struggled in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Matsuyama was T3 in this event last year, but again that was at a different course.
PGA Tour Picks: Frys.com Open Predictions
Always tough to project at a new course. As of now, there are no Top-10 props at Bovada, but there are Top-5 options for every player in the field. I'd give it a shot with Walker, Kuchar (both 11/4) and Koepka (9/2). Koepka hasn't been worse than T11 in his past three starts, all in Europe. Head-to-head, take Snedeker (-105) over Matsuyama (-125), Kevin Chappell (-125) over Charles Howell III (-105), DeLaet (-130) over Westwood (even money) and Marc Leishman (-125) over Ben Crane (-105).
My choice to win is Snedeker. He's going to be motivated to have a big season (and start to it) after losing out on being a Ryder Cup captain's pick when he missed back-to-back cuts to open the playoffs (at least we know he's rested) and didn't advance. Plus, Snedeker had that great video go viral this week where he knocked down a skeet with a shot from his 4-iron (Google it). Amazing. That's good karma! Snedeker is 11/2 for a Top-5 finish.
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