A fresh PGA Tour season — the final with the fall swing once we know it — began on Thursday in Napa, California, with an extended weather delay and a fairly fascinating first-round leaderboard. The complete field was struggling to finish Round 1 due to some early fog on the West Coast and a small number of golfers will finish off their first 18 holes on Friday morning.
Let’s have a look at a feel-good story near the top of the board following a partially completed Round 1 and several big names who got their new seasons off to an excellent start.
The first choice
1. Justin Lower (-9): Everybody probably remembers his teary press conference after narrowly missing making the very best 125 this past year at the Wyndham Championship. Lower later retained his PGA Tour card when you are bumped up because a few of the players before him in the very best 125 moved to LIV Golf, and he took benefit of it on Thursday at the Fortinet Championship.
Lower’s T8 finish this past year at the Barbasol Championship is the greatest of his career by OWGR points earned, but he’s in an excellent position to raised that and put himself in an excellent spot to obtain well prior to the curve of earning the very best 125 when this season concludes. Lower said after his 63 on Thursday a year of experience on the Tour makes all of the difference on earth.
“I left this program last year sort of in shock, honestly,” Lower said. “I was like, ‘God, if this is one way the Tour is, I have to get yourself a lot better rapidly.’ Yeah, Personally i think much more confident than I did so at this time this past year just being the final card this past year and being where I’m this year, Personally i think much more at ease my game and much more comfortable, for certain.”
2. Max Homa (-7)
T3. Ben An, J.J. Spaun, S.H. Kim (-6)
T6. Greyson Sigg, Nick Taylor, Rickie Fowler, Sahith Theegala, Emiliano Grillo, Scott Harrington, Matti Schmid, Sung Kang, Brice Garnett, Robby Shelton (-5)
This dawned on me this past year as of this very tournament, which Homa won, but he’s got turned himself into perhaps one of the most consistent threats to win on the complete PGA Tour. He shot his third consecutive 65 as of this event (dating back to to this past year when he shot 65-65 on the weekend to win) and found right where he left off on his best year ever on the PGA Tour last season. With the Presidents Cup coming in a few days, Homa’s form is an excellent sign for the U.S. team as well as perhaps a straight better sign for him as he tries to win this tournament for the next straight year (Brendan Steele did exactly the same in 2016 and 2017).
Rickie Fowler has already established a rough couple of years, but he previously an incredible Thursday with a 5-under 67, that is his second-best round because the Wells Fargo Championship in-may. Contention from him this weekend will be incredibly popular and the absolute perfect start for the PGA Tour to a fresh season.
“Like we’ve talked, just looking to get back again to being more consistent,” Fowler said. “I’ve had the right weeks before few years, nonetheless it shouldn’t you need to be a couple weeks in those years, there must be more. That’s sort of the largest thing is merely getting back again to playing some consistent golf, consistently being in contention and having chances to win tournaments.”
2022 Fortinet Championship updated odds and picks
- Max Homa: +350
- Justin Lower: 9-1
- Sahith Theegala: 12-1
- J.J. Spaun: 14-1
- Emiliano Grillo: 14-1
- Hideki Matsuyama: 20-1
I believe Homa gets the best possiblity to win, but I can’t stand his number here. I’d favour Theegala at 12-1 as well as somebody like Adam Svensson — who was simply fifth in strokes gained tee to green on Thursday — at 55-1.