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After a two-week hiatus, the PGA Tour returns with the 2023 Fortinet Championship.

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With the Tour moving to a calendar-year schedule in January, the seven FedExCup Fall events are still technically part of the season that “ended” with the Tour Championship a few weeks ago, but you can find more information about that here.

Whether it’s this season or next, the payouts remain the same and we’re looking to cash in on a first-round leader’s ticket on Thursday.

With the mix of Poa-Annua and Bentgrass on putting surfaces this week, morning golfers have an advantage over their afternoon companions.

Consequently, I have focused on a couple of golfers from Thursday morning’s wave.

Fortinet Championship First Round Leader Elections

Kevin Yu +7000 (FanDuel)

First round tee time: 7:06 am PT

The Fortinet Championship is finally here and I’ve been waiting for a month to bet on Kevin Yu.

If you have heard our Links and Blocks Podcast, you know that my co-host Spencer Aguiar and I are very optimistic about Yu’s advantages. We think it should be in the 40-1 range on direct markets, but it’s still available at 75-1.

I’m betting him to finish in the top 10 this week at +700, and I’m also betting him +7000 for FRL.

I’m making my positive plays in the Fortinet Championship with golfers who are strong off the tee and can score on the approach. Yu fits that mold. He ranks third on Tour this season in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and combines that with a well-above-average Driving Distance (27th) and well-above-average driving distance (27th).

Driving precision (41º). In SG: Tee-to-Green, he is seventh on the Tour. He is also strong in Approach (61st) and Around the Greens (54th).
Yu will give himself plenty of opportunities to score this week, and in a relatively weak field, that’s all I can ask for.

However, the PGA Tour rookie has fared poorly on the greens, ranking 178th in SG: Putting. That’s a red flag, but he was positive with the flat club while leading the field at SG: Putting at the John Deere Classic just four starts ago (however, his last three starts have been a nightmare on the greens). .

Short par 4s (none longer than 465 yards) that play straight and without sharp penalties should allow Yu to take advantage of his driver and set up his wedges. There’s also a full set of four par 5s this week, and that’s a big plus for Yu, who ranks 10th in par 5 scoring average.

Yu is also a top 20 player in Par 3 and Par 4 scoring average, so he is strong across the board. He can make birdies in groups on any hole, as he ranks in the top 30 in birdie percentage or better on par 3s, par 4s and par 5s. Overall, Yu ranks sixth on Tour in birdie percentage or better ( 24.74%).

Hopefully Yu cashes in for us this week, but if not, we should have other places where he can thrive during the fall of the FedExCup.

Will Gordon +9000 (FanDuel)

First round tee time: 7:17 am PT

Like Yu, I’m also targeting Will Gordon because he can drop down and take advantage of a potential pump and gouge setup with his length and upside.

Gordon is strong with the driver as he is 23rd in SG: Off-the-Tee. He is also impressive on approach and is ranked 66th on the Tour. He ranks ninth in total driving and is above average in both driving distance (21) and driving accuracy (79).

One of Gordon’s weaknesses is his poor scoring average on par 3s, but three of this week’s four par 3s are between 175 and 200 yards (with the fourth listed at 212 yards), which should be relatively good for Gordon already ranks 37th in Proximity Tour from 175-200 yards.

If Gordon can hold his own on the par 3s and get to the greens in regulation, he should, despite his poor play around the green, be successful.

Gordon’s below-average putting and short game scare me and I’m not betting on him winning outright, but he’s more than capable of going down Thursday morning.

I’m also bullish on him long-term, and I like this spot to buy him cheap after a month out of competition, as he’s had a disappointing 2023 season and had his two worst putting tournaments of the season in his last four starts. . .

Choose: Will Gordon FRL +9000

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