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Fortinet Championship tips

Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2021 Fortinet Championship

Same venue, new name. The California based Fortinet, who develop and sell cybersecurity solutions, have taken over sponsorship of the PGA Tour season opener. The former Safeway Open will now be contested as the Fortinet Championship.

The Fortinet Championship was first staged in 2007 as the Fry’s Electronics Open at Grayhawk’s Raptor Course in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2014 the tournament moved to the North Course at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.

The event was a PGA Tour Fall Series tournament up until 2012. However in October 2013, when the PGA Tour changed its “year” to begin in October, the tournament became the opening event of the PGA Tour season.

Course Overview

The original course at Silverado opened in 1955 and is now known as the North Course. In 1966, it was re-designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the South Course was added.

The North Course has played host to several PGA Tour events including the Kaiser International Open Invitational from 1968 through 1976 and the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic from 1977 through 1980.

Johnny Miller who co-owns Silverado also redesigned it in 2011. In the process he removed bunkers, widened fairways and replaced the kikuyu grass with rye and bluegrass. He created a challenge that caters to the resort player but with greens that can run at tournament speed.

Silverado is a standard-issue Par 72 that can measure 7,203 yards. With a Par 5-4-5 finish the slightest of leads won’t be safe and makes for an exciting finish.

“If you have great golf, you usually do pretty good”

Johnny Miller

Korn Ferry Tour Graduates

One of the more intriguing aspects to this week’s PGA Tour season opener, is how the Korn Ferry Tour graduates adjust to their new surroundings.

The following are the 25 graduates making the transition to the top tier of golf.

1Stephan Jaeger10Lee Hodges18Seth Reeves
2Mito Pereira11Adam Svensson19Cameron Young
3Chad Ramey12David Lipsky20Nick Hardy
4Taylor Moore13Brandon Wu21Curtis Thompson
5Taylor Pendrith14Max McGreevy22David Skinns
6Greyson Sigg15Paul Barjon23Ben Kohles
7Davis Riley16Andrew Novak24Brett Drewitt
8Jared Wolfe17Dylan Wu25Austin Smotherman
9Will Zalatoris

2017 Safeway Open | Brendan Steele

Winning Score -15 (273)

In 2017, Brendan Steele shot a final round -3(69) to finish on -15(273) and win the Safeway Open for a second year in succession. He began the final round two shots off the lead, but five birdies in the first 14 holes helped him to a two stroke victory over Tony Finau.

Brendan Steele
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT6.1651
SGAPR6.3583
SGARG-0.28348
SGP2.24129
SGT2G12.2391

The success of Steele’s title defense can be attributed to his stellar game tee-to-green. He finished 1st in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category, gaining an impressive 12.239 strokes over the four rounds. This accounted for 85% of his overall strokes gained for the tournament. His play from the tee and on approach was a ball-striking masterclass. Other statistics for the week include 1st for Driving Distance, T3 for Driving Accuracy, 4th for GIR and 60th for Putts per GIR.

2018 Safeway Open | Kevin Tway

Winning Score -14 (274)

In 2018, a 30 year old Kevin Tway earned his first PGA Tour victory after defeating Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore in a playoff. The son of former Tour player Bob Tway, carded a final -1(71) for a total -14(274) to edge into the playoff. Kevin and Bob are the 10th father-son duo to record PGA Tour victories.

“It’s been a long road but this is why you work hard. Finally got here and it feels amazing”

Kevin Tway
Kevin Tway
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT2.54919
SGAPR1.93923
SGARG3.9037
SGP3.03818
SGT2G8.3913

Almost three quarters of Kevin Tway’s shots gained came in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. All aspects of his game tee-to-green was on point in particular around-the-green. He finished in the Top 10 in the Strokes Gained Around-The-Green (3.903) stat. Other performance indicators for the week include 14th for Driving Distance, T40 for Driving Accuracy, T18 for GIR and T22 for Putts per GIR.

2019 Safeway Open | Cameron Champ

Winning Score -17 (271)

Cameron Champ emerged victorious in the 2019 edition of the Safeway Open for his second PGA Tour title. It was his second win in 33 starts having previously won the Sanderson’s Farm Championship. He closed with a final round -3 (69) which included a Birdie on the final hole to finish one stroke ahead of Adam Hadwin.

“If I win no more tournaments or 10 more tournaments, this will be the greatest win of my golfing career for sure”

Cameron Champ

It was an emotional win for Champ who dedicated the win to his grandfather who is suffering from cancer.

Cameron Champ
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT6.6961
SGAPR2.79913
SGARG2.02019
SGP2.02528
SGT2G11.5161

Champ’s game tee-to-green laid the foundation for his victory. He topped the pile in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category for the week. Tee-to-green he gained just over 11.5 strokes or 83.51% of his overall gain. In particular he drove the ball long and well finishing 1st in the Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee (6.696). He also finished 4th for Birdies racking up a total of 21. Other stats for the week include T21 for Driving Accuracy, 1st for Driving Distance, T10 for GIR and 38th for Putts per GIR.

2020 Safeway Open | Stewart Cink

Winning Score -21 (267)

Last year, 47 year old Stewart Cink won the Safeway Open for his 7th PGA Tour victory. It was his first win since the British Open Championship in 2009. He finished -21 (267) for the tournament, two strokes clear of his nearest rival Harry Higgs.

Cink paid tribute to the help he received from his son and caddie Reagan in winning the tournament.

“He knows the game in and out like a PGA Tour player himself and he did a great job keeping me positive and keeping me loose out there and we just had a really great time from the get-go.”

Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT2.07531
SGAPR5.1638
SGARG1.97442
SGP4.33016
SGT2G9.2123

Like with previous years, the foundation for Cink’s victory was in his tee-to-green game. He finished 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green which translated to a gain of 9.212 strokes. In particular, his game on approach was sharp finishing the week 8th in Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green. He also finished T5 for Birdies racking up a total of 23. Other stats for the week include T51 for Driving Accuracy, 17th for Driving Distance, 1st for GIR and 76th for Putts per GIR.

Fortinet Championship Winning Formula

The following table details the Average Strokes Gained in each of the key strokes gained categories for the past four champions of the Fortinet Championship.

Last 4 Champions
Strokes Gained Category
Average Strokes GainedAverage Finishing
Position SG Category
SGOTT4.37113
SGAPR4.06512
SGARG1.90429
SGP2.90923
SGT2G10.3402

Graphing the above Average Strokes Gained gives a visual check on the likely key areas required for success at this week’s Fortinet Championship.

Fortinet Championship Tips

Kevin Na golf betting tipsKevin Na 22/1 (E/W) – finished runner up in the 2015 edition of the tournament and followed with a solo 7th a year later. His Current Form is what puts him firmly on this week’s radar. A 3rd place finish in the Tour Championship was preceded by a T17 in the BMW Championship, a T8 in the Northern Trust and a T2 place in the Wyndham Championship. He also bagged a win earlier in the season at the Sony Open. Statistically balanced, he places 7th in this week’s Stats Analysis. With his game and form in a good place he will fancy his chances this week. Rahm aside, he is the standout pick this week.

Harry Higgs golf betting tipsHarry Higgs 80/1 (E/W) – this is his third look at the North Course, with a T23 here in 2019 with a solo 2nd last year. Finished last season strongly with a T15 at the Wyndham Championship, a T16 in the Northern Trust and a very respectable 38th in the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event, the BMW Championship. His overall stats last season belie his close season performance and results. In particular, his play around and on the green was razor sharp and if he can bring this short game to Silverado, it will stand him well. Clearly a course that suits his game and buoyed by recent results make for a good mix. Opportunity knocks for the 29 year old’s maiden victory at juicy each way odds.

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