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Fortinet Championship picks 2022: The (other) Canadian our experts love in Napa

September 13, 2022
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - AUGUST 21: Taylor Pendrith of Canada plays a second shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Wilmington Country Club on August 21, 2022 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If you can believe it, we are officially turning the page to another PGA Tour season. It’s Fall Swing season, SZN, folks.

It kicks off once again with the Fortinet Championship in Napa Valley, and wine country always serves as the perfect spot to ease into the new year. It’s also been a great spot to hit on some juicy outrights, most notably Stewart Cink just two years ago. Max Homa cashed in at 50-1 a year ago, too, though it appears his 50-1 days are over. The now four-time tour winner is the solo favorite to go back to back this week, which is probably something he never envisioned when he was fighting for his PGA Tour card just a few years ago.

Our experts are a little more focused on the top of the board this week, with our attention turning to a red-hot Canadian who will be playing in next week’s Presidents Cup. And no, we’re not talking about Corey Conners.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Fortinet Championship.

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: Our experts' outright predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Maverick McNealy (25-1, PointsBet) — Mav started the season off hot last year here with a runner-up finish, but his season was mostly disappointing. He made the FedEx Cup playoffs, but just barely. Compared to the other elites, Mav has this event circled on his calendar as a Cali kid who knows this could be a spot for that first PGA Tour victory.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Brendan Steele (45-1, DraftKings) — I’ll be a fish and back two-time winner Brendan Steele. Steele was a top-five ball-striker in the world over the two months before the playoffs, and then it all went away at tougher courses against strong fields. Well, that’s no longer an issue. Silverado is a pure ball-striker’s track, and you can even win while losing strokes putting. It makes sense why Steele’s played well here.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Taylor Pendrith (26-1, FanDuel) — Based on his PGA Tour data, he’s a 98th-percentile ball-striker among this field over the past year, and we’ve seen him put up results on the PGA Tour. That includes six top-25 results in the past six months (an 86 percent top-25 rate).

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Taylor Pendrith (26-1, FanDuel) — It’s easy to be high on Pendrith this season, and that sentiment begins right here in Napa. For me, the excitement lies in Pendrith’s advanced metrics. There were only 15 golfers last year who gained at least two strokes to the field in 37 percent of their rounds—the elite of the elite. Those golfers accounted for 27 of the 48 available wins, including all four majors. There were only two golfers in that group who didn’t win at all: Tommy Fleetwood and Taylor Pendrith. There’s no better place for Pendrith to bomb and gouge his way to his first victory than here at Silverado.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Sahith Theegala (28-1, DraftKings) — Sahith is trending toward a win, and he has talked about his strengths being his iron play and wedges—not necessarily his distance. Play positional golf at Silverado, and you’re going to be in good shape. We’ve seen all types of players win here. Sahith also had a top-10 last year at Valspar, which I’m using as a good barometer of success in Napa—proven last year by Max Homa, who had threatened earlier last year in Tampa.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Sahith Theegala (28-1, DraftKings) — My guess is we’re all going to be a week early on the Sahith coronation, but I can’t risk missing out on it should it happen in Napa at this number. Remove the Tour Championship from the equation and he’s been absolutely cooking since late June, finishing the season with four top-16 finishes in his last eight starts. While it feels like he just burst onto the scene, this will actually mark his third start at Fortinet, where he’s made the cut both times and finished 14th in 2020.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Cameron Davis (33-1, Bet365) — Davis comes into this event ranked 14th in the field this week for SG/total over the last two years and fourth for SG/total over the last two months. He also ranks first for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. The Australian’s strong off the tee game means he ranks 10th for SG/total at similar courses and has a 17th to his name here at Silverado when ranked 99th in the world.

Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel caught fire at the end of the summer, correctly predicting the winner in five of the final six events of the season. But now we turn the page to the 2022-’23 season, which begins at the Fortinet Championship. Max Homa, the defending champion, is the solo favorite. Let’s start off the new season with a winner, shall we?

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark horses who could win

Caddie: Brendan Steele (45-1, DraftKings) — Death, taxes and Steeley in Napa … what more can I say?

Mayo: Luke List (90-1, DraftKings) — Silverado is a course that demands good ball-striking, distance is a plus and awful putting can be overcome, so much like my reasoning for Steele, you’d be crazy not to back List. He’s the 12th-highest ranked player in this field, and you can find him with odds over 100-1.

Gdula: Luke List (85-1, FanDuel) — List could very easily put together the best tee-to-green week among anyone in this field. It’s hard to understate how bad the putter is, but it’s not the most crucial stat this week.

Gehman: Taylor Montgomery (50-1, DraftKings) — The Las Vegas native punched his ticket to the PGA Tour with stellar play on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. His final 16 starts on the circuit resulted in 12 top 15s. He didn’t hoist a trophy but he routinely lapped the field in strokes-gained. There were five times in his final nine starts where he gained at least 10 strokes to the field. That’s evidence of a talented, high upside golfer who has his game dialed in.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tom Hoge (50-1, DraftKings) — Where’s the love for our guy Tommy Tables? Hoge made the Tour Championship for the first time in his career and had a good case for a Presidents Cup captain’s pick, sitting 13th, two spots ahead of Kevin Kisner, who did get picked. Maybe that’s extra motivation for Hoge, but regardless, you’re getting a player who has won on a shorter California course earlier this year (Pebble Beach) and has elite wedge and iron play at incredible value in this field.

Powers, Golf Digest: Brandon Wu (130-1, DraftKings) — The Stanford alum was coming on quite strong late summer, finishing T-6 at the Scottish Open and then T-8 at the Wyndham. He also picked up top-three finishes at the Mexico Open and the Puerto Rico Open, which had similarly weak fields to the one he’ll face this week.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Kevin Streelman (100-1, DraftKings) — Streelman has three top-25 finishes at Silverado in his last four visits which includes a third place last time here. His form has been good of late, too, ranking 12th for SG/total over the last two months and it was just four events ago that Streelman posted a second-place finish.

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: Players we're fading

Caddie: Max Homa (10-1, DraftKings) — I’m a huge fan of Max’s, I just don’t think he’s someone who desires 10-1 odds treatment in a 154-man field. Particularly given the form he displayed at the end of the season. Yes, he’s the defending champ … but we’re used to seeing longshots come through here, so I wouldn’t make this bet.

Mayo: Max Homa (10-1, DraftKings) — The defending champ deserves to be the betting favorite, but this is just way too steep of a price, even in a weak field.

Gdula: Maverick McNealy (22-1, FanDuel) — McNealy’s been riding a hot putter, which has masked completely average iron play. He was runner-up here last year, which is also shortening the odds too much.

Gehman: Corey Conners (16-1, DraftKings) — Conners at 16-1 might be rather jarring and it should be—these are the second-shortest win odds on Conners in the last three years, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. It might also be worth noting that Conners hasn’t actually won a golf tournament since April 2019 (Valero Texas Open). While Conners is likely to contend, will he actually win an event that routinely turns into a putting contest? Unlikely. Conners has lost a staggering 9.87 strokes putting in his 10 rounds at Silverado.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Corey Conners (16-1, DraftKings) — Rick’s data on Conners’ putting stats at Silverado have me leaning with his fade here.

Powers, Golf Digest: Max Homa (10-1, DraftKings) — It’s awesome that we’re living in a world where Max Homa is a solo betting favorite. Having said that, I will not be betting him as the solo favorite in said world.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Hideki Matsuyama (16-1, DraftKings) — Matsuyama ranks a mere 70th in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months. He also puts very poorly on Bentgrass greens historically, ranking just 123rd in the field this week for SG/total on Bentgrass over the last two years.

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: Matchups

Caddie: Brendan Steele (-111) over Davis Riley (Bet365) — Not only does Steele have the course history, but his ball-striking numbers are as good as anyone in this field since the summer. Riley, on the other hand, didn’t have a great summer—so give me the form and history with Steeley.

Mayo: Trey Mullinax (-110) over Andrew Putnam (DraftKings) — Putnam has been playing well, but it’s all been short game and putting. Tough to keep that up. Whereas Mullinax’ driving and irons have been FIRE, and doesn’t need as many of his putts to drop this week to inch up the leaderboard.

Gdula: Troy Merritt (+102) over Wyndham Clark (FanDuel) — Clark is hotter right now, but Merritt has the better long-term data. Merritt has also shown he can figure out Silverado, posting a T-16 last year.

Gehman: Sahith Theegala (-110) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — It’s true that McNealy finished runner-up here last year, which is likely driving this number. Over the past 36 rounds for both players, it’s a runaway for Theegala, who is gaining 1.12 strokes per round in that stretch to 0.46 per round for McNealy. Theegala has gained at least two strokes to the field in 47 percent of those rounds, nearly twice the rate of McNealy. Nearly anyway you define it, Theegala is in much better form right now.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Hideki Matsuyama (+108) over Corey Conners (FanDuel) — Hideki is somehow a bigger underdog to Conners than he is to Homa, who’s the favorite in this field. And Hideki had a seventh-place finish here last year, whereas Conners hasn’t played Napa in the past two editions.

Powers, Golf Digest: Taylor Pendrith (+105) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — Could be foolish to go against Mav in Napa but Pendrith has clearly been the better golfer of late and he should be beaming with confidence as a late addition to the International Presidents Cup squad.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Andrew Putnam (-110) over Chez Reavie (Bet365) — As you’ll see below, I really like Putnam this week. Reavie on the other hand struggles putting on Bentgrass greens, ranking just 103rd in the field this week for SG/putting on Bentgrass over the last two months. His form has not been great recently either, ranking just 77th in the field this week for SG/total over the last two months.

Matchup Results from the Tour Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Thomas (+115) over Rahm); Caddie: PUSH (Horschel (+105) over Morikawa); Gdula: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1; Alldrick: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from last season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 28-9-4 (up 17.67 units); Powers: 23-16-4 (up 6.64 units); Caddie: 23-16-4 (up 5.65 units); Alldrick: 22-19-2 (up 0.26 units); Gdula: 20-20-1 (down 1.53 units); Gehman: 18-19-5 (down 2.4 units); Hennessey: 20-22-1 (down 6.2 units)

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: Top 10s

Caddie: Troy Merritt (+700, FanDuel) — This should be a long-iron fest, and Troy Merritt’s approach play can get as hot as anyone else’s irons in this field.

Mayo: J.J. Spaun (+700, DraftKings) — Always a threat in California, Spaun ended the season by gaining over two strokes tee to green in three of his final four events, including Memphis, where he held the 54-hole in a playoff event.

Gdula: Taylor Montgomery (+490, FanDuel) — Montgomery is a good outright pick, too, but a top-10 comes with plenty of value at these odds. Montgomery, statistically speaking, is the best Korn Ferry call-up over the past year.

Gehman: Mark Hubbard (+800, DraftKings) — Hubbard split time between the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour last season, playing well no matter where he teed it up. His calendar year featured nine different top-15 finishes, including two top-five finishes last in the year at the Barbasol and Barracuda. Not only does he have top-10 upside but he’s played well in Napa, earning two top-16 finishes in his past three trips.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Chez Reavie (+550, FanDuel) — We are confident zero people reading this will say, “Wow, Chez Reavie as a top-10 bet? I need to run to place that.” But hear us out. Chez has gained the most strokes to the field—by far—over the past five years at Silverado, which includes a third-place finish two years ago. Even Brendan Steele, everyone’s favorite Napa play, has gained 10 strokes LESS to the field over the past five years (Steele is second in this stat, per FantasyNational.com). This sure as shit ain't a sexy bet, but all we care about is cashing tickets … and that’s what you’ll do with this Chez wager.

Powers, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (+800, DraftKings) — As Rick wrote, Hubbard’s recent history in Napa has been quite good and up until a poor performance at the St. Jude, he’d gained strokes tee-to-green, off-the-tee and on approach in four straight starts. If some putts fall like they did for him at the John Deere (13th) and the Barbasol (third), we’ll be in business.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Andrew Putnam (+750, Bet365) — Putnam has been playing some much better golf of late. He has now recorded four top-27 finishes in a row which includes a fifth-place finish at the St. Jude Championship just two events back. Putnam has finished top 36 the last three times he has played Silverado so clearly gets on well with the course.

Top-10 results from last season: Powers: 13 for 42 (up 34.55 units); Alldrick: 13 for 42 (up 34.5 units); Hennessey: 10 for 42 (up 7.95 units); Gehman: 9 for 42 (up 2.7 units); Mayo: 8 for 42 (down 1.1 units); Caddie: 11 for 42 (down 1.5 units); Gdula: 6 for 41 (down 12.2 units)

Fortinet Championship picks 2022: One and Done

Gehman: Emiliano Grillo —
Something’s brewing with Grillo right now, and the evidence is in his putting. He’s a notoriously poor putter who finished the 2022 season by gaining strokes in five straight events with his flat stick. Those gains helped return two runner-up finishes and a T-19 during that stretch. If he can keep building confidence with his putter, he should be able to make noise in Napa—where he won to kickoff the 2016 season.

Hennessey: Cameron Davis — I am considering FOMO betting Cam Davis, but at the least, I’ll ride him in One and Done. He was so consistent to end last season, and I think his booming distance with elite wedge play can be a recipe for success in Napa.

Powers: Sahith Theegala — My OAD motto this year is actually pick the guy you think is going to win the golf tournament. Crazy concept, I know. Theegala wins this week.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into DP World Tour regulars and low priced, low-owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.