In the fourth and final round of the Fortinet Championship, our in-play expert Martin Mathews has a couple of bets, one of which is on a shot with odds of 100 to 1.
OKBET Golf betting tips: Fortinet Championship final round
- 2pt win Max Homa to win Fortinet Championship at 23/10 (BetVictor)
- 1pt e.w. Rickie Fowler to win Fortinet Championship at 100/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3)
The new PGA Tour season kicked off with the season-opening Fortinet Championship not long after it seemed like we had hardly had time to catch our breath following Rory McIlroy’s victory in the FedEx Cup for a third time.
In recent years, it is not surprising that the competition, which is played at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California, has become a breeding ground for success for players with connections to the West Coast. However, it is a man from Ohio, the unheralded Justin Lower, who leads the way through 54 holes with a score of 13 under par.
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Lower took the lead after shooting a 9-under 63 on the first day of competition, and he has maintained it ever since. Since then, he has added rounds of 71 and 69, the latter of which was an impressive performance in challenging firm and windy conditions on Saturday.
The 33-year-old golfer’s first full season on the PGA Tour was a difficult one for him overall; however, he found a little bit of something towards the end of the season and made five of his last six cuts, which is better than his overall performance. However, Lower agonizingly three-putted the last hole at the Wyndham Championship to finish 127th on tour and seemingly lose his card. However, he was given a reprieve after another wave of defections to LIV golf at the conclusion of the Fedex Cup season.
Lower is currently leading the competition from the tee to the green as well as around the greens. He is playing this week with the freedom of a man who has been given a second chance. He had a good day on the greens on Thursday, but as the week went on, he struggled more and more with the flatstick. The concern has to be that because this is completely uncharted waters for him today, when it comes down to the crunch, he will most likely fall short. This is especially true considering that he has not been successful in converting previous opportunities on the Korn Ferry Tour.
If it is not to be Lower’s day, then the two players who sit just behind him on 12-under par, Max Homa and Danny Willett, are perfectly positioned to pounce, and the defending champion Homa is the one I just can’t get away from. Danny Willett is also in the mix.
Homa, who landed the spoils around this time last year, attended college just down the road from this week’s venue at Cal-Berkeley, and when you add in his success at the Riviera, he has shown how comfortable he is in his home state of California.
Homa’s victory at Avenel in the Wells Fargo earlier this summer showed us that he can handle these types of conditions, and while it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for him since he hit the front on Friday, it was primarily a balky putter that held him back on Saturday with his long game remaining solid. Tee times were brought forward due to the expected rain and wind.
In recent years, we have seen one champion win here in back-to-back years, and that champion was Brendan Steele. Homa makes plenty of appeal to be another champion here.
It is important to remember that the mercurial Willett is another player who, like Lower, was able to get his PGA Tour card reinstated thanks to LIV players who left the tour. He should not be written off.
However, in contrast to Homa, the Englishman’s score has been primarily built around a strong putting day on Friday, and even at shorter odds, Homa is preferred because he found only four fairways on Saturday. The Englishman is always most at home on a par-72 track, and he knows how to win and win big.
Byeong Hun An, who graduated from Cal-Berkeley and has regained his card for this season, sits at 11 under par and starts two shots behind the leader. An only found two fairways on Saturday, and he also made a double bogey seven on the 16th hole. When you add this to his well-known difficulties with putting under pressure, he is not someone I am eager to trust at shortish odds on a Sunday. I would rather bet on someone else.
Moving further down the leaderboard in what is, to tell you the truth, an extremely difficult competition to call, there are a wide variety of potential contenders. On 10-under, we have a pair of rookies in Davis Thompson and Paul Haley II, along with Adam Svensson and the seasoned veteran Matt Kuchar.
Although Thompson is undeniably the “real deal” and has the potential to match Saturday’s score of 65, he is still very much a “rough diamond” who is unpredictable, and of the four players in this group, the most enticing option is Kuchar due to his consistent play. Although Kuch has had a long career, he has never won on the PGA Tour in the state of California. Even though there is always a chance for a first time, it is possible that Kuch will have a better chance at some of the other fall tournaments that are held on the East Coast.
On 9 under, we have the talented Sahith Theegala, who has a good chance of making a run; however, a further shot back and at approximately four times the odds, in a competition that has seen a lot of come from behind victories over the years, I will risk RICKIE FOWLER as my second selection.
This week, a lot of articles have been written about how Californian Fowler has started the new season with sweeping changes, including a new caddie on the bag and a return to Butch Harmon, and while it’s possible that it’s just a false dawn, there have been some immediate positive signs that point in the right direction.
Fowler will get to head out some 30 minutes or more before the final three-ball, and as a player who is known for performing well in wet conditions, he could just post a number. Fowler will start today on 8-under and five back, and he will get to head out some 30 minutes or more before the final three-ball.
If you can keep the ball on the fairway today, which is something that the 33-year-old has been doing well so far this week, ranking 14th in accuracy, there may be an opportunity for some lower scores; however, those who are more wayward will have to contend with rough that is wetter.
With a leader who could very well struggle, three each-way places up for grabs, and tempting odds in the three-figure range, I’m going to wrap this whole thing up by placing a bet on Fowler to get our season off to a strong start.