Matsuyama Magic To Shine Through In Napa
The Frys.com Open is one of the newer events on the PGA Tour, established in 2007 and originally forming part of the Fall Series.
In 2013 the Tour moved to a different schedule and this tournament became the opening event of the new-look PGA season. The total prize fund was increased to a healthy $6 million to match the event’s new status and the winner will take home a touch over $1 million.
Formerly hosted by the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin California, last year the tournament moved to the North Course at the Silverado Country Club in Napa. The course is a touch over 7200 yards, so is a reasonable test of driving distance, but it’s a typical parkland layout, with wide, forgiving fairways and fast greens that shouldn’t prove too much of a challenge for the PGA’s finest.
In The Bunker
Rory McIlroy’s summer was interrupted by the ankle ligament injury he picked up before the British Open and he never really got going again. A fourth at the BMW Championship was the best he could manage and he ended the PGA season with a disappointing final round of 74 at the Tour Championship.
Inevitably, he tops the antepost betting market at a short price for a tournament he’s never played before, but I’m not convinced he’s back to his best yet and he makes no appeal this week.
Hideki Matsuyama finished the season in reasonably solid form. He made the top fifteen at the Barclays and the Tour Championship, cracked the top ten at the BMW Championship and had a good Presidents Cup last week, winning two of his four matches.
He should be able to carry that form into a tournament where he finished third at his first attempt last year, and is worth backing at 16/1 this week.
After three consecutive top-ten finishes ahead of the Barclays, Brooks Koepka struggled in the FedEx Cup play-offs, but he showed signs of improvement in the Tour Championship and given the way he has started the last two seasons, he’s worth taking a chance on this week.
He finished third at this event in 2013 and made the top ten again last year, as he hit some strong October form. Back him to recapture that momentum and bag his second PGA Tour win at odds of 18/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist, at significantly longer odds, is Hunter Mahan. Aside from a couple of top tens back in the spring, he’d been having a difficult season, but found some form in the FedEx Cup play-offs, finishing inside the top five at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He played this event for the first time last year and took to the Silverado course, finishing third. He’s worth a look at 40/1.
*Prices correct at time of publication