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Golfbet Insider: Looking Back at Fortinet Championship and Quick Look Forward to Ryder Cup

The 44th Ryder Cup is all the rage this week, so PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf is in on the back nine of a dark fortnight. It will resume with next week’s Sanderson Farms Championship, which is the first of six tournaments across seven weeks before the annual holiday hiatus.

So, before you allow the goings-on at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club to wash over, and because this is the first Golfbet Insider since the conclusion of the Fortinet Championship, I wanted to take the break to review how well you did. Because you did well, indeed.

Kalia led the world at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course, and did so with only one roster change. With Sahith Theegala (winner), S.H. Kim (second), Cam Davis (third) and Justin Thomas (fifth) starting in the final round, Kalia totaled 515 points. That was seven more than a trio of runners-up. Kalia’s only in-tournament move was to replace Max Homa with JT after the cut (even though Homa went on to finish T7 as the two-time defending champion).

We’re now in the second season of the format in which pars are worth one fantasy point, so we now can compare tournaments fairly to the 2021-22 season. For example, the winner of the 2022 Fortinet scored 442 points, or 73 fewer than Kalia’s impressive haul to open 2022-23.

The last time a fantasy winner amassed that many in a non-FedExCup Playoffs event (in which FedExCup bonus points are quadrupled) was the Rocket Mortgage Classic over the summer. That’s because Rickie Fowler prevailed as the most-owned golfer in the field. He was rostered by 81 percent of the active gamers. Collin Morikawa (38%) finished third to boost totals, but Detroit Golf Club averaged 69.919, or 2.081 strokes below its par of 72, so fantasy scoring should have been higher because there were more par breakers, anyway…

Silverado also is a par 72. It averaged 71.518 in 2022 but just 71.157 two weeks ago, so an even better comp to the 2023 edition of the Fortinet is the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship because its field averaged an almost identical 71.153. Yet, the top team totaled only 449 points.

The massive difference in totals among leaders in that apples-to-apples breakdown is due to the chalk. When it plays well, the majority of fantasy gamers scores well. Of the top-four finishers at Silverado to open this season, Theegala (71%), Davis (54%) and Eric Cole (32%) all were inside the top-five most-owned. Homa (84%) and JT (59%) filled in the gaps en route to their strong performances. So, if you play the chalk, the tournament resulted in a relative push. You got way off the ground, but so did scads of others. It’s still better than the alternative.

At The Country Club of Jackson a year ago, champion MacKenzie Hughes was rostered by only four percent of active gamers. Runner-up Sepp Straka was the most popular among the contenders at 10 percent, while third- and fourth-place finishers Garrick Higgo and Dean Burmester each netted just one percent apiece.

The moral of the matter is that chalk forever is your friend in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf because the worst-case scenario is a push against the majority. It’s been a narrative in boldface since the game was introduced many years ago. Sure, getting cute with investments further down the board is fun, but typically only when they hit, and that’s not often enough. That strategy is unsustainable for success.

Making cuts (avoiding zeroes) and chasing FedExCup bonus points is the formula for building a firm foundation in the long-term, but even then, there are moments when the smarter play is to save a valuable start on a stud for later in the Segment. Rationing isn’t a concern in the fall, but it’ll rise as a factor a few stops into 2024. The ultimate goal is to be positioned well entering Segment 4 during which roster management is the priority to generate flexibility in mapping out potential starts for the Playoffs during which each victory yields 200 FedExCup bonus points.

With the broad strokes of how to thrive now pinned, I’ll take advantage of the board at BetMGM to share my favorite bets and props for the Ryder Cup. It begins on Friday in Rome.


NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.

Correct Score: Europe (+1000 = 14½-13½)
Winning Margin: Europe (+350 = 1-3 points)
Top European Points Scorer: Tommy Fleetwood (+600)
Top Rookie – Overall: Brian Harman (+950)
Top Captain’s Pick – Overall: Jordan Spieth (+800)

Odds were sourced on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 4 a.m. ET. For live odds, visit BetMGM.

RECAP: Fortinet Championship

Power Ranking / Golfer = Result

1. Max Homa = T7
2. Sahith Theegala = Win
3. Cam Davis = 3rd
4. Andrew Putnam = MC
5. Brendon Todd = 6th
6. Mark Hubbard = T17
7. Stephan Jaeger = T45
8. Beau Hossler = T30
9. Eric Cole = 4th
10. J.J. Spaun = T11
11. Nate Lashley = T30
12. Justin Suh = T30
13. Alex Noren = MC
14. Kevin Streelman = T56
15. Zac Blair = T52

* For the recommendations below, an asterisk represents a bet that won.

Golfer (recommended bet) = Result

*Doug Ghim (+100 = Top 40) = T17
C.T. Pan (+140 = Top 40) = MC
*Sam Ryder (+120 = Top 20) = T14
Hayden Springer (+275 = Top 40) = MC
*Davis Thompson (-135 = Top 40) = T30

Golfer (recommended bet) = Result

*Wild card: Justin Thomas (+175 = Top 10) = 5th
*Also starring: Matt Kuchar (+240 = Top 20) = T7
Also starring: Webb Simpson (-135 = Top 40) = MC
*Also starring: Taylor Montgomery (+150 = Miss the Cut) = MC
Tap-in: Aaron Baddeley (+160 = Top 40) = MC
*Tap-in: Cam Davis (+138 = Top Australian) = 3rd
Tap-in: Brice Garnett (+250 = Top 40) = T52
*Tap-in: Kelly Kraft (+333 = Top 40) = T25
Tap-in: Chez Reavie (+100 = Top 40) = T66
*Tap-in: Carson Young (+160 = Top 40) = T19
Tap-in: Kevin Yu (+125 = Top 40) = MC

Source : PGA Tour