The withdrawal of Tiger Woods is a blow to this week's PGA Tour season-opener but with plenty of exciting Web.com Tour graduates stepping up in class Dan Geraghty is excited about landing a first round leader bet...
"Rodgers comes into this week with valuable course experience, having been sixth in this event last year, he's still vastly underrated by the bookmakers (and everyone else, honest)."
The new PGA Tour season starts today and I absolutely love this time of year, the first PGA Tour event of the season brings with it a host of former Web.com players grasping new tour cards; a handful of them are already some of my new favourite players and many of them are absolutely ready to compete at this level. This week's column is largely an excited Web.com special.
Here's your first round leaderboard from last year's event:
- 63 Brendan Steele
- 64 Jhonattan Vegas
- 65 Harold Varner III
- 65 Martin Laird
- 66 Justin Thomas
- 66 D.H. Lee
The weather forecast is an interesting one, the morning starters look to have no wind but will have it a fair bit cooler with a chance of rain; while the afternoon starters will face winds (around 10mph) but have the prospect of a warm sunny day with no chance of rain. Who gets the advantage, if there is any, will be interpreted in a variety of ways; I'm taking a chance on the afternoon starters.
Before I focus on the Web.com arrivals, let's get the weekly Patrick Rodgers selection out of the way. With his rookie season safely behind him, Rodgers comes into this week with valuable course experience, having been sixth in this event last year, he's still vastly underrated by the bookmakers (and everyone else, honest). Back him at 100/1.
Brandon Hagy is a monster, he really is; he hits it ridiculous lengths, makes endless birdies/eagles and goes on scoring streaks you wouldn't believe. He will make a name for himself at this level, let's hope it's on day one.
Ollie Schniederjans should need no introduction. Another enormous hitter, he's already made a name for himself at our Open and had a stellar amateur career. A close friend of the aforementioned Rodgers, whom he followed onto the Web.com tour where he claimed a victory, before his form, perhaps understandably tailed off when he had one eye on the approaching PGA Tour season.
Max Homa was ready to compete at Monday's Safeway Open qualifier when he got the news that Tiger Woods had withdrawn, freeing up a spot for him in the field. Depite his late arrival into this week's field, Homa has a lot of faith in his ability to compete in Napa - read his thoughts on this week in this fine article by Shane Bacon.
Homa was a standout amateur in College and despite a remarkably inconsistent professional career thus far, has gone on to win twice on the Web.com Tour, meaning he's back for another crack at the big show this season. The talented 25-year-old is exactly the type of player to win at a huge price when we least expect it.
*1pt EW on each