Fortinet Championship Each-Way Tips: Rai and Reavie look best

England's Aaron Rai
Aaron Rai can make a fast start to life on the PGA Tour

After a highly-profitable 2020/21 season, Dave Tindall looks to secure more returns with three each-way selections for the first event of the new campaign, the Fortinet Championship in California...

"Rai's recent exploits include tied 12th in the Irish Open, tied 19th in the Open Championship at Royal St George's, tied 26th in the WGC FedEx St. Jude (67s on days two and four), runner-up at the Boise Open and tied 14th in the BMW PGA Championship."

Main Bet: Aaron Rai each-way @ 101.0100/1

Main Bet: Aaron Rai each-way @ 101.0100/1

Silverado Golf Resort is once again the scene of the PGA Tour's opening event - the newly-titled Fortinet Championship - and it's been a somewhat tricky one for punters down the years.

Previously the Safeway Open, the event this year rather suffers from being being played a week before the Ryder Cup.

To be honest, it's quite a surprise to see any of the 24 players ready to go into battle at Wisconsin a week on Friday taking part.

But there is one, Jon Rahm. Perhaps the Spaniard feels this is the best way to hone his game or maybe he just fancies bagging an easy win given that he keeps somehow finding a way - a pandemic, a quirky format, you name it - to not get over the line.

However, I don't want to take 7/2 to see if Rahm will get just his second PGA Tour win since August 2020.

Others at the front end look a little short too with Webb Simpson 14/1, Hideki Matsuyama 16s and Kevin Na and Will Zalatoris both 20s.

So I'll scroll down way down to 100/1 and try my luck on 100/1 shot Aaron Rai.

Until recently, I'd never have imagined I'd be backing the Englishman in this event but he's part of the field now having won his PGA Tour card.

He almost did so via a win at the Boise Open but double bogeyed the final hole, a mistake which thankfully didn't deny him the ultimate prize.

This is a fairly gentle way to start life with full privileges and, basically, it comes down to feeling that he's being slightly dismissed by being put in at 100/1.

Rai's recent exploits include tied 12th in the Irish Open, tied 19th in the Open Championship at Royal St George's, tied 26th in the WGC FedEx St. Jude (67s on days two and four), runner-up at the Boise Open and tied 14th in the BMW PGA Championship.

He closed 67-68 at Wentworth, ranking 12th for the week in SG: Tee To Green and 8th Off The Tee.

Which brings me to this week. Yes, it's his course debut but past editions suggest strong TTG figures are vital and, within that, high rankings in Off The Tee and Approach.

We don't have Strokes Gained for the Korn Ferry events but in the three recent ones he played, Rai ranked 8th, 14th and 4th for Greens In Regulation.

His Driving Accuracy numbers are usually superb and he's been 1st for that category in three of his last nine events and ranked in the top 10 in four others.

In the last few years, Rai has enjoyed a three-win season on the Challenge Tour in 2017 while posting European Tour victories in Hong Kong and Scotland in two of the last three campaigns.

While it's asking a lot for him to crack America straight away, he's playing well enough to have a big week in a poor field so the three-figure price tempts me in.

Next Best: Chez Reavie each-way @ 51.050/1

A more obvious bet to put up this week is Chez Reavie, a 39-year-old with a bunch of PGA Tour experience and some decent history here at Silverado.

This is Reavie's eighth straight year playing this event and he's yet to miss the cut. In fact, he's not finished worse than tied 33rd since debut.

After top 20s in 2015 and 2017, he looked set to land the each-way cash in 2019 when fifth going into the final round but came unstuck with a closing 75 that spiralled him back to tied 33rd.

However, he made amends last year, this time finding a fast finish and grabbing third place after a pair of weekend 66s.

Reavie shot 29 on his final nine and said later: "I hit a lot of great shots on the front, just made one bogey, couldn't get a putt to drop. Then I made a good par on 9, got a putt to go in and then I just caught fire."

After a dreadful run of form, he's made eight of 10 cuts since the start of June, reeling off four top 25s which include two top 15s.

We last saw him finishing tied 31st at The Northern Trust where he was 1st for Driving Accuracy and was once again in the top 25 for Strokes Gained: Approach - a theme of his improved form.

Second in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2018 and third in the US Open at Pebble in 2019, he's got plenty of good results in California and this looks a good week for his style of player to thrive.

Take Reavie at 50/1.

Final Bet: Cameron Percy each-way @ 201.0200/1

Certain events on the PGA Tour calendar are ringed immediately by those who don't crush the ball off the tee.

One of those is Cameron Percy, who gave his thoughts on Silverado last year.

The Aussie said: "Well, it's not just a smash it as far as you can and gouge it out of there.

"You've got to be on the fairway with some of the pins because the greens are firm enough where if you're in the rough, you've got no shot, which is how it should be, whereas we play so many courses where the bombers hit in the rough, hit their wedge on the green and it stops anyhow.

"Like you've actually got a golf course this week. And the par 3s are brilliant here, some really hard par 3s.

"This is a course that I really like. Everyone can reach the par 5s and it would be nice to be hitting irons into them, but everyone can reach the par 5s.

"Hitting the ball straight counts this week and that's my goal. I hit the ball pretty straight."

That came after a third-round 68 last year which gave him a piece of the 54-hole lead on 16-under.

Frustratingly, he fell away to tied 23rd but the previous year he'd closed with a 67 to finish tied seventh so this is obviously a course where his belief that he can do well turns into actual results.

Before 2019, he'd played it just once before and finished tied 26th so we're entering course horse territory here.

The 200/1 looks very big if judged on that alone so, presumably, he has no current form to go with it.

Not so. Percy didn't finish in the top 125 but he made his last seven cuts of the season and played some tidy golf.

In his final two measured events he ranked 7th and 4th on SG: Approach and his overall Tee To Green numbers haven been impressive too.

This looks a good opportunity for Percy to get in among the leaders and give us a big each-way run at a huge price.

Dave's P/L for 2021/22

Staked: £0
Returned: £0
P/L: +£0

Previous:
2020/2021 P/L: +£1475.87
2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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