Dan Geraghty picks out three young pros to start the PGA Tour season well...
"It's easy for me to forgive an inexperienced Rodgers his missed cut here last year, he's out early on Thursday, back him to make a fast start."
Thursday promises perfect golfing weather at Silverado CC. I'm going to slightly favour the morning starters - with very minimal wind to contend with and fresh greens to putt on; the breeze is forecast to pick up ever so slightly for the afternoon wave, although they will benefit from warmer conditions. Any advantage should be small, and few should have any cause for complaint with the draw.
Barely two weeks after the final putt at the Tour Championship, the new PGA Tour season begins with the Frys,com Open; while many players will have struggled to adequately rest and prepare for the new campaign, some are raring to go. Despite turning in exceptional performances on both the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour last season, a quirk of the rules meant Patrick Rodgers was unable to tee it up in either tours final series; meaning an enforced seven week break from competition, a break that included four weeks of intense practice. It's easy for me to forgive an inexperienced Rodgers his missed cut here last year, he's out early on Thursday, back him to make a fast start.
Like Rodgers, Ollie Schneiderjans has had an enforced break from competition - although he did tee it up at the Tour Championship, serving as a marker for Hideki Matsuyama when Jim Furyk withdrew. Unlike Rodgers, Schneiderjans doesn't have a tour card, he'll be relying on sponsor's invites and good performances to get into as many events as possible. Late morning looks the perfect tee time here, back the talented American to make a fantastic start in his quest for a tour card.
Finally, Rhein Gibson is an interesting Web.com graduate to keep an eye on. Last year the world record holder started the Web.com season in fine form - his results then drastically tailed off before an inspired final series saw him claim his golden ticket to the PGA Tour. This week is sure to be a birdie fest, and there are few players that can keep up with Gibson when he's in the zone, back him to continue his recent form.
Back Patrick Rodgers @ 66/1
Back Ollie Schneiderjans @ 125/1
Back Rhein Gibson @ 125/1
*1 point E/W on each
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2015 First Round Leader P&L