Golf Bets

The Memorial Tournament 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 40/1 to 80/1

American golfer Tony Finau
Tony Finau can start fast again

The PGA Tour heads to Ohio and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Muirfield Village...

  • 40/141.00 Tony Finau has been starting fast and is a former R1 leader here

  • 80/181.00 Davis Riley is on a high and has twice set the Memorial pace

  • 50/151.00 Shane Lowry shot 62 at Valhalla and can go low again


Weather forecast for Thursday

It's a pleasant day in Dublin, Ohio with lots of sunshine and temperatures climbing from the mid-late 60s to the high 70s as the golfing day goes on.

Winds pick up slightly throughout the day but most will play the majority of their rounds in something around 12-15mph so there's not big bias although, with trousers flapping a bit, I've gone for three players who can handle blowy conditions.

Tee times run from 07.40 to 14.00. They're in two-balls apart from Davis Thompson who heads out alone first thing.


Tony Finau @ 40/141.00

Course form repeats at Muirfield Village but so does first-round leader form as no less than four players have twice held the 18-hole lead here in recent times.

Davis Riley has had a piece of the R1 Memorial lead in both of the last two years while Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa have all twice been top of the leaderboard after round one at Muirfield Village.

In that respect it's a little reminiscent of Augusta where Justin Rose has been FRL on four occasions, Jordan Spieth three (in the space of four years!) and Bryson DeChambeau twice (this year and 2019).

With that in mind, I'll play Tony Finau at 40/141.00.

Finau shared the day one lead here in 2020 with Morikawa after both shot 66s.

He went on to finish eighth, a finish he's achieved twice along with 11th and 13th, so Finau clearly likes Muirfield Village.

The second element to the Finau bet is recent fast starts: he opened with 65 in the US PGA and 66 at Colonial.

That put him tied second after the opening lap in both and we landed some each-way FRL cash on the latter.

Let's hope he can go one better here from his 11.45 tee-time.


Davis Riley @ 80/181.00

Having taken this angle, I can't not have a punt on Davis Riley at 80s.

Riley, as mentioned, has twice topped the R1 leaderboard thanks to opening 67s.

The first was only good enough for a six-way tie but last year's 5-under loop gave him the solo lead. More of that please.

Of course, Riley will be absolutely on cloud nine right now having just secured his first individual PGA Tour victory.

He held off none other than Scottie Scheffler to win that shootout at the Charles Schwab Challenge and, having had time to process it after sitting out the Canadian Open, he should be raring to again here.

But starting fast is not just some party piece he reserves for Muirfield Village.

Riley has finished in the top three after 18 holes in three of his last five solo starts and was second after round one in two of the last three (CJ Cup Byron Nelson and Colonial).

He'll head off in the penultimate group at 13.50.


Shane Lowry @ 50/151.00

Shane Lowry can really get on a roll and showed it in the US PGA last month when firing a brilliant Saturday 62, matching the lowest ever round shot in a major.

The 2019 Open winner finished sixth at Valhalla (on another Jack Nicklaus course) and closed with a trio of 68s in Canada last week.

As for quick starts, he was the joint first-round leader with Rory McIlroy which paved the way for their victory in April's Zurich Classic pairs event, while in March Lowry's 66 gave him FRL honours in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Hopefully he can can complete the legends first-round leader double by doing the same at Jack's place.

Lowry has shot in the 60s in four of his last five starters here, a 69 on Thursday 12 months ago good enough for tied third on the leaderboard.

He's a morning starter at 08.55.


Now read Dave's each-way Memorial Tournament preview here


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