Wyndham Championship: Three to play in the First Round Leader market

American Johnson Wagner
Johnson Wagner can go low in R1

Dave Tindall looks for early success in the Wyndham Championship with these three picks...

"At this course, his last four first rounds read 67, 66, 68, 66 - those two 66s putting him T8 and T9 after Thursday's play - while he's posted a 64 and two 65s in the last two years here when finishing T24 and T5."

Back Johnson Wagner each-way @ 90/1

Each-way terms: 1/4 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Greensboro, North Carolina: The early starters will experience temps in the early 70s and almost hardly any wind. For the afternoon wave, the mercury rises to around 90 with winds still modest. There's no obvious advantage.

First-round leader history: As I found out with FRL tip Kyle Stanley at Firestone, don't start counting your winnings if a player opens with 63. Ian Poulter came in with a 62 to thwart Stanley and 63 may not be enough here either. Matt Every opened with 61 last year, as did Arjun Atwal in 2010. Three players carded 62s in 2015, as did Carl Pettersson in 2012. In terms of splits, the low round has gone to a morning starter for the last two years while two of the three co-leaders in 2015 also came from the early wave. Wind back further and it's more of a balance.

Wagner can burst out of traps

Although I wasn't compelled to tip any of the 'bubble boys' on the outright market, I think the desire to break into the top 125 could help fuel a fast start from a few of them.

The one I like is Johnson Wagner, who sits at 136th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The American has been in consistent form for a while, finishing between 16th and 31st in his last four starts and, crucially, throwing in some low rounds too.

That includes an opening 64 which put him tied third after round one of the John Deere and a second-round 65 which elevated him from T24 to T4 at the halfway mark of the Canadian Open.

Rewind a little further and Wagner was second after 18 holes of the nearby Wells Fargo where he finished T13.

At this course, his last four first rounds read 67, 66, 68, 66 - those two 66s putting him T8 and T9 after Thursday's play - while he's posted a 64 and two 65s in the last two years here when finishing T24 and T5.

Wagner can go low at this Donald Ross track and he looks well worth a punt at 90/1 to lead the way.

Romero could be worth the risk

Andres Romero needs an even bigger week to reach the top 125 but at least he's given himself a squeak in recent weeks with T7 at the John Deere Classic and T21 at the Barbasol.

He caught the eye early, launching himself into contention with a 64 at the John Deere and a 65 at the Barbasol.

That put him in the top three after round one in both events.

Rewind further and there are other examples of fast starts and his R1 scoring average is lower than rounds two, three and four so he does his best work early.

That pattern hasn't quite been the same here but by posting a 64 on day three in 2014 and firing a Saturday 65 on debut he showed that he can rack up the birdies at Sedgefield.

These low openers can become a habit so I'm hoping Romero can appear on the R1 leaderboard again.

Win with Kim

I looked at Abraham Ancer and Billy Horschel for the final spot on my team but will side with Meen-Whee Kim.

Kim was runner-up at the Canadian Open two starts ago while he also generated headlines after firing a 62 in round one at the Greenbrier.

Back at the start of this wraparound season he was the first-round leader at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open while a 68 on day one of the Valspar put him in second place.

Although he flopped at the PGA, Kim's end-of-round-one positions in his previous four starts were 10-79-7-2 so he's definitely one who finds an early rhythm.

His course form will put some off as he's missed all three cuts but I prefer to focus on his current play and the evidence suggests he can give us a run for our money at 70/1.

In terms of tee-times, Wagner heads out at 07:10, Romero at 07:00 and Kim at 08:10 so we'll know our fate early!

Dave's 2017/18 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £600
Returned: £593.31
P/L: -£6.69

(After the PGA Championship)

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