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Course Spotlight: Scorecard changes at Silverado favor a secret skill

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Course Spotlight: Scorecard changes at Silverado favor a secret skill

    Written by Keith Stewart @KJStewartpga

    Why did they change the scorecard at Silverado’s North Course?

    For nine years, the Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course has been the host venue for the Fortinet Championship. Nestled in Napa, the resort will welcome 156 players for the start of the FedExCup Fall, a series of seven events designed to fill out the top 125 players who qualify for the 2024 PGA TOUR season.

    The North Course is a par 72 layout measuring 7,123 yards. As the players descend upon wine country, they are going to get a little confused. For the 10th edition at Silverado, the scorecard has been changed. Ten holes have been renumbered and the result favors a skill most handicappers might not be factoring in when they make their predictions.

    The new routing will play holes one through seven in order. Holes eight and nine are replaced by 12 and 13 to finish the front nine. The back nine continues with holes, 14, 15, 16, and 17. From there, the players jump over to number eight and play to hole 11. The final hole remains the traditional 18th hole. Here’s a quick summary:

    · Front nine: 1-7, 12-13

    · Back nine: 14-17, 8-11, 18

    Significant changes to the scorecard always catch my attention. The average winning score over the nine years is 17-under par. Why re-route the course now? How will this affect scoring, or better yet, the final stretch on Sunday? The North Course is a tree-lined landscape with tight fairways. Accurate wedge play has been the priority to play well. Flat greens, below average in size, provide little difficulty with the flatstick.

    Upon closer inspection, the difference appeared like an image in one of those hidden art wall posters. The final seven holes will play completely different than before! Prior to 2023, there were two par 5s, one par 3, and four par 4s averaging 409 yards in length. Now there are THREE par 5s, the signature par 3 over water, and three par 4s averaging 386 yards. Sunday’s Fortinet finish will not be for the faint of heart.

    By making this change, my focus immediately turned to wedge play inside 100 yards. No surprise the two-time defending champion Max Homa (+750 BetMGM) is the best approach player from close range in the field. We haven’t had a player three-peat on TOUR since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic in 2011. Short par 4s and three reachable par 5s require great scrambling and short game skills to score. Most perceive around-the-green acumen as a method just for saving par. In this new closing stretch it will be needed to score!

    If we look closer at scrambling, Andrew Putnam (+3500 BetMGM) catches my eye. The Washington native was a three-time All-American at Pepperdine. He has excelled at West Coast golf and made nine cuts in a row. Putnam is also just one of six players who played at the BMW Championship. If you expand the scrambling skills to include putting, Putnam’s name is still located near the top.

    One other player to watch is Dylan Wu (+6600 BetMGM). With a good all-around short game, his scoring potential is strong at Silverado. Wu played well at the Rocket Mortgage and Ross’s Detroit Golf Club would be a great comparison course for the Fortinet. Wu is also an aggressive player off the tee, which will only feed the scoring more on the back nine with his wedge play.

    It's time to savor the September PGA TOUR golf. We won’t see a full field event again until October. Even though Sundays are saturated with football, the Fortinet will be late with a West Coast start. I promise it will be an electric finish with the new scorecard.

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    Keith Stewart is a five-time award winning PGA Professional who covers the PGA TOUR and LPGA from a betting perspective. Founder of Read The Line, he is also published by Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News. Follow Keith Stewart on Twitter.

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