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D&F: Lucas Herbert sets the pace in Napa, but plenty of value remains with the chase pack

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Draws and Fades

D&F: Lucas Herbert sets the pace in Napa, but plenty of value remains with the chase pack

    Written by Will Gray @GolfBet

    The FedExCup Fall is off and running, with plenty of red numbers on the board at the Fortinet Championship.

    Silverado Resort & Spa is the sort of place where mid-60s is within reach when your game is firing on all cylinders. Lucas Herbert demonstrated that Thursday afternoon, spinning up a 9-under 63 that featured six birdies in a row on the back nine and gave him a two-shot lead. A former winner on the PGA TOUR, the Aussie is the new +350 betting favorite at BetMGM Sportsbook after starting the tournament at +4000.

    Herbert leads by two over S.H. Kim and three over a group of six others, but there are plenty of names close to him on the updated odds board. They include some of the pre-tournament favorites like Sahith Theegala (-4) and Cam Davis (-4) with Ryder Cuppers Justin Thomas and Max Homa one and two shots further off the pace, respectively.

    Updated odds to win Fortinet Championship (via BetMGM)

    +350: Lucas Herbert

    +1100: Mark Hubbard

    +1200: Sahith Theegala, S.H. Kim

    +1400: Cam Davis, Max Homa

    +2000: Eric Cole

    +2200: Kevin Streelman, Justin Thomas, Zac Blair

    +2800: Harry Hall

    +3500: Sam Ryder, Justin Lower

    So one round into the autumnal stretch on the TOUR calendar, it’s time to reassess where things stand in wine country. Here’s a look at the players where I perceive some value – as well as two recognizable names whose prices might be a little too short.


    Harry Hall (+2800)

    If you can play well at Colonial, you can play well at Silverado. Granted, if you can play well at Colonial, you can play well at most places.

    Hall went lights-out earlier this season in Fort Worth, and he’s again near the top of the board after a 6-under 66 that featured seven birdies. The Englishman was second in SG: Approach on Thursday, fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green and generally one of the better ball-strikers around in wine country. Hall has been off the map since his T3 finish at Colonial, missing four of seven cuts and failing to notch any result better than T34. But that could change on a track that better accentuates some of his strengths, and this price seems a tad high given his strong (early) position on the leaderboard.

    Carson Young (+17500)

    Taking a flier here on a player who can go low at a moment’s notice. Young is only a couple years removed from the mini-tour scene, and he opened with a 2-under 69 that put him well off the pace. But Young’s stat line showed some promising signs: 21st in SG: Off-the-Tee and an even better 10th in SG: Approach. The ball-striking was there, and he was 15th in SG: Tee-to-Green. The name recognition isn’t very high for Young, and his price reflects it. But while a win would come as a surprise, I think another round or two of ball-striking like he offered Thursday will ensure that his price is far shorter by the time the weekend rolls around.


    Sahith Theegala (+1200)

    It was an impressive back nine from Theegala, who shot a 5-under 32 on the reconstructed inward half that featured four birdies in a row on Nos. 11-14. But while he was among the pre-tournament favorites, there are some warning signs on the stat sheet – in addition to the five-shot deficit he’s currently facing.

    Theegala really got the most of his round, given that he lost shots to the field both off the tee (95th) and on approach (91st). He made up for it on the greens, finishing ninth in SG: Putting for the day, but I would prefer the inverse setup from players I’m looking to back mid-tournament. Theegala has plenty of promise but is also overdue for win No. 1, given his caliber of play and the range in which he is priced pre-tournament. It’s a similar situation now, as he’s the joint second favorite in the outright market but coming off a day where he was 50th in SG: Tee-to-Green.

    Justin Thomas (+2200)

    The opening round in Napa offered some promise. Thomas is looking to gear his game up for the upcoming Ryder Cup, and find his footing in the fall after failing to make the FedExCup Playoffs last month. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but a 3-under 69 made Thomas’ Roman prospects seem at least a little more promising. Still, within the confines of this week’s event, the price is just too short. Thomas was still plenty wayward off the tee, ranking 101st in SG: Off-the-Tee, and I’m not convinced that he can keep up the birdie rates that will be needed to move up the standings by Sunday. This week could still offer plenty of positives for Thomas as he looks to find his game, but I need to see more before I’m looking to invest in an outright price this short.

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