By Landon Smith

2021 Fortinet Championship Top 5 Favorites PGA Golf Predictions and Tips

2021 Fortinet Championship Top 5 power rankings at Silverado Resort & Spa - North Course
2021 Fortinet Championship PGA Golf
Date Sep 16-19, 2021
Course Silverado Resort & Spa - North Course
Location Napa, California
Purse $ 7,000,000
Field 156
Yardage 7,166
Par 72
TV Golf Channel

 

Power Ranking and Predictions

The 2021-22 PGA Tour season begins at Silverado Resort and Spa for the new Fortinet Championship.

The event was previously known as the Safeway Open and was won by Stewart Cink last season.

Next, we take a look at the 2021 Fortinet Championship odds and make our PGA Tour picks and predictions to win.

The peloton is led by Jon Rahm, who tops the Golfweek / Sagarin standings and just finished second in the 2021 FedEx Cup.

Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na and Will Zalatoris are also among this week's favorites, but the peloton is shrinking rapidly ahead of next week's Ryder Cup.

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Top 5 Favorites

1- JON RAHM (OWGR: 1st, 2020-21 FedEx Cup: 2nd)

Half a decade has passed since Jon Rahm's last trip to Napa. He performed well in his youth on the PGA Tour, finishing 15th (66-71-62-67) in 2016.

He has returned for the reps ahead of next week's Ryder Cup. Interestingly, the other 13 guys are either taking a week off or are already in Wisconsin.

In a vacuum, Rahm is the big favorite of the Fortinet championship. The concern is where his head will be and what kind of strategy he will use at Silverado.

He may be dealing with the different ways of shooting that he anticipates he needs in Whistling Straits, but I don't think any distractions will stop him from fighting.

Rahm tied for the low gross score a few weeks ago at the Tour Championship, where he settled for second in the official net standings due to his four-stroke deficit against Patrick Cantlay to start the tournament. It was the sixth consecutive top 10 for the 26-year-old Rahm, including his victory at the US Open.

The streak would likely be eight if he didn't have to retire due to a positive covid test after leading six strokes over 54 holes at the Memorial Tournament.

Rahm played on the Pac-12 in the state of Arizona and was successful on the West Coast. The former Sun Devil won and was a finalist at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open, won the US Open at Torrey and also won at Palm Springs.

He ranked first on the PGA Tour last season in shots won from tee to green (1,767), second in SG from tee (.834), first in average score (69.3), first in average birdie (4.51) and so on. successively.

2- WEBB SIMPSON (OWGR: 22nd, 2020-21 FedEx Cup: 40th)

Webb Simpson is making his third appearance at Silverado. He missed the cut in 2016, but performed well a year later with the T-17th (69-70-70-72).

As usual, Simpson brings a stable form during the week. He has made the last three cups for him and, counting non-cup events, he has five top-50s and four top-20s in his last five starts.

Simpson has four top-10s in 2021 and would like to end the year with his first win.

The American was one of the few guys who can feel slighted for not having the captain's option. Simpson doesn't seem like the type to let that bother him, but he can still motivate him to want to play well this week.

The 36-year-old shots won in numbers last season on the PGA Tour were solid across the board. His highest water mark was 10th in shots won around the green (0.353), but he was in the top 100 everywhere and in the top 40 from the tee.

Simpson is always precise with the driver (26th in fairways, 67.08%). He's just not a very long hitter, but that can be fixed at Silverado.

Usually it takes around 15 under par or more to win the Fortinet Championship. Simpson was tenth in average (69,901) and eighth in average birdies (4.34).

He recently competed in one of his favorite events, the Wyndham Championship, where he ranked seventh. I see Simpson getting back into the mix this week.

3- HIDEKI MATSUYAMA (OWGR: 17th, 2020-21 FedEx Cup: 26th)

Even before his master title this year, Hideki Matsuyama has reached a stature where he doesn't need to play a lot of fall events if he doesn't want to.

This is evidenced in part by only one Fortinet Championship appearance since 2015. Matsuyama's results in Silverado on his PGA Tour debut indicate that it would be prudent to put him back on the schedule.

The Japanese golf star finished T-3 (70-67-69-70) at the 2014 Frys.com Open. He returned in 2015 for another great performance, T-17 (70-70-69-69).

He placed fourth in the Olympics and second in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational that led to the FedEx Cup playoffs, but appeared to run out of fuel when he finished in the middle of the group in all three playoffs. .

A week off to recharge after East Lake will do you good.

The 29-year-old showed us again last season that he is one of the best forwards in the world. He finished 15th on the PGA Tour in strokes won from tee to green (1,074). Matsuyama combines enough power and precision at the beginning with an iron set that produces consistent results. Even when Matsuyama drops the stick after impact, the ball is probably still within 25 feet.

Matsuyama never won in California. Usually his hesitant putter tries to navigate the poa annua greens. Perhaps Silverado's curvy / poa combo is more conducive to putting.

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4- CAMERON CHAMP (OWGR: 69th, 2020-21 FedEx Cup: 57th)

Stewart Cink is technically the defending champion of the tournament, but so can Cameron Champ. He lifted the Wine Barrel Trophy at Silverado in 2019.

After leading a long FedEx Cup playoff streak, Champ pulled out of the 2020 event. Fittingly, Cink is not in the game. 2021 domain.

Champ is back, however, and with great memories in tow. Champ shot 67-68-67-69 in an emotional one-shot victory. Champ fought to tears on the 18th green as he claimed victory for his grandfather, who was in hospice at the time and died shortly thereafter.

Champ is now a three-time PGA Tour winner with a win at the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship and the 2021 3M Open.

Champ has only played three times since Minnesota, so he should be fresh this week.

He showed decent form on this stretch, finishing T-31 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and placing first in the playoffs, The Northern Trust.

Champ reached the BMW Championship after traveling to East Lake in 2020.

Former Texas A&M Aggie completes his fourth Fortinet Championship. Champ took the T-25th (70-71-72-68) in 2018.

The 26-year-old ranked 10th on the PGA Tour last season in strokes won at the start (0.593). The field is as long as anyone who ranks third in driving distance (317.1).

Although he is not known for his corner play, he finished first on approaches of 50-75 yards (8'1 ").

5- KEVIN NA (OWGR: 25th, 2020-21 FedEx Cup: 3rd)

There are reasons both on paper and psychologically to love Kevin Na this week.

We'll start with his followers in Silverado. Kevin Na's first visit to this course was in 2015 at the Open Frys.com when he lost a round-trip tiebreaker on the second hole due to sudden death to Emiliano Grillo.

Na shot 68-71-64-70 (-15) to punt a group of three players with a tie for third place. It was one of many tough decisions in the seven years between his first PGA Tour win in 2011 and his next in 2018.

The American had 34 top 10s from 2012 to 2018, including one at the 2016 Safeway Open, where he placed seventh solo (71-66-70-66). Na made one of two cuts (T-37th) on two other visits to Silverado since then.

The 37-year-old brings great form to Napa, which has earned him publicity as a possible Ryder Cup captain. Na did not get the nod (the Na-d?), A move that I personally agree with. due to its short and squeaky playstyle it seems incompatible with a bomber paradise like the Whistling Straits.

I give Na credit for matching the low gross score in the Tour Championship on a long course like East Lake and winning third place in the FedEx Cup. It was his sixth consecutive top 25 and his fourth top 10 in a period that includes second place at the Wyndham Championship.

His solid late-summer game propelled him to No. 1 in 2020-21 final shots won around the green stats.

Beating a field that includes Jon Rahm and defending Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama would send a message.

He too would follow in the footsteps of another American who felt slighted, Billy Horschel. Horschel won the BMW Championship last week on the European circuit.

If not Horschel, maybe Na would be an emergency replacement if Brooks Koepka is not in good health or if there are covid refractories. A win this week would provide a ray of hope for Na, who is playing his first Ryder Cup.

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By Landon Smith, on 14 Sep 2021, at 5:54p ET