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GolfWRXer gets fit for 913’s at TPI



Buying new golf gear is fun, but buying a new driver is like buying a new car. Golfers look forward to seeing which ones look good to their eye and test-driving them. Then they find out which ones perform the best and tune them to their personal preferences.

This year’s crop of drivers, with their great looks and updated technology, make the decision of which new driver to purchase even tougher than in years past.

I’ve played the Titleist 910D3 (8.5 degrees) since it was released in 2010. I figured 2013 would be a good time to re-evaluate my long-game equipment and possibly upgrade. The driver spot in my bag has been a back-and-forth battle between my Titleist gamer with a UST VTS Black shaft and my TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0 with a Fujikura Speeder 6.2 shaft.

I have always hit the 910 better, but was losing about 10 yards to the 2.0. I was immediately attracted to the classy, subtle look and black head of the 913 driver, and was pretty much convinced that I needed the 913 line in my bag as long as it could outperform my current clubs.

After a ton of research on GolfWRX and other sources, I came to the conclusion that all driver heads are relatively created equal to extent of max distance. The underlying factor that can help us achieve greater distance and dispersion is being properly fit. What better place to be fit than where the Titleist staff goes, TPI in Oceanside, Calif.?

From Titleist:

Golf is all about confidence, in your game and your equipment. That’s why Titleist designs the highest performing equipment and offers the most precise club fitting experience in the game. Titleist’s approach to fitting begins with a unique understanding of players’ performance needs born from working with PGA Tour players, PGA Professionals and amateurs serious about getting better. Our highly skilled team of fitters utilizes the most advanced tools to help players optimize driver performance, make iron play more precise, dial in their wedges and fine-tune set compositions. 

Many people are not aware that TPI as actually open to the public and a regular chop like myself can experience the same Tour Level fitting that guys like Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson did just a day prior to my arrival (note: I paid, they didn’t). The facility was built about 15 years ago and has a staff of about 25. TPI was initially built for Titleist R&D, golf ball and equipment testing, and as a place to give staffers a place to practice and be fit. At one time, TPI actually created and operated their own fitting equipment, but that was long before the days of golf radar systems. The place looks like Fort Knox from the outside, but it’s actually extremely easy to set an appointment and gain access.

Currently the facility is still used for R&D, and as the studio for Golf Fitness Academy that is entering season nine on Golf Channel.

Once inside TPI, you’re hit with visions of golf heaven. The driving range has perfectly cut fairways, manicured greens and multiple bunkers with different types of sand. It is paradise for practice and testing equipment.

Before you even put your car in park there is someone there to greet you, grab your bag and escort you inside. They first took me on a tour of the facility, showing me the Academy Studio, 3D Fitting and practice areas. After the tour, I was shown the locker room where I changed into my shoes and was off to my fitter to get started.

My fitter had just completed a ball fitting the day prior with Jason Dufner for the new Pro V1 that will be coming to retail soon. He told me he spent 22 weeks on the PGA Tour last year, so I knew that I was in good hands and that he would help me get the most out of my equipment.

He asked a few basic questions about my game, ball flight, what I like about my current clubs, what I didn’t like. He also asked me what shafts or heads interested me and what ball I currently played. I explained to him that basically I wanted the distance of my Superfast 2.0 but with the same consistency I got with my 910.

All testing was completed with essentially brand new 2011 Pro V1Xs, and five shots were hit with each driver combination before moving on to the next.

The range is in effect a fairway with trees down each side and bunkers that you can work the ball off. It’s not like hitting on a normal range and it really gives you the perspective of playing on a course.

Fitting the driver

We started by hitting both of my current drivers (yes, I brought a TaylorMade driver on Titleist turf).

The first club he handed me was a 9.5 913 D3 with the stock Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 72X (standard tipping). Next he changed to the 8.5 head and the same shaft but tipped one inch. He stopped me every now and then to make an adjustment on the SureFit hosel or change the swing weight. He was taking notes the entire time, evaluating my tendencies, ball flight and asking questions about “how something felt.” We probably went through 15 to 20 head and shaft combinations before he had me dialed into an 8.5 D3 with a Fujikura Speeder TS 6.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) at 44.5 inches.

Next he wanted me to hit the same setup, but in the D2 head. In the past, I was never able to play a D2 because it spun too much and launched too high. He explained the changes that were made to the 913 D2, asked me how I thought it looked at address and told me to hit a few balls. Immediately, I gained extra confidence from the bigger head and face. My best shots were as good as anything with the D3, and my misses were not nearly as punishing.

I don’t play or practice nearly as much as I would like, and having the extra forgiveness for off days is something that could really assist me. After deciding on the combo, I then asked if we could test a few more shafts in the 8.5-degree D2 and again in 7.5 degrees. After going back through and hitting about four more combos in Round 2, it was pretty clear that we found a winner. At this point we had spent about an hour and half and probably hit close to 100 balls with different drivers.

I spent a little bit of time comparing the D2 and D3, setting them next to the ball and taking a close look at the appearances. To me, the D2 inspires more confidence without looking too bulky. I think the 913 D3 is a definite upgrade over the 910 D3 – it’s far less punishing on mishits and has a more explosive feel. But I think the 913 D2 is a head that will surprise a lot of people, and years from now it will be the one that golfers remember. It’s very low spinning, yet workable and forgiving.

One noticeable difference between the D2 and D3 (besides appearance) is the sound. The D2 sounds explosive, but has a much lower pitch than the louder D3. This has something to do with the way the acoustics vibrate in the larger 460cc head versus the smaller 445cc head. They have been fitting more and more staffers into the D2 this year, although most players haven’t changed yet. My fitter told me that many players are expected to change as they get more comfortable with the new head.

Here are my final numbers with the driver:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 D2 (8.5 degrees in B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Speeder TS 6.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Averages):

  • Ball Speed: 158 mph
  • Launch: 12.6 degrees
  • Spin: 2256 rpms
  • Smash: 1.49
  • Carry: 265 yards
  • Land Angle: 40.4 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

Fitting the 3 Wood:

We both knew that fitting the 3 wood would be much quicker since we had already seen what worked in the driver and knew what I liked. Again, my fitter had me hit my current setup to get a base line. He gave me a 913 FD (15 degree) with a Fujikura Speeder TS 7.2X shaft. I hit one ball and almost immediately after the ball left the club I said, “Man, that felt good.” The numbers from the first combo were almost ideal and I asked if we even needed to hit anything else? He chuckled, took the club from my hands and changed the shaft to an 8.2X. He also changed the setting to B1 and told me to hit some more balls.

The new fairways are pretty much perfect on every level — sound, feel, flight and distance. The new FD is far easier to hit off the deck than the prior model. Even so, I also hit the F version with a few different shafts. Although we found some good combos and smooth shafts, the clear-cut winner was the 913 FD (15 degrees) with a Speeder TS 8.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) in the B1 setting.

Here are my final numbers with the 3 wood:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 FD (15 Degree in the B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TS 8.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 151 mph
  • Launch: 9.7 degrees
  • Spin: 3426 rpms
  • Smash: 1.48
  • Carry: 240 wards
  • Land Angle: 49.3 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 


Before we got started on hybrids, I was thinking to myself that there was no way they would get me out of my current Adams A12 18-degree hybrid with a Fujikura Speeder HB90 Tour Issue shaft. I saw him dig into the bottom of his case into some sort of hidden compartment and out came the Titleist 913 HD (your welcome). The closest thing he had to the Fujikura Speeder TS was Fujikura’s Motore F3 95, and he recommended that I stay in the same family of shafts for all three clubs to keep the feel consistent throughout the set.

I could clearly see the group of five balls from my current hybrid in the middle of the fairway about 225 yards away. All five of my shots with the first combo were landing well past my current setup and with a much more playable flight. I was literally hitting the hybrid too far, and thought that there would be too much of a gap with my irons. That’s why we tried the 20-degree hybrid with the same shaft, but we ended up going back to the 18 degree, adding 0.75 degrees of loft to it with the D3 setting on the SureFit hosel.

(Note: The HD hybrids will be available through custom order in February 2013 and will offer a smaller shape, more offset and lower spin than the 913 H hybrids).

Here’s are my final numbers for the hybrid:

  • Head: Titleist 913 HD (18 degrees in the D4 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura F3 Motore 95

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 144 mph
  • Launch: 12.3 degrees
  • Spin: 3589 rpms
  • Carry: 226 yards
  • Land Angle: 42.3 degrees

The most beneficial aspect of myTPI experience was the knowledge gained during the process. The fitters there are open encyclopedias, eager to answer any question and ready to share their knowledge.

I have gone twice now (last time for irons and wedges), and have learned more about equipment there than I have learned from any other fitting. The fitters are extremely patient and will let you hit any combo or club that you desire, even when they know it won’t work for you, just so you can see for yourself. Everyone that works at the facility went out of his or her way to make me feel welcome. Other employees will come out to check in on the fitting, bring you water and just make you feel welcomed and important. I hope that this review can be as helpful for the members interested as I did my best to share as much of the information and experience as I could. I will do my best to answer any questions.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.



  1. Ritch

    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I was living in Oceanside when this facility first opened. I visited several times as a club tester. The author is absolutely correct when he describes the place as golf heaven. It is an amazing facility and the conditions are never less than spectacular. Only problem is you probably won’t find playing conditions to match at the courses most of us usually play. I believe the costs for fitting can be found on the Titleist website.

  2. Tom from NE Ohio

    Dec 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    1. of course they treated you like a Norse God–don’t you think you might have gotten special red carpet treatment as a lead writer for GolfWrx? And how is it that you have suddenly fallen in love with the look and shape of the 913’s but seem to have overlooked the fact that the 910’s with revolutionary Tour Fit hosels look nearly indistinguishable and are great clubs in their own right!
    2. No. 1 notwithstanding, I love the new Titleist products, just got fit by an area pro and upgraded my 910 D2 with Ilima R to a 913 D3 with a Bassara W 50S…dropped my xs spin by nearly 1000 and added 10 yards

  3. Nick

    Dec 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

    You said you paid, how much did it cost?

    • Ben

      Dec 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I did it back in 2010 and it cost $250. Got a full set fitted but had to order through Golfsmith.

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The Wedge Guy: My top 5 practice tips



While there are many golfers who barely know where the practice (I don’t like calling it a “driving”) range is located, there are many who find it a place of adventure, discovery and fun. I’m in the latter group, which could be accented by the fact that I make my living in this industry. But then, I’ve always been a “ball beater,” since I was a kid, but now I approach my practice sessions with more purpose and excitement. There’s no question that practice is the key to improvement in anything, so today’s topic is on making practice as much fun as playing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the range, and always embrace the challenge of learning new ways to make a golf ball do what I would like it to do. So, today I’m sharing my “top 5” tips for making practice fun and productive.

  1. Have a mission/goal/objective. Whether it is a practice range session or practice time on the course, make sure you have a clearly defined objective…how else will you know how you’re doing? It might be to work on iron trajectory, or finding out why you’ve developed a push with your driver. Could be to learn how to hit a little softer lob shot or a knockdown pitch. But practice with a purpose …always.
  2. Don’t just “do”…observe.  There are two elements of learning something new.  The first is to figure out what it is you need to change. Then you work toward that solution. If your practice session is to address that push with the driver, hit a few shots to start out, and rather than try to fix it, make those first few your “lab rats”. Focus on what your swing is doing. Do you feel anything different? Check your alignment carefully, and your ball position. After each shot, step away and process what you think you felt during the swing.
  3. Make it real. To just rake ball after ball in front of you and pound away is marginally valuable at best. To make practice productive, step away from your hitting station after each shot, rake another ball to the hitting area, then approach the shot as if it was a real one on the course. Pick a target line from behind the ball, meticulously step into your set-up position, take your grip, process your one swing thought and hit it. Then evaluate how you did, based on the shot result and how it felt.
  4. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite on-course practice games is to spend a few minutes around each green after I’ve played the hole, tossing three balls into various positions in an area off the green. I don’t let myself go to the next tee until I put all three within three feet of the hole. If I don’t, I toss them to another area and do it again. You can do the same thing on the range. Define a challenge and a limited number of shots to achieve it.
  5. Don’t get in a groove. I was privileged enough to watch Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a golf lesson one day, and was struck by the fact that he would not let Tom hit more than five to six shots in a row with the same club. Tom would hit a few 5-irons, and Mr. Penick would say, “hit the 8”, then “hit the driver.” He changed it up so that Tom would not just find a groove. That paved the way for real learning, Mr. Penick told me.

My “bonus” tip addresses the difference between practicing on the course and keeping a real score. Don’t do both. A practice session is just that. On-course practice is hugely beneficial, and it’s best done by yourself, and at a casual pace. Playing three or four holes in an hour or so, taking time to hit real shots into and around the greens, will do more for your scoring skills than the same amount of range time.

So there you have my five practice tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but then we always have more time, right?

More from the Wedge Guy



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19th Hole

Vincenzi: Fortinet Championship First Round Leader picks



The PGA Tour begins its fall season with a trip to Wine Country as the world of golf patiently awaits the 2023 Ryder Cup which is just a few weeks away. Silverado is a course where plenty of players with varying skill sets can compete, but strong West Coast history tends to be a major factor.

In the past four editions of the Fortinet Championship, there have been six first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the six, three have started their rounds in the morning wave, and three started in the afternoon. The leading scores have all been between 63 and 65.

As of now, the winds look to be very docile, with speeds of 4-7 MPH throughout the day. I don’t see either the AM or PM wave as having a major advantage.

2023 Fortinet Championship First-Round Leader Picks

Zac Blair +9000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 1.22 p.m PT

A big theme for me this week is targeting players who have had success at both Silverado and the West Coast in general. Blair finished 22nd here last year, and also finished 4th back in 2019. That year, he shot 66 in rounds two and three, showing his ability to go low on this track.

In 2022, Blair gained 3.8 strokes putting and in 2019, he gained 8.6. The 33-year-old seemingly has these greens figured out.

C.T. Pan +9000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 8.23 a.m PT

At the end of the 2023 season, C.T. Pan showed flashes of what made him a good player prior to his injury struggles early in the year. He finished 4th at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May, and 3rd at the RBC Canadian Open in June. He also finished 6th at Silverado back in 2021, gaining 4.5 strokes on approach and 6.6 strokes putting.

A few weeks off may have given Pan a chance to reset and focus on the upcoming fall swing, where I believe he’ll play some good golf.

Joel Dahmen +110000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:28 a.m PT

After becoming a well-known name in golf due to his affable presence in Netflix’ “Full Swing” documentary, Dahmen had what can only be considered a disappointment of a 2023 season. I believe he’s a better player than he showed last year and is a good candidate for a bounce back fall and 2024.

Dahmen finished in a tie for 10th at the Barracuda Championship in late July, and the course is similar in agronomy and location to what he’ll see this week in Napa. He has some strong history on the West Coast including top-ten finishes at Riviera (5th, 2020), Pebble Beach (6th, 2022), Sherwood (8th, 2020), TPC Summerlin (9th, 2019) and Torrey Pines (9th, 2019).

James Hahn +125000 (Caesars)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:55 p.m PT

James Hahn absolutely loves golf on the West Coast. He’s won at Riviera and has also shown some course form with a 9th place finish at Silverado back in 2020. That week, Hahn gained 4.7 strokes putting, demonstrating his comfort level on these POA putting surfaces.

He finished T6 at the Barracuda back in July, and there’s no doubt that a return to California will be welcome for the 41-year-old.

Peter Malnati +125000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 12.27 p.m PT 

Peter Malnati excels at putting on the West Coast. He ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on POA and has shown in the past he’s capable of going extremely low on any given round due to his ability to catch a hot putter.

His course history isn’t spectacular, but he’s played well enough at Silverado. In his past seven trips to the course, he’s finished in the top-35 four times.

Harry Higgs +150000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 1.55 p.m PT

In what is seemingly becoming a theme in this week’s First-Round Leader column, Harry Higgs is a player that really fell out of form in 2023, but a reset and a trip to a course he’s had success at in the past may spark a resurgence.

Higgs finished 2nd at Silverado in 2020 and wasn’t in particularly great form then either. Success hasn’t come in abundance for the 31-year-old, but three of his top-10 finishes on Tour have come in this area of the country.

Higgs shot an impressive 62 here in round two in 2020, which would certainly be enough to capture the first-round lead this year.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s Fortinet Championship betting preview: California native ready for breakthrough win in Napa



After a three-week break, the 2022-23 PGA TOUR season kicks off in Napa Valley at the Silverado Resort and Spa to play the Fortinet Championship.

Prior to 2021, the event was called the Safeway Open, but the tournament sponsor changed to Fortinet with contract that will last for three more seasons. Although the name has changed multiple times, Silverado’s North Course has been featured on the PGA TOUR since 1968.

The course is a par 72, measuring at 7,166 yards. Silverado features Poa annua greens that can be tricky, especially as the surface becomes bumpier in the afternoon. The tree-lined fairways aren’t easy to hit, but the rough shouldn’t be exceedingly penal. Shorter hitters are in play on this relatively short course, and accuracy will be at a premium.

There will be a re-routing at Silverado for this year’s Fortinet Championship. Ten holes will be played in a different order. Holes 1-7 and 18 will remain as in year’s past. The new finishing stretch – No. 14 (par 4), No. 15 (par 5), No. 16 (par 4), No. 17 (par 3) and No. 18 (par 5). The new 17th was previously the 11th, which is the signature hole on the course.

The field will consist of 155 players. Being the swing season, the field for this event is usually relatively weak. However, there are some intriguing names in the field including Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Sahith Theegala, Joel Dahmen, and Kevin Kisner.

Past Winners

  • 2022: Max Homa (-22)
  • 2021: Max Homa (-19)
  • 2020: Stewart Cink (-21)
  • 2019: Cameron Champ (-17)
  • 2018: Kevin Tway (-14)
  • 2017: Brendan Steele -15
  • 2016: Brendan Steele -18

Let’s take a look at several key metrics for Silverado to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

Strokes Gained: Approach

Historically, one of the North Course’s defenses will be tightly tucked pin placement, so effective shot-shaping and a higher ball flight may be an advantage this week. In order to find success, players need to hit the correct level of the sloping Poa Annua greens.

Strokes Gained: Approach past 24 rounds:

  1. Chez Reavie (+24.7)
  2. Sam Ryder (+20.0)
  3. Mark Hubbard (+17.8)
  4. Kevin Streelman (+18.3)
  5. Doug Ghim (+17.1)

Good Drives Gained

Hitting fairways in regulation at Silverado is more difficult than TOUR average, as players have done so in the past at a rate of only 52.2%. While the rough isn’t extremely long here, controlling spin out of the thick grass is much more difficult than doing so from the fairway. In order to find success, players need to hit the correct level of the sloping Poa annua greens.

In 2021, the top eight players on the leaderboard all had a positive week in “Good Drives Gained. The winner, Max Homa was +3.3 in the category and Mito Pereira, who finished third, was +8.3.

In 2022, 12 of the top 13 players on the leaderboard gained in the category including the winner Max Homa (+6.0) and runner up Danny Willet (5.0).

Good Drives Gained past 24 rounds:

  1. Doug Ghim (+24.4) 
  2. Matt NeSmith (+23.8) 
  3. Russell Knox (+20.6)
  4. Brice Garnett (+19.9)
  5. Ryan Armour (+19.8)

Par 4: 400-450

There are six par 4’s at Silverado that are between 400 and 450-yards. It will be important to target players who excel at playing these holes. With the par 5s being fairly short and reachable, the par 4 scoring may prove to be the bigger difference-maker.

Par 4: 400-450 past 24 rounds:

  1. Beau Hossler (+14.7) 
  2. Max Homa (+12.4)
  3. Garrick Higgo (+8.5)
  4. Justin Suh (+8.3)
  5. Stephan Jaeger (+8.2)

Birdie or Better: Gained

With scores at Silverado potentially approaching the 20 under par range, making plenty of birdies will be a requirement in order to contend this week.

Birdie or Better: Gained in past 24 rounds:

  1. Nick Hardy (+15.3)
  2. Scott Piercy (+15.2)
  3. Ryan Gerard (+14.9)
  4. Max Homa (+14.0)
  5. Peter Kuest (+13.5)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa Annua)

Poa annua greens on the West Coast can be quite difficult for golfers to adjust to if they don’t have much experience on the surface.

Prior to the 2019 Safeway Open, Phil Mickelson talked about how the type of putting surface is a major factor:

“I think a lot of guys struggle with the Poa annua greens, which is a grass that I grew up playing, so I’m very comfortable on the greens. When you grow up and spend most of your time back east in Florida on the Bermuda, this is a very awkward surface to putt on. The color looks different — it’s hard to sometimes read. But when you’re used to it, I don’t know of much better surfaces than these right here.”

This week it is important to look for the golfers who historically excel on Poa annua.

Total Strokes Gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Kevin Kisner (+27.7) 
  2. Max Homa (+21.2)
  3. Peter Malnati (+20.5)
  4. Justin Suh (+18.5)
  5. Mackenzie Hughes (+16.0)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: APP (25%), Good Drives Gained: (25%), Birdie or Better (20%), Par 4: 400-450 (15%), SG: Putting (Poa annua) (15%).

  1. Max Homa (+750)
  2. Doug Ghim (+5000)
  3. Andrew Putnam (+4000)
  4. Chez Reavie (+4500)
  5. Kevin Streelman (+5500)
  6. Mark Hubbard (+5000)
  7. Sam Ryder (+7000)
  8. Brendon Todd (+3500)
  9. Akshay Bhatia (+6000)
  10. Cameron Davis (+2200)

2023 Fortinet Championship Picks

Sahith Theegala +2000 (DraftKings):

Sahith Theegala is yet to break out for his maiden PGA Tour victory but is a great candidate for a player who can have a strong fall and take advantage of some weaker fields. The 26-year-old ended his season on a positive note, finishing 13th at the FedEx St. Jude and 15th at the BMW Championship.

I’ve long believed that Theegala’s first win would come on the West Coast. He grew up in California and was a three-time All-American at Pepperdine University, where he became the fifth player to win the Jack Nicklaus Award, Haskins Award and Ben Hogan award all in the same year (2020). Sahith made his PGA Tour debut at Silverado in 2020, where he finished in a tie for 14th. Last year, he finished 6th at the Fortinet Championship.

Theegala is very comfortable playing in California. That is perhaps most noticeable on the putting surface where he gains an average of +0.44 strokes on the field per event on POA, which is more than four times what he gains on Bermudagrass or Bentgrass. The POA greens at Silverado can get especially difficult late in the day, which is a reason why players with a background on them have had so much success at the course. In the past seven years of the event, five winners have come from California.

Theegala is pricey this week and is as close to the top of the odds board as I can remember him being, but that’s the nature of the PGA Tour fall season. It’s hard to find a spot on the schedule that Sahith will have a better chance at winning than this one.

Justin Suh +5000 (PointsBet)

Consistency has been an issue early in the career of Justin Suh, but he’s shown flashes in 2023 of what made him such a highly regarded prospect to begin with. After a few top-10 finishes at the PLAYERS Championship and the Honda Classic, Suh ended the season on a bit of a sour note, failing to finish better than 34th in his last five starts of the season.

Despite the struggles, I’m optimistic about Suh as we begin the fall swing. The 26-year-old made the trip to Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland to play in the Omega European Masters, and finished 24th in a decent field. More encouraging than the finish was how Suh hit the ball. He gained 5.24 strokes on approach and hit plenty of fairways.

The 2018 Pac-12 Player of the Year grew up on California golf courses. Suh was a highly decorated amateur golfer with plenty of wins on the West Coast prior to attending USC, where he was one of the best players in the country.

When he’s on, Suh is one of the best putters on Tour, and he should comfortable playing in his home state in search of his first PGA Tour victory.

Akshay Bhatia +5500 (DraftKings):

Akshay Bhatia is still just 21 years old and one of the most tantalizing prospects in the world of golf. The smooth-swinging lefty was able to obtain his first PGA Tour victory at the Barracuda Championship at Tahoe Mountain Club in Truckee, California just a few months ago. The course is just a few hours ride from Silverado and the conditions and course should be very similar.

Bhatia will have no issue making birdies in bunches at Silverado, and the rough shouldn’t be exceedingly penal if he gets loose with his driver.

Bhatia made his debut at Silverado in 2020 at just 18 years old and managed to finish 9th. Since then, he’s gained a great deal of confidence and has refined his game as a professional.

Akshay got engaged this week. He can celebrate with a victory this week at the Fortinet.

Sam Ryder +8000 (FanDuel):

Statistically, Sam Ryder jumps off the page this week. In his past four measured starts, he’s gained 4.2, 5.4, 5.2 and 5.7 strokes on approach and is completely dialed in with his irons. Despite the numbers, he hasn’t managed to crack the top-30 on the leaderboard in that stretch but this is a field that is much weaker than he faced at the end of last season.

In addition to the recent stats, Ryder played some good golf on the West Coast last year. Most notably, he finished 4th at Torrey Pines in a loaded field and also finished 20th at both the Waste Managment Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational.

If Ryder continues with his hot approach play, he should be able to contend at Silverado this week.

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