Horses for Courses: 2021 Fortinet Championship

For the seventh time in eight years Silverado will be the first name on the team sheet to kick off the new season. 47 events begin with life in Wine Country.

For the seventh time in eight seasons the North Course at Silverado Resort & Spa will open the brand-new PGATOUR wrap around season. A field of 156 will tee it up in Napa Valley for the first of 38 events in 2021-2022.

Purchased by Johnny Miller and investors in 2010, Silverado’s North Course took over the hosting duties of this event in calendar 2014 (season 2015) as Sangmoon Bae picked up the first winner’s check at the Resort & Spa. Events prior to the 2015 season can be tossed aside as they were NOT played on this course. No need to be confused week one of the new season!

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Stretching to only 7,123 yards this Par-72 has been gettable over the years. Last season only two TOUR events surrendered more birdies as 55 bogey-free rounds were racked up. The average winning score is slightly over 16-under so rounds above par don’t need to apply this week. The easiest holes on the course are three of the four Par-5 holes so it’s imperative to take advantage of them.

Fairways aren’t easy to find this week as Silverado annually ranks in the top 10 on TOUR of most difficult to find. Bluegrass and ryegrass approaching three inches will provide the defense to errant Ball-Striking but with average greens of 6,200 square feet, recovery shots are more than possible. Once on the Poa annua/Bent surfaces, two putts are the maximum for those looking to start the season off in the winner’s circle. There have been 106 bogey-free rounds over the last three events on this track.

Stewart Cink will not have a chance to join Brendan Steele as the only players to defend the title as he is not entered this week. Looking to join Steele as multiple champions at Silverado will be Cameron Champ, Kevin Tway and Emiliano Grillo as they will be part of the field of 156 this week. On the line is a purse of $7 million with the winner pocketing $1.26 million plus 500 FedExCup points.

Recent Event Winner Stats

Calendar Year202020192018
 Stewart CinkCameron ChampKevin Tway
All Drives738
Putting: Birdie or Better %42T9T18
SG: Off-the-Tee18119
SG: Approach-the-Green81322
SG: Around-the-Green23197
SG: Putting132818
SG: Tee-to-Green213
Bogey Avoidance21T1
Par-3 Scoring1T11T6
Par-4 ScoringT8T4T8
Par-5 ScoringT49T3T19

Recent Winners

Last year – Stewart Cink (-21, 267)

Set the tournament record of 267. … Became the oldest winner at Silverado at age 47. … Led the field in Par-3 scoring, GIR and Ball-Striking. … Picked up his seventh win in his 596th start. … First win since 2009 Open Championship. … 100th career top 10 payday. … Did not lead or co-lead after any round. … Final round 65 was second best on Sunday. … Only made two bogeys for the week (2nd). … Had one top 25 result in calendar 2020 leading up to the event. … Did not qualify for FedExCup Playoffs the previous month. … MC in his previous attempt at Silverado.

Notables in the field this week:

Harry Higgs (2nd) tied the low round of the week with 62 in Round 2 and led the field in Par-5 scoring (-14). … Chez Reavie (T3) stormed home with 29 on the back nine Sunday and led the field in both Fairways and Strokes-Gained: TTG. … Doc Redman (T3) posted the round of the day Sunday with 62. … Brian Stuard (T3) was one of three who shared the 54-hole lead on 16-under, an event record at Silverado. … East Bay native James Hahn (T9) was one of those three. … Russell Knox (T9) opened with 63 to take the 18 hole lead. … Pat Perez (T9) was one of three players to post all four rounds in the 60s. … Chesson Hadley (T14) led the field with 26 birdies and shares the course record of 61. … Sahith Theegala (T14) posted 64 in Round 3 as a sponsor’s exemption. … Mark Anderson (not entered) didn’t make a bogey all week. … Cameron Percy (T23) one of the three 54-hole leaders posted 74 on Sunday. … Two-time champion Brendan Steele (T29) put all four rounds in the red. … Top 45 players all 10-under or lower. … 71 of 73 players to make the cut finished Even or better. … Cut was 5-under, a record. … 55 bogey-free rounds. … 70.212 scoring average. … Defending champion Cameron Champ did not play. … The 2020 US Open was played the following week at Winged Foot.

2019 – Cameron Champ (17-under, 271)

Posted 69 in the final round to win by one. … Led by three after 54 holes. … Led the field in Driving Distance, Scrambling, Bogey Avoidance, SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Off the Tee. … Picks up second TOUR win in 35th start at age 24. … Converted his second 54-hole lead in two tries. … Sacramento native. … 21 birdies (T4). … Only player with all four rounds in the 60s.

Notables in the field this week:

Adam Hadwin (2nd) co-led the field with 22 birdies. … Marc Leishman (3rd) closed 67-65. … Charles Howell III (T4) played his final 54 holes 14-under. … Dylan Frittelli (T7) was 15-under if you subtract his 75 in Round 3. … Cameron Percy (T7) picked up his third consecutive T26 or better at the event. … Nick Taylor (T10) was third in Fairways. … Sacramento native Nick Watney (T10) made 21 birdies. … Mark Hubbard (T13) and Roger Sloan (T13) posted 10-under par. … First event with new Top 65 and ties rule. … 65 of the 67 players who made the cut posted Even or better for the week. … Cut 2-under. … 23 bogey free rounds. … 71.244 average. … Defending champion Kevin Tway MC. … Event was No. 3 of the season, the only year it did not kick off the new campaign when played at Silverado.

2018 – Kevin Tway (14-under, 274)

Birdied the final five holes of the event to win for the first time on TOUR. … Birdied the 71st and 72nd holes to reach the playoff. … Birdied all three holes in the playoff to defeat Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker (eliminated on first playoff hole). … Final round played with 15-25 MPH wind and 36 MPH gusts. … First TOUR win at age 30 in start 91. … Best previous finish on TOUR was solo third. … Like most champions, he was in the top three Scrambling, Bogey Avoidance and SG: Tee-to-Green. … T52, T62 in previous two starts here. … Made 13 of 14 cuts entering the week.

Notables in the field this week:

Ryan Moore (P2) led the field in Fairways and was T2 GIR. … Brandt Snedeker (P2) led the field in birdies (23) and led by three shots after 36 AND 54 holes before closing with 74. … Aaron Baddeley (T4) picked up his only top 25 in seven career starts. … Luke List (T4) played the Par-5 holes 14-under. … Troy Merritt (T4) made the second most birdies (22). … Sam Ryder (T4) cashed his only check in four trips. … JB Holmes (9th) made everything he looked at as he wasn’t in the top 60 in Fairways or GIR. … Bill Haas (T10) was T3 Fairways. … Sepp Straka (T46) posted 63 to lead after Round 1. … Brendan Steele (T53) couldn’t take home the title for the third consecutive season. …  Ricky Barnes (T69) tied the course record (61) in Round 2. … Cut 3-under. … 28 bogey free rounds with just 3 on Saturday and zero Sunday. … 71.103 average.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes-Gained: Approach the Green
2020 rankPlayer
7Will Zalatoris
8Jon Rahm
9Cameron Percy
11Matthew NeSmith
12Emiliano Grillo
16Charley Hoffman
17Hideki Matsuyama
18Kyle Stanley
20Russell Knox
21Doug Ghim
22Chez Reavie
26Harold Varner III
32Talor Gooch
37Lanto Griffin
38Webb Simpson
40Max Homa
Par-5 Scoring
2020 rankPlayer
3Jon Rahm
6Webb Simpson
11Will Zalatoris
13Max Homa
13Hideki Matsuyama
21Luke List
28Hank Lebioda
30Patton Kizzire
30Vincent Whaley
35Talor Gooch
35Cameron Tringale
35Kevin Tway
42Sepp Straka
42Si Woo Kim
42Charles Howell III
2020 rankPlayer
3Charles Howell III
4Kevin Na
5Webb Simpson
7Hank Lebioda
8Cameron Tringale
15Aaron Baddeley
16Pat Perez
17Talor Gooch
19Jon Rahm
19Andrew Putnam
22Si Woo Kim
23Doug Ghim
24Scott Stallings
25Brice Garnett
26Bill Haas
27Vaughn Taylor
29Sean O’Hair
31Doc Redman
36Maverick McNealy
38Adam Schenk
40Russell Knox

Horses for Courses

Top golfers entered this week and other exceptions

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10s Top 25Most RecentRecent Others/Notes
Harry Higgs (2/2)122 (2020)T23 previous; 27-under in 2 visits
Chez Reavie (7/7)14T3 (2020)T33 or better last 6
Brian Stuard (4/6)12T3 (2020)T17 2019; 4 straight paydays 
Doc Redman (1/2)11T3 (2020)Closed with 62; all 6 rounds par better
Dylan Frittelli (2/2)12T7 (2020)T25 2019
Russell Knox (2/4)11T9 (2020)T68
JJ Spaun (3/5)11T9 (2020)T41, T55
Pat Perez (1/4)11T9 (2020)Opened with 65 last year
James Hahn (3/5)11T9 (2020)T41 next best
Cameron Champ (2/3)12Win (2019)T25 2018; MC debut 2017
Adam Hadwin (3/5)112 (2019)T41, T53
Marc Leishman (2/2)113 (2019)T46 2014
Charles Howell III (3/4)11T4 (2019)T17 2015
Cameron Percy (3/3)12T7 (2019)T23 2020
Nick Taylor (3/6)22T10 (2019)T9 2017; Top 10 2 of last 3
Nick Watney (4/5)11T10 (2019)T46 2020
Kevin Tway (4/6)11Win (2018)T40 next best
Ryan Moore (3/4)23T2 (2018)T10 2015; T17 2017
Brandt Snedeker (4/5)13T2 (2018)T17 x 2
Aaron Baddeley (5/7)11T4 (2018)T31 Sliverado first year
Troy Merritt (3/7)12T4 (2018)T15 2016
Luke List (4/5)11T4 (2018)T26, T37, T65
Sam Ryder (1/4)11T4 (2018)MC x 3
JB Holmes (2/2)119 (2018)T46 2020
Bill Haas (3/4)13T10 (2018)T17 2017, T20 2016
Danny Lee (3/4)11T10 (2018)T50, T46
Jim Knous (1/2)11T10 (2018)2020 MC
Brendan Steele (7/7)24Win (2017)2016 winner; opened with 63, 65, 65 before
Phil Mickelson (4/5)23T3 (2017)T8 2016; T17 2018
Chesson Hadley (4/6)13T3 (2017)T14 2020; T23 2019
Tyler Duncan (3/4)11T5 (2017)MC, T56, T69
Andrew Landry (3/3)12T7 (2017)T23, T66
Kevin Na (5/6)347 (2017)2nd 2016; T3 2014 first edition
Patton Kizzire (1/4)112 (2016)Only 2 of next 6 in red
Scott Piercy (3/6)12T3 (2016)T17 2017
Others/Past Champions    
Emiliano Grillo (5/6)11Win (2015)4 of 6 T29 or better
Hideki Matsuyama (2/3)12T3 (2014)T17 2015
Harold Varner III (6/6)03T14 (2018)T15 2016

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