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Russell Henley
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Wyndham: Henley to repeat FRL success

by Brad Thomas
Updated On: August 5, 2022, 3:17 pm ET

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It's wild to think we are just one day away from the last golf tournament of the regular season. It leaves me asking myself, where did the season go? It felt like we earned our first outright win of the season just yesterday, backing Viktor Hovland at the Hero World Challenge. We head to Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC, for the Wyndham Championship this week. The par-70 course is short, measuring just 7,131. These golfers can go low if the course is soft and slow. This week we are tackling the first-round leader market. If handicapped correctly, the long odds in this market can make this very profitable. My first-round leader bets can be found on PointsBet Sportsbook:

Russell Henley First-Round Leader (+4000)

If you're not on the Henley FRL train, it's about time you hop on board. My first order of business when determining the possible candidates for FRL at a particular tournament is to look at historical data. I like to determine if they have had the first-round lead at this course or if they have one of the low rounds of the tournament. Henley finished with the first-round lead last season and followed it up with another low round in the later rounds.

Not only does the course history back up us betting Henley as FRL, but the data also does. This is a massive sample size, but I wanted to pull as much data as possible. Over the last 36 first rounds, Henley is the top-ranked golfer based on my primary model. He's a great driver of the ball, and he's first in Strokes Gained: Approach. Since he's generally in the fairway and hits a lot of greens in regulation, he doesn't card many bogeys. Of the golfers in the field, Henley has the lowest round 1 scoring average at 68.56. Hard not to back him with the numbers pointing in his direction.

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Harold Varner III First-Round Leader (+5000)

After his brief hiatus post Open Championship week, the dab master HV3 is back in action. Much like Henley, Varner has performed well at Sedgefield, and we would be remiss not to consider him for FRL. Varner doesn't hit as many fairways as many of the golfers in the field. However, when looking at driving accuracy alone, it leaves a bit of a mucky description. Barely missing a fairway and spraying it well wide are two different things yet count as the same in driving accuracy. When considering the distance to the fairway in missed fairways, he improves from being near the bottom to right around average.

On my primary FRL model, Varner is ranked fourth. Much of that comes from his dominant ball striking and his ability to avoid three-putts. If he's dialed in, he's one of the streakiest golfers in the field. I want to take advantage of that.

Si Woo Kim First-Round Leader (+5000)

Oddly enough, we are getting the same price for Kim as for Varner, and I'm pouncing on it. In 2020 Kim was dialed here, carding a 63 in one of his rounds. This is the perfect time to get on the Kim train too. He's back to playing excellent golf. He's finished in the top 20 in back-to-back tournaments. He's been hot with his putter, and it seems it's just a matter of time before he wins. Surprisingly for a guy who's been a solid ball striker, he hasn't fared that well this season or in his last two tournaments. Losing -1.3 strokes on approach and still finishing 14th is promising. This is a price I can get down with.

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Brad Thomas

Brad is a sports handicapper who is lucky enough to write about his true love; sports. "We may all root for different teams, but our objective remains the same… Beat the books! Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint." Follow Brad on Twitter @MrBradThomas.