Fortinet Championship logo – PGA Tour
Lucas Herbert gets to play his first event as a PGA Tour card holder this week when he tees it up at the opening event of the 2021/2022 season, the Fortinet Championship (previously the Safeway Open) at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa in Northern California.
Herbert earned his PGA Tour status via the recent Korn Ferry Tour Finals and although he has played several PGA Tour events previously this will be the first of what promises to be a lengthy and successful career as a cardholder.
Herbert has won two of the mores significant events on the European Tour in the last two years and now steps up to this higher level where many expect him to continue the progress he has made in his career to date.
Herbert will be joined in this week’s field by fellow Australians Marc Leishman, Cameron Percy, Aaron Baddeley and Brett Drewitt along with New Zealander Danny Lee
Leishman finished 3rd in this event two years ago when three shots behind the winner Cameron Champ after a superb weekend saw him make up a lot of ground.
This will be Leishman’s first event since finishing well back at the BMW Championship three weeks ago which ended his 2021 season.
Aaron Baddeley has lost his full PGA Tour status after failing to play well in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals but he has managed to secure a start here courtesy of the sponsors and will be keen to take advantage in an event in which he finished 4th three years ago when just one shot behind the winner, Kevin Tway.
Cameron Percy finished outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings in 2021 but he has sufficient status to earn a start here and will play the event for the 5th occasion with a best of 7th in 2019.
Percy struggled for much of 2021 on the PGA Tour but in recent weeks his form has improved and although he was unable to make the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs, he was performing well enough late in the season.
Brett Drewitt gets another chance on the PGA Tour having graduated through the regular season on the Korn Ferry Tour. The Inverell golfer’s persistence has to be admired having played himself onto the PGA Tour on two occasions now and if he was to begin the season well then few would begrudge him such success.
New Zealander Danny Lee has lost his full PGA Tour status after a poor year in 2021 but having had one or two solid finishes in this event in previous years, a start here might be enough to get things headed back in the right direction.
The favourite in the event will undoubtedly be the World Number One Jon Rahm whose appearance here is perhaps a surprise given the events’ proximity in time to the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin next week.