The Safeway Open takes a new spot on the calendar this week and what a field we have! Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama and #43 in the Official World Golf Rankings – Phil Mickelson! All jokes aside, the field is decent which is more than what we usually have for this event, so we’ll take it.
The North Course at Silverado Resort is a less than driver course which requires players to work the ball both ways off the tee and puts an emphasis on hitting “target areas” or landing zones. There’s a slight emphasis on hitting fairways this week, but nothing too crazy as the rough is hardly penal.
Weather does play a bit of a role, but not how you may think especially considering we’re on the west coast. Instead, chilly AM temperatures may play an impact as the ball doesn’t fly as far as it does when it’s warm giving the PM rounds a bit of an edge. Of course, playing those PM rounds can be tricky as the greens are made up of poa annua grass, which seeds out as the day goes on, creating some bumpy terrain when putting for birdie or better (hopefully!).
There’s some decent overlap in some players who play well here as well as at TPC Scottsdale, but the grasses and layouts are different so it’s probably more-so because the same players tend to play both tournaments.
o The Course
- Silverado Country Club – North Course
- Par 72
- 7,100 yards
- Poa greens
o Location: Napa, CA
o Corollary Courses/Performances: TPC Scottsdale, Riviera, Torrey Pines (mostly tree-lined courses)
o Past Champions:
- 2018: Kevin Tway -14 in a playoff over Ryan Moore & Brandt Snedeker
- 2017: Brendan Steele -15 over Tony Finau2016: Brendan Steele -18 over Patton Kizzire
- 2016: Brendan Steele -18 over Patton Kizzire
- 2015: Emiliano Grillo -15 in a playoff over Kevin Na
- 2014: Sang-Moon Bae -15 over Steven Bowditch
KEY STATS TO TARGET
- Strong Emphasis – SG: APP, Birdies or Better, Par 5 Scoring, Scrambling
- Important – P4 Scoring 400-500 yards, APP 125-150y & 200+y
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
- Brendan Steele (DK $7,400)
History: 53rd– Win – Win – 17th
Form: DNP – 36th
Stats: 65th– SG: OTT, 99th– SG: APP, 35th– SG: P, 84th– SG: T2G
Analysis: The two-time winner (and back-to-back to boot!) is being propped up here because of just that, winning in back-to-back years. He took last week off after finishing 36th at the Greenbrier but has made all five of his cuts at Silverado over the years so he makes for a fine value cash play for my money this week. You could sprinkle him into some GPP lineups as well, I don’t think he’ll hurt you and it’s always comforting to have course horses in some lineups with riskier players.
- Phil Mickelson (DK $8,200): 17th – 3rd – 8th the last three years here and in typical Phil fashion has been enjoying his time away from golf (if you haven’t followed him on Twitter yet, I’m not sure what you’re even doing on there). It seems like he’s doing everything he can to get back to where he once was just a year or two ago, but his game really struggled this past season and we’re still seeing that in his price this week. He’s obviously comfortable on this course so he deserves a look in all formats, though I’d temper my exposure to him in GPPs until we see his game has actually turned around.
- Martin Laird (DK $7,300): 46th – 17th – 8th in his last three appearances at Silverado, a course where he’s played quite well over the years including 2014 when he finished 3rd. He missed the cut last week, but finished 47th the week prior so it could’ve been just a bad round. I don’t know exactly as he’s not a player I purposely follow, but he does play well this time of year when the rest of his competition is either fighting to get into fields later in the year or is being given exemptions. He’s a fine play in all formats, but nothing too crazy.
- Byeong Hun An (DK $9,500)
History: 3rd– MC – 54th– DNP
Form: 3rd– 47th
Stats: 29th– SG: OTT, 31st– SG: APP, 182nd– SG: P, 7th– SG: T2G
Analysis: $600 discount on BHA this week following a “I should’ve won/had no business finishing 3rd last week” week. It’s pretty amazing considering he hung around all week and on a Par 5 on the back nine (while within two shots of Im/Munoz) he pulls a 3-wood from the fairway and hooks it left in the hazard. I can appreciate the aggressive play, especially when it’s go-time, but you have to hit the shot you’re most comfortable with in that scenario (and maybe it was for him). Just seemed like a bone-headed play when he probably could’ve hit a 2 or 3 iron to the front of the green and potentially chipped in for eagle instead of scrambling to make par. Anyways, he’s still in form and hits all of the key stats like usual.
- Kevin Streelman (DK $8,300): 25th – 13th – MC the last three years here, but the real highlight is his current play after firing a Sunday 64 to vault him into the Top 5 at the Sanderson Farms. He’s a Scottsdale resident and someone who has played well at several of our comp courses so seeing the form continue this week should be expected.
- Lanto Griffin (DK $7,400): 11th & 13th in his last two PGA Tour starts shows he’s definitely in form. Lanto is a strong tee to green player whose been putting really well through two starts this season, so I’d be a bit hesitant to go super heavily on my exposure to him as he’s only gained strokes on the greens for three straight events once during a June run that resulted in finishes of MC – MC – 38th
Cheap Form Horses: Bronson Burgoon (DK $8,000), Carlos Ortiz (DK $7,500), Robby Shelton (DK $7,100)
- Hideki Matsuyama (DK $10,500)
History: DNP – DNP – DNP – DNP
Form: DNP – DNP
Stats: 26th– SG: OTT, 5th– SG: APP, 97th– SG: P, 3rd– SG: T2G
Analysis: Matsuyama tees it up for the first time this season and while he hasn’t played here in the last five years, he did finish 3rd in 2014 and 17th in 2015 so he does have some sense of the layout. Based on what he does well (driving, ball striking) he should be a solid course fit and hopefully the slow greens minimize his issues with the putter.
- Brandt Snedeker (DK $9,600): Poa-popping-putter stroke Sneds returns following a disappointing 45th place finish last week. He’s well-known for his putting on poa, and he’s a solid ball striker from tee to green so I’m treating last week’s performance as his first action in a month and he should be able to rebound well this week.
- Daniel Berger (DK $7,500): Hasn’t played here the last three years, but finished T17 in 2015 after missing the cut in 2014. On the surface he shouldn’t be very highly owned because of his reputation of being a better putter on bermuda, but the rest of his game translates well for Silverado CC so he’s absolutely in play this week.
Honorable Mentions: Chez Reavie (DK $9,200), Lucas Glover (DK $8,900), Charley Hoffman (DK $7,100), Patrick Rodgers (DK $6,700)
CORE GPP PLAYS
- Adam Scott (DK $10,700): Slow greens season means its Adam Scott season (it’s actually a thing, unfortunately I don’t have the list of courses where he’s benefitted by slow greens, but his play at The Open Championships comes to mind). He hasn’t played since the FEC Playoffs, but he finished them in solid form 5th – 9th – 5th and should be a good bet to do well this week considering the key metrics we’re targeting.
- Sungjae Im (DK $10,100): Runner-up last week after losing in the playoff to Munoz and when you combine that with the 4th place finish here last year it almost seems too good to be true that things align this week for him to finally cap off this long run with a win. The field is a bit stronger than last week, but he’s still a solid play and has to have some confidence in his game.
- Jhonattan Vegas (DK $7,300): Strong tee to green player and an excellent ball striker. The slow poa greens should suit his game this week as well. He rarely sees much ownership except for the obvious weeks where driving the ball all over the place helps certain players so he won’t be highly owned. If we play him at core exposures and things go as planned, he could put all of our lineups over the cash line.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari (@hitthehighdraw)