Any tournament that follows the intense drama of the Ryder Cup could be seen as something of an anti-climax but the Safeway Open in Napa California has a strong field with most of the best golfers who missed out playing in the US squad.
Phil Mickelson is here too so it should be a competitive and entertaining four days of golf as we set out to try and land a winner.
Patrick Cantlay (+1200 with Bovada) is the highest ranked golfer on show this week but his gap at the top of the betting market with the American-facing online sports bookmakers is a little surprising. Cantlay is rated only third in the Power Rankings this week and that may be a more telling assessment although he did finish last season with good stats for Greens In Regulation and Par 5 scoring and those could be relevant this week.
The 26-year-old is also making his debut in this tournament so there’s no history to consider and so, we are going to swiftly move on and look for better priced options.
In amongst those closing in on Cantlay at the top of the Safeway Open outright winner betting odds markets are top class players such as Brandt Snedeker (+2000) and Phil Mickelson (+2500) and their mid-range prices suggest there could be some definite value this week.
Sneds must have been close to picking up a wild card from Jim Furyk following that memorable 59 at Sedgefield but back spasms at the end of the FedEX Cup series may be a concern, given his injury record. Phil looked completely out of touch in France and his concession on the tee box to give Europe the overall victory summed up his week.
Towards the back of the chasing pack is our defending champion Brendan Steele (33/1) who became the first man to claim two Safeway Open victories when he completed back to back wins here 12 months ago. As impressive as that record may be, those victories are Steele’s only successes on the PGA Tour since 2011 but he clearly likes this course and we can’t rule him out.
Also in the mix with some mid-range odds is Ryan Moore (+2200) who has two top 10 finishes in his only two appearances at Silverado and should be rested after failing in the FedEX playoffs.
Others to consider in this section include Adam Hadwin who is rated highly in the Power Rankings and Emiliano Grillo who was the last player to win this event before Brendan Steele, back in 2015.
It’s a big field this week even though it may not be the strongest and it may well be that we get a big-priced winner at Silverado. Chez Reavie (+5000) enjoyed some success last season but just wasn’t consistent enough through the year. Russell Knox (50/1) is an overseas player who enjoys some success Stateside and with some of the big names missing the Scot could be one for the top 10 markets at the very least.
It is also a week when we roll back the years to an extent but sadly there isn’t too much support for Freddie Couples (300/1) who is at one of the biggest Safeway Open odds of all the players. While not quite in the same veteran status, Hunter Mahan’s (40/1) best days are probably behind him but after just managing to secure his Tour card, we could see a response from a player who has six wins on the circuit.
Elsewhere, JB Holmes (+5000) and Jason Dufner (50/1 as well) are more than capable of securing single digit finishes on Sunday afternoon.
Our Preview’s Safeway Open Predictions, Picks, Course & Betting Trends Verdict
The tournament first appeared as the Fry’s Electronics Open back in 2007 with the inaugural event won by Canada’s Mike Weir. As the Safeway Open, the competition is held on the North Course of the Silverado Country Club in Napa and this is a Par 72, albeit a relatively short one at 7,166 yards.
Stats from previous years show that Par 5 scoring and Scrambling have been key factors while, on a breezy four days, GIR is as important as ever. Tough greens also mean that no-one will win without showing form with the flatstick.
With all of those elements taken into account, the name that really stands out this week is Brandt Snedeker. If his back is in good shape then Sneds is the form player in this field and along with these top 10 finish suggestions, he has the potential to make it a very profitable four days down in Silverado. So here are the Safeway Open predictions for this preview: