Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour: Safeway Open Preview

PGA Tour: Safeway Open Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

This week sees some of the big boys starting to trickle in as the tour moves West to Napa Valley California. Formerly known as the Frys.com Open, the Safeway Open has actually only been in existence since 2007.

US PGA Tour | Safeway Open
The North Course, Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa Valley, California
Thursday 26 September - Sunday 29 September 2019

After three years at Grey Hawk in Arizona, the event shifted towards CordeValle in San Martin for four years. It then found it's current home - Silverado - and this will be the 6th consecutive edition staged at this course. Silverado formerly hosted the Kaiser International between 1968 and 1976, as well as the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic between 1977 and 1980. Some of the game’s legends have tasted success here, such as Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. 

The North Course at Silverado was designed by the legendary designer Robert Trent Jones Jnr. It was opened in 1957 though it has been reworked since. Troon Golf, in close consultation with Johnny Miller, has remodelled it over the years. It is considered a classical course, with reasonably narrow, tree-lined fairways. The poa-annua greens only run at about 11.5 on the stimp, which is fairly pedestrian by PGA Tour standards. Just one look at the recent winning scores shows that this isn’t a 20 under pushover. Scrambling stats have proved critical in recent years, clearly owing to the smaller than average green complexes. 

As noted earlier, some of the heavy hitters will begin their 2019/2020 season here. Justin Thomas leads the markets this week. It’s unsurprising considering how well he fared in the FedEx Cup Playoff Series. Patrick Cantlay is the other in-form talent on display this week. 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari will tee it up a week after Wentworth. Elsewhere, the likes of Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott will be looking for fast starts to their relative campaigns. Phil Mickelson will no doubt monopolize the galleries as he too starts his campaign. 

Past Winners
2018: Kevin Tway (-14)
2017: Brenden Steele (-15)
2016: Brenden Steele (-18)
2015: Emiliano Grillo (-15)*playoff
2014: Sang Moon Bae (-16)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Justin Thomas (13/2)
Patrick Cantlay (9/1)
Hideki Matsuyama (16/1)
Adam Scott (16/1)
Sungjae Im (20/1)


Value Bets

Abraham Ancer
To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)

Ancer will be looking to make it three consecutive victories for Spanish speaking players at this week’s Safeway Open. Ancer’s game should comfortably fit Silverado. Last year he ranked inside the top 10 on tour for strokes gained off the tee and driving accuracy. The Mexican has gradually started to contend in more marquee events, memorably finishing runner-up in last year’s Northern Trust Open. Sebastian Munoz said that his victory at the Sanderson Farms was greatly influenced by Niemann’s victory at the Greenbrier. Perhaps Ancer could make it a three-peat for Spanish speaking players this week. 

Dylan Frittelli
To Win (55/1), To Place (12/1)

South African Dylan Frittelli is not exactly the type of player who attracts a whole lot of attention. But he has a repeatable action that should make him perfect for this tree-lined test. In fact, he narrowly missed out on a top 20 here last season, eventually settling for a tie for 25th. But Frittelli has come of age since then, claiming his maiden PGA Tour title at last season’s John Deere Classic. Frittelli has already started the season in encouraging fashion, finishing in a tie for 6th last week. I think could be a little sleeper this week, especially at 55/1. 

The Man to Beat

Hideki Matsuyama
To Win (16/1), To Place (7/2)

I’m opting for the notoriously fickle Matsuyama at the top end of the market this week. Last season he started to rediscover some of the form that had many touting him as a future world number one. He memorably surged up the rankings into contention for the FedEx Cup title. This will be his 1st start of the season, meaning he should feel reinvigorated this week. He has some history around Silverado, finishing in a tie for 3rd in the inaugural event here in 2014. He also finished in attire for 3rd in the previous edition at CordeValle. The last time he teed it up here was 2015, when he had to settle for a tie for 17th. Matsuyama should suit this course like a glove, with surgical iron-play that can negotiate the tricky greens. 

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