Safeway Open Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
Silverado Country Club, Napa, California. Par 72, 7,166 Yards
The Safeway Open returns to Silverado Country Club in California for the sixth consecutive year, as this gem in the Napa Valley plays host to the PGA Tour once more. Opened in 1957, and having undergone two redesigns (Robert Trent Jones Jnr in 1967 & Johnny Miller 2014), the North Course at Silverado is a typically American classic, challenging course that will test all aspects of a player’s game.
A tight, undulating, tree lined parkland course, Silverado is also fairly short at just over 7,000 yards and is in keeping with the more old school venues that grace the Tour towards the start of the wrap around season. From the tee, players are faced with testing rough, and deep strategically placed bunkering which makes accuracy on the tee shots essential. Once in the fairways, the approaches to the greens are unique in that they are nearly all uphill, and there are substantial runoff areas for players missing either long or wide.
One redeeming feature the players will benefit from is the slowness of the poa annua greens that typically run at just 10-11 on the stimpmeter, making them some of the slowest and most receptive on Tour. To challenge this week, players will need a good all round game. Fairways and greens will be important, as will the ability to get up and down on a course where it is more difficult than almost any other on the circuit. Those that have performed well on slow poa annua greens will also have an advantage. This is interesting in relation to past winners Grillo and Bae who come from South America and Asia where poa annua and other slow paced grasses are prevalent.
Last Five Winners:
2018: Kevin Tway -14
2017: Brendan Steele -15
2016: Brendan Steele -18
2015: Emiliano Grillo -15
2014: Sang-Moon Bae -15
The Market Leaders
American World number 6 Justin Thomas (13/2) arrives as favourite this week, as he plays for the first time following his third place at the Tour Championship. That result came on the back of a win at The BMW, and Thomas will be hoping for a strong end to what has otherwise been a somewhat disappointing season. That win at Medinah was his only win in 2019, with his next best finish being a runners up spot at TheGenesis Open back in February. Thomas form has undoubtedly been improving though, and this venue is a familiar one for him. Despite not playing for the past couple of years, Thomas had previously posted finishes of 8th and 3rd in his two previous starts here, and returns a better and more in form player than on either of those outings. The challenge for Thomas here is whether the price is justified in such a strong field for a player that has won so infrequently of late, and it is enough for me to pass on him here.
Patrick Cantlay (10/1) finished 2nd to Thomas at the BMW, and has also not appeared since the following Tour Championship. His season has been more impressive with a win at The Memorial and a whole host of 2nd places including at The Shriners and a 3rd at The PGA Championship as Cantlay establishes himself as one of the top players on the Tour. Cantlay has an all round solid game, and the course should suit him. Last year on his maiden appearance here he crept into the top 20, and has the ability to exceed that performance this week. The win price is about right, and the place represents little value so he is another to leave alone for me.
Two international players follow with Hideki Matsuyama (14/1) and an in form Adam Scott (14/1). Hideki has top 10 finishes in three of his last seven events, but is another that wins far too infrequently for his substantial talents. He has played here twice, with a 3rd place in 2014 followed by another top 20 in 2015. He has since not returned. Scott had a fantastic Fedex series with two top 5s and a 9th place to post his second highest ever finish on the Tour. Although this is his first visit here, he also has a great long game, and should be suited by the slower greens that hold fewer demons for him. Scott has always struggled on the quicker surfaces, and this could level that part of the game up just enough for him to land a significant challenge here.
Twenty one year old Korean Sungjae Im has now completed a full season on the PGA Tour, and still somehow remains without a win despite his strong and consistent golf seeing him rise up through the World rankings. Im now sits in the top 50, and I would not be at all surprised to see him inside the top 10 by the end of 2020. He is one of the brightest talents amongst many hot young players to have broken through on the PGA Tour this year, and it is only time before he takes that maiden victory.
This week seems like the perfect opportunity for Im. This event last year was his first on our, and he came out hot with a 4th placed finish that would have been a win but or a disappointing final round 71. That pressure of leading going into the final round will be more comfortable for him nowadays, and he has the great all round game that is needed to compete at Silverado. Im ranks in the top 20 for total strokes gained, and in the top 30 for strokes gained off the tee, and around the green. He has no obvious weaknesses, and will almost certainly be in contention here on the back of his runner up finish last week at the Sanderson Farm Championship where he posted four rounds in the 60s for an 18 under par total. I will be backing him with 3 points e/w at 20/1.
At thirty-two, American Bronson Burgoon is a slightly late developer on the PGA Tour, but last season saw him step up to secure his card, and this year he has now started to really kick on. Burgoon sets up really well for Silverado, with his strengths lying in his accurate long game. This week he will bludgeon the course with fairways and greens, and on the receptive and relatively easy poa annua putting surfaces, he has the perfect opportunity to post low numbers and get himself into contention.
Over the last six weeks, Bronson has posted top five finishes in three of his six events, including last week where he closed out the tournament with a very impressive 65. He has the momentum gong into this week, and the venue is familiar. This will be Burgoon’s fourth appearance in Napa, and in 2017 he showed his abilities with a 17th placed finish behind eventual runaway winner Brendan Steele. With his game in such good shape now, I fully expect him to approve upon that as he becomes comfortable with life on Tour, and recommend backing him with 2 points e/w at 60/1.
Scotland’s Martin Laird has had a largely disappointing last year on the PGA Tour, but recently has shown signs that his game is in recovery, and the quotes of 90/1 for a player that has won three times on Tour seem inflated. Laird posted back to back top 10s at the Barbasol and Barracuda championships; shooting a stunning final round 63 in the former. He also went on to open with a seven under par 65 at The Wyndham a few weeks later, although missed the cut. Those rounds show that his game is clearly getting very close to its best, and if he can find the consistency then he is once again in a position to be challenging for titles.
Laird is also familiar with this venue having finished 3rd in 2014, and 8th two years later. He has played this tournament every year, and never missed a cut here. The short course, where premium is on a good accurate long game, and with minimal hazards should suit Martin perfectly. He is another who is let down by his putting sometimes, having finished 95th for strokes gained putting last season, and he will enjoy the flatter, slower raised surfaces here at Silverado. I will be backing Laird with 1 point e/w at 90/1.
Fabian Gomez is a player that I think deserves a small interest this week at the price. His game is in the best shape it has seen for several years. He posted a 2nd place at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, and has followed that up last week with a top 20 finish having started slowly, but rocketed up through the field with some great play over the weekend. Gomez has a relatively unremarkable game, but is consistent and capable of producing low numbers. At a venue such as Silverado that will do him no harm, and over the last four years he has made the cut here at every attempt, including posting finishes inside the top 20. He is worth a small investment of 1 point e/w at 125/1.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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