What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! After a one week offseason we are back! The 2017-2018 year is upon us and the The Safeway Open is here to kick it off.
The Safeway Open will take place at Silverado Country Club in Napa California. This course has played host to this event for the past three seasons, giving us a reasonable sample size to look at. Silverado is a 7,200 yard Par 72 that puts a strong emphasis on accuracy off the tee and a solid approach game. The last three winners here have all finished at -15 or better, so there are plenty of birdies to be made. The stats I will be looking at this week are Strokes Gained Approach, Birdie or Better %, Strokes Gained Putting, Fairways Gained and Scrambling.
What makes the Safeway Open an intriguing event, is the flooding of fresh new talent to the PGA Tour. It also adds a wrinkle into projecting results for this event because we just don’t know enough about a lot of the new faces. This is the best time of the year to pay close attention to the new guys on tour and see how they might stack up for the rest of the fall series and into 2018.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Kevin Na – $9,400
With no real desire to spend the big money for a golfer at the top, Kevin Na will be my cash game anchor this week, allowing for a more balanced roster construction. Na played very well to end the 2017 season, with two top 10s in his last four events. He has also had incredible success at this event – 7th in 2016, 2nd 2015. Accurate, good approach game and when he is on, Na can make a lot of birdies. He is as safe as they come this week – a nice bonus to go along with a discounted price tag.
Peter Uihlein – $8,800
I hope this isn’t the shiny new toy syndrome, but Peter Uihlein is super intriguing. After spending the entire season on the European Tour, Uihlein showed up to his first Web.com tour event and won it. He also contended a few times on the European Tour this season. It is a bit of a risky pick to roll with a guy who has very limited experience playing on the PGA Tour. However, if Uihlein is going to pick up a PGA Tour win in the 2017-2018 season, the fall swing season seems like an ideal time to get the job done.
Ollie Schniederjans – $8,300
Similar to Uihlein, Ollie Schniederjans has to be one of the favourites to pick up his first career win in the fall swing series. Ollie had a great 2017 season, although it didn’t end quite as well as he had hoped. He was the runner up at the Wyndham not too long ago, but went on to miss two cuts and come T66 at the BMW Championship. Ollie shouldn’t have an issue scoring at Silverado, as he is one of the best birdie makers in the field. If he can club down at the right times to keep the ball in play, I expect Ollie to be contending on Sunday.
Graham DeLaet – $7,500
Canadian bias? Perhaps. But Graham DeLaet is getting little respect with his $7,500 price tag. He was battling a back injury at end of his 2017 season, but has had some time to rest up. If he wasn’t 100%, he wouldn’t be coming back to compete in the Safeway Open. He is one of the best ball strikers in this field and when he is on, can easily be in a late pairing on Sunday. The trouble with DeLaet is if he misses fairways and misses greens, he does not have the short game to keep his head above water. That is the risk I am willing to take at his reasonable price.
Bronson Burgoon – $7,300
After losing his PGA Tour card for the 2017 season, Bronson Burgoon is back in our lives. Burgoon is intriguing because of his impressive end to the 2017 Web.com playoffs. He only played 10 events in 2017, but managed to make eight cuts and finish inside the top 10, three times. His last two events were both top 5 results, so he is in great form entering the fall swing series. With a lack of notable names in the low $7K range, finding a golfer with this type of recent form is rare.
Safeway Open Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Emiliano Grillo – $8,500
Coming off of his first President’s Cup appearance, Grillo is returning to the site where he picked up his first and only career victory. Now that the sophomore slump season has ended, it’s time for the former rookie of the year to live up to his potential. He entered the President’s Cup with three straight made cuts, something he struggled with all season. Grillo clearly has the game to win at this course, and with only five tags on FanShareSports, he is being glossed over by many.
Harold Varner III – $8,000
There were few golfers who were playing as well as Harold Varner III was to end the 2017 season. He was pumping out clutch performances to continue his run in the playoffs. It came to an end at the Dell Tech Championships, but Varner still has a streak of five straight cuts made. He stated in a recent interview that he didn’t take the 2017 season as serious as he needed too and knows what needs to change for the 2018 campaign. With only one tag on @FanShareSports, the time is now to jump on low owned Varner who is poised for a big fall season.
Bryson DeChambeau – $7,700
Surprisingly, Bryson DeChambeau is another golfer with only one tag on FanShareSports. He was a winner in the 2017 season and despite receiving a lot of criticism about his game, showed that he can compete with the big boys on the PGA Tour. On a course that rewards accuracy over distance, DeChambeau seems like a great pivot option off of the chalk (List, Saunders, Mitchell) that is currently in the $7K range.
Shawn Stefani – $7,000
After a less than impressive 2017 PGA Tour season, Shawn Stefani went down to the Web.com playoffs and got right. After two missed cuts, he finished the Web.com playoffs with a T20 and T2. Now by no means is this an endorsement of Stefani in cash games, but if you are looking to take a GPP flier on a golfer in good form, Stefani is that guy. Aaron Wise and J.J. Spaun will soak up a lot of ownership in the low $7K range, so you only need about 5% Stefani to be considered overweight.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Chesson Hadley – $8,100
Hadley is a familiar name this week because he has won on the PGA Tour before and had incredible results on the Web.com Tour this year. His price is just way too high with a field full of unknown. His ownership will be inflated because of the familiarity people have with his name. Hadley makes for the ideal candidate to pivot off of and go with a lower owned, equally variant golfer at a similar price.
Sangmoon Bae – $7,200
Sangmoon Bae has been the talk of the week so far. He is returning to the PGA Tour after two years of mandatory military service in South Korea. Bae was a fantastic player on tour a few years ago and won this event back in 2014. His shiny new toy status is through the roof right now, but let’s not forget he has played one competitive tournament in two years. His form is going to take a lot of time to get back to where it was. This is the easiest fade of the week.
Thanks for reading the Safeway Open preview article! You can follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody!!