It’s only two weeks ago that Xander Schauffele won the final event of the PGA Tour season at East Lake. But, as they say, there’s no rest for the wicked and the brand new wraparound season gets underway on Thursday with the Safeway Open.
For the fourth year in a row, the Safeway Open is being held at Silverado Country Club. The club’s North Course measures 7,203 yards from the back tees and plays to a par of 72. While that sort of length would pose a serious challenge to the standard club golfer, it’s nothing to write home about for the PGA Tour. In fact, previous winners at Silverado show that accuracy off the tee, quality ball striking and a solid short game are all preferable to driving distance.
So far, the North Course at Silverado has yielded winning scores of between 15 to 18 under par so it’s clearly a layout at which top class players can score well. It’s also a venue which has yielded some surprise winners with Brendan Steele, Emiliano Grillo and Sang-moon Bae all winning against the odds.
Saunders Can Become the Latest Outsider to Triumph at Silverado
It was a tough season for Sam Saunders last year as he tried to make the most of the limited starts he was afforded on the PGA Tour. In the end, the 30-year-old had to come through the Web.com Tour to secure his playing rights in the big leagues, something he did with great aplomb.
Saunders bounced back from missing the cut at the DAP Championship by shooting a magical round of 59 en route to finishing tied for second at the Web.com Tour Championship. Saunders must now build on that and with a welcome boost to his confidence, he could do just that by winning and becoming the latest outsider to do so at the Safeway Open at 80/1 with Bet365.
Fresh Start Could be Key for Na
Kevin Na is an infuriating player to follow. That’s both in terms of following him around the golf course due to his incredibly slow style of play and following him as a punter as he finds it very difficult to close out wins despite consistently good play.
Despite not even really sniffing a win last season, Na picked up enough points to make it to the BMW Championship (the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup playoffs) but, like any professional golfer, he wants to win. Silverado could be the perfect course for him to break a streak without winning that goes back to 2011 as he’s played very well here over the last couple of years. Having finished the season strongly, Na looks good value for an each way bet at 28/1 with Ladbrokes.
A Big Season Begins for Kaufman
Smylie Kaufman has only been able to watch on from the sidelines as his peers have gone on to huge things in the game of golf. The 25-year-old claimed his first PGA Tour win in 2015 but things have gone awry of late as he’s now 172nd in the world. This is a huge season for Kaufman and he can get off to a good start at Silverado so back him each way at 150/1 with Betfred.