Only two weeks after the Tour Championship, the 2017/2018 PGA Tour and fantasy golf is already back and set to begin this Thursday with the Safeway Open. This tournament is played at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. It is a Par 72 measured at just over 7,200 yards. A very large field is set for this event and unlike the recent tournaments that have been played in September for the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, this event has a cut line with the Top 70 + ties making it onto the final two rounds. The key statistics for this event are Driving Accuracy, Par 5 BoB%, and SG:Approach-The-Green, especially proximity from 175-200 yards. Now, let’s get into some picks!
Top Price Tier
Kevin Na DK $9,400 FD $7,800
For as well as Na ended last season, and in a weaker field event like this one, it is quite surprising to see him in such a favorable salary range (under $10k on Draftkings and $8k on Fanduel). In the last 4 tournaments Na played to round out his season, he finished with two Top 10s, T4 at Wyndham and T6 at the Dell Technologies Championship, and an average finish of 23rd. Most recently at the BMW Championship, Na had 3 mediocre rounds but then ended with a final round 63 to finish T53 on the leaderboard. Moreover, Na has superb course history at the Safeway Open. He has competed in each of the last two years and has finished in the Top 10 both times. He was runner up in 2015 and T7 last year. Looking at his 2016/2017 statistics, it is clear that Na maintains the proper repertoire that suits this course very well. Despite a poor overall rating in driving accuracy, 84th, Na drove the ball quite accurately over the course of the last month of the season as he was top 50 in the field in driving accuracy in each of his last 4 events dating back to the Wyndham Championship. Furthermore, although not the best at Par 5s, Na tends takes advantage of the difficult Par 4s at Par 72 courses which ultimately many people struggle to do, so overall, looking at his course history, he can definitely play the holes here well. Lastly, Na finished the season 8th best in SG:Approach-the-Green. When it comes to approaches from 175-200 yards, Na ranks 34th in the PGA. As you can see, great form and great course history for Na. In a weaker field than usual, I see him contending for a Top 5 finish at this year’s Safeway Open.
Mid Price Tier
Harold Varner DK $8,000 FD $6,200
Varner finished off the 2016/2017 season strongly with 5 consecutive finishes in the top 50. His best of the 5 finishes came in weaker field events, similar to this one. These were a T10 at the Wyndham Championship and T23 at the RBC Canadian Open. Moreover, Varner has admirable course history at the Safeway Open. Having participated in each of the last two years, Varner has attained a T15 last year and T48 the year prior. Varner has pretty good course fit as well. Although having mediocre driving accuracy, finished 110th in the PGA last season, Varner has great approach statistics. In SG:Approach-the-Green, Varner ranks 43rd in the PGA. Within the proximity of 175-200 yards, his approaches come to an average of 32’ 8” which was tied for 62nd best in the PGA. One of the greatest assets of Varner is his Par 4 and Par 5 scoring. His BoB% in Par 4 and Par 5 were both in the top 75 in the PGA. Although these statistics aren’t amazing, mainly due to the fact that Varner did not have a good overall midseason as he struggled to make the cut, his form as of late especially in regards to these statistics show that he is in a good position to not only make the cut but finish in the Top 50 like he has been doing.
Low Price Tier
Ben Crane DK $6,800 FD $5,400
Crane, despite not having any overly impressive results, has a knack for making the cut and, especially in recent terms, it shows how good his form is. Crane finished the season by making 4 consecutive cuts. Additionally, two of these four finishes were in the Top 25. Moreover, Crane has played here once in the last three years and had a decently good finish coming in 32nd in 2015. His stats suit the course relatively well. Based off the most recent season, Crane ranks 16th in the PGA in driving accuracy. His approach game is slightly below average from an overall standpoint, ranking 111th in the PGA. Given his low driving distance, we will look at higher distance approach shots (200-225 yards). From 200-225 yards, his approaches average a distance of 38’ 10” which ranks 44th best in the PGA. Crane looks to be a great value for cash games this week.
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As our main PGA writer, Gabriel D’Antonio knows all the ins and outs of golf. As a team golfer for many years, Gabriel knows how to spot the best PGA players. And as a fantasy sports player, Gabriel knows the ins and outs of winning! Check out his articles when it comes time for the pros to hit the links.