Looking for 2017 Safeway Open picks, either for betting or fantasy golf games like DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, Golf Channel or the PGA Tour?
We have your 2017 Safeway Open rankings and expert picks, as we do each week of the PGA Tour season.
And we’re back! After a brief off-season, the 2017-18 PGA Tour season begins on Thursday from Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif. Brendan Steele is defending champion, and Phil Mickelson (world No. 30) is the top-ranked player in a weak field. We’ll get out first look at the form of Web.com Tour and Web.com Tour Finals grads, just prior to a deeper, three-event Asian swing.
For those new to our weekly picks, we offer our top 10 players for free. GNN Plus members get additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 Safeway Open rankings: Top 10 picks
1. Webb Simpson — Webb Simpson was amazing in the playoffs and at Greensboro. Typically, we’d keep him aside for Wyndham, but his string of top-15 finishes is impossible to ignore in this weak field.
2. Phil Mickelson — This could perhaps be putting the cart before the horse, but Mickelson looked like a stud at the Presidents Cup after looking blah two of three playoff events.
3. Tony Finau — Finau finished the season with a pair of T-7 finishes, and he was modest here last year.
4. Kevin Na — Na quietly played well at the Wyndham and TPC Boston. Has taken a shining to this course.
5. Jamie Lovemark — Lovemark could be poised for his breakthrough win this year. He hasn’t missed a solo cut on the PGA Tour since The Honda Classic in Feburary.
6. Bill Haas — We’re looking for someone we can believe will make the cut without much issue. Haas is one of those kinds of players, even if he’s not a big threat to win.
7. Peter Uihlein — Uihlein isn’t the most consistent player around, but when he’s playing well, he’s really tough to beat.
8. Martin Laird — Laird loves fall golf and beating up on bad competition. He’s got a pair of top-10 finishes here in the last three years and finished the season playing OK in his last three starts.
9. Sam Saunders — Saunders made a great run at saving his PGA Tour card, and then he made money in three or four Finals events. The 59 doesn’t add weight.
10. Denny McCarthy — The UVA product was the most consistent player in the Finals who didn’t win or finish runner-up in an event. He should excel at PGA Tour-style golf.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
- Kevin Na – $9,400
- Peter Uihlein – $8,800
- Martin Laird – $8,600
- Sam Saunders – $7,600
- Keith Mitchell – $7,600
- Denny McCarthy – $7,500
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GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual PGA Tour events.
- Chez Reavie – 2 – T-10 The Barclays, T-12 BMW Championship
- Kevin Na – 2 – T-4 Wyndham Championship, T-6 Dell Technologies Championship
- Webb Simpson – 4 – 3rd Wyndham Championship, T-6 The Northern Trust, T-9 BMW Championship, T-13 Tour Championship
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 10 at this event multiple times in the last three years at Silverado:
- Derek Fathauer – 2
- Kevin Na – 2
- Martin Laird – 2
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing at least $1,000 over their 2016-17 average salary for the final 10 events (ranked least to most over average salary):
- Bud Cauley
- Harold Varner III
- Scott Piercy
- Jamie Lovemark
- Chez Reavie
- Emiliano Grillo
- Keegan Bradley
- Lucas Glover
- Martin Laird
- Peter Uihlein
- Brendan Steele
- Ryan Moore
- Kevin Na
- Bill Haas
- Zach Johnson
- Phil Mickelson
- Webb Simpson
- Tony Finau
Here are the players playing this week with multiple top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events that are playing AT OR BELOW their average salary from the final 10 events of the 2016-17 season:
Success at Silverado Resort
Silverado is an interesting property. It seems to favor slightly above-length ballstrikers. With accessible pins, better iron players can get at these par 4s and reach the par 5s. We don’t see a ton of Web.com grads making the easy jump back into PGA Tour-style golf, but there are plenty of good, young names in this graduating class.