The 2017 Safeway Open – Course Preview and Picks

By October 4, 2017PGA, PGA Premium

Introduction and Strategy

Written by @kendoVT

After the shortest off season in sports, the PGA Tour is back as golfers head to the Napa Valley in California to play the Safeway Open (formerly the Frys.com Open) at Silverado Country Club’s North Course. This is the first full field event with a cut in over a month so it feels good to finally have a normal week of fantasy golf. There are some big names in the field but as is the case with most Fall events, it’s the rookies and recent Web.com grads that I’m excited to see play. In the last couple of years names like Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Smylie Kaufman, Patrick Rodgers, Patton Kizzire, Cody Gribble, and Andrew Loupe have made the jump from the Web.com Tour and played very well during the Fall Swing. Two years ago Emiliano Grillo went straight from winning the Web.com Tour Championship to winning the Frys.com Open/Safeway Open in back to back weeks. This year’s new crop of young talent might not be as strong as it has been in some years but there are still some names that you need to pay attention to as the year progresses. Peter Uihlein, Ryan Armour, Keith Mitchell, and Joel Dahmen are just a few of the golfers to keep an eye on this year as they graduate from the Web.com Tour and take their talents onto the PGA Tour.

Course Description

Silverado CC’s North Course is a 7,166 yard par 72 with the standard four par 3s and four par 5s. It was first designed by Robert Trent Jones and then redesigned by Johnny Miller in 2011. The four par 5s are the four easiest holes on the course and the majority of golfers should be able to reach them in two. The finishing three holes could lead to some drama on Sunday as 16 and 18 are both par 5s and depending on the tee box, the par 4 17th is short enough that some golfers could attempt to go for the green on the tee shot. Off the tee golfers will see tree lined fairways that are average in width. The trees are mostly sporadic, not bunched together like a lot of east coast courses, but these trees are very tall and towering. The fairways themselves are fairly hilly with some slope and golfers will have to deal with fairway bunkers placed strategically in the landing zones. The rough around the fairways has two levels. The first cut of rough stretches out about ten feet from the edge of the fairway and shouldn’t be a problem for golfers because the length is minuscule. The main cut of rough is a blend of Kentucky bluegrass and rye, which can get gnarly but this is a resort course so the rough shouldn’t get more than 2.5 inches in length. The rough shouldn’t be too bad to play out from this week as long as golfers miss on the correct side. There are quite a few doglegs and missing on the wrong side could make approach shots more tricky, especially when you take into account the large trees throughout the course. Golfers that have a low ball flight could have a disadvantage if they hit the ball in the rough off the tee because the greens can play very firm if there is no rain. As of now there is no rain in the forecast. On approach shots golfers will see poa annua greens that are average in size. Johnny Miller has stated in interviews that he wanted the greens to have an Augusta feel. This shows as the greens are slightly elevated and have a good amount of slope and undulation. Green side bunkers are prevalent and most guard the front of the greens. As stated above, the greens can play firm with a stimpmeter rating of around 11.5. Poa annua greens tend to get bumpy as the day goes on but Justin Rose did say two years ago that these were some of the smoothest poa greens he had ever played on. This tournament has only been played at Silverado since 2014 so there is very little course history to go on. If you’re looking for courses that are similar to Silverado while doing your research, check out Riviera CC and TPC Four Seasons.

Key Stats For The Course

***In order of importance with the most important first. Not including Strokes Gained Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained Tee to Green (SG:T2G), which are key stats every week.

Birdie or Better % (BoB%):

Every golfer that has contended at Silverado CC has had around 20 birdies for the week. As we know, birdies are very important when it comes to DraftKings scoring. Even if golfers don’t place that highly, they can still help your squad by making a ton of birdies. We saw this with Brooks Koepka and others last season and we even saw it a couple of years ago at Silverado. Tony Finau was a popular play in 2015 and disappointed with a 32nd place finish. Even though his finish was disappointing he still scored well on DraftKings due to his 19 birdies for the week.

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That’s it for this week. Sorry for the shorter write up but the delay in DK pricing put me on a time crunch. We’ll be back to normal next week. For more PGA DFS knowledge check out my Podcast. It’s called Fantasy Golf Degenerates and you can find it on iTunes. Make sure you check out the other golf DFS tools on RotoCurve including Jaebberwock’s weekly cheat sheet and the Albatrossier Spreadsheet, as it is the best in the business. Follow me on Twitter @KendoVT for more fantasy golf info! Good luck to everyone this week and hopefully you win big!

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