Thank God for golf to help get us through the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic and to give us as sports fans some return to a new normal. The FedEx Cup Playoffs made for dramatic television and exciting competition, culminating in the Tour Championship with Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Xander Schauffele, duking it out at East Lake Country Club. Ultimately with Dustin Johnson dominating the last three events of the season to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup Playoffs.
This week kicks off the start of the new season and will be a little anticlimactic as most of the top players are taking the week off in preparation for next week’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot. However, this week’s field does feature several major championship and many former PGA Tour winners and will whet our appetite for the super season with the U.S. Open and Masters being contested in the next four weeks. The Safeway Open is headlined by Si Woo Kim ($10,800 DK $11,700 FD), Phil Mickelson ($10,600 DK $11,800 FD), Matt Kuchar ($10,400 DK $12,000 FD), Shane Lowry ($10,200 DK $11,500 FD), Brendan Steele ($10,000 DK $11,400 FD), Sergio Garcia ($9,900 DK $11,500 FD), and Jordan Spieth ($9,800 DK $11,300 FD).
This week at (Silverado Resort and Spa North Course ) it will be playing to a Par 72 at 7,203 yards. Silverado North was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and has received numerous updates over the last decade from Johnny Miller, who is one of the Silverado Resort owners. Silverado North Course is not long but will demand being in the fairway off the tee, as there are several dogleg holes and large redwood and oak trees that are strategically located throughout, the rough is expected to be three to four inches and getting angles at hole locations will be required to play it aggressively. The greens will be firm and fast and are a combination of poa annua and bent grass. On a course of this layout I believe it will favor the competitors that hit at least 10 of 14 fairways each day, play precise mid and short iron approaches close to the hole, and putt their best on poa annua/bent grass greens. In other words, those that play their best this week, will have a well-rounded game and they will be comfortable and confident on a West Coast parkland style golf course.
The weather forecast for Thursday through Sunday calls for temperature highs between 85 – 88 degrees. The chance of precipitation is only 10 percent throughout the event and if seen at all, it will be in the form of early morning fog or a quick late afternoon thundershower. The wind will likely be a factor this week as it will range from nine to twelve miles per hour with gusts that can be difficult to predict and adversely affected the scoring at last year’s event during the final round. The earlier starting times the first two rounds will likely have an advantage over the later times as the wind typically picks up after 11:00 A.M. Cameron Champ is the defending champion with a 271 total, -17 under par, but is not in the field this week having qualified for next week’s U.S. Open. Former Safeway Open champions since being played at Silverado Resort in the field this week include; Kevin Tway 2018 ($6,600 DK $7,600 FD), Brendan Steele 2017 and 2016 ($10,000 DK $11,400 FD), Emiliano Grillo 2015 ($9,700 DK $11,200 FD). This first week of the new season is primarily a top-heavy draft, but members will receive weekly sleeper picks that can make your lineup unique and turn it into a winner, adding to the obvious statistical analysis choices with deeper research and the eyeball test. These details and trends from the entire field are only possible to come from an experienced golf coach that goes beyond the numbers and reaches the depth and breadth of the competitor and person to be out in front of positive results.
There are several quality picks that are very undervalued throughout the field, but especially in the B-List grouping that have stellar performance records, have played well recently on similar style golf courses and will emerge as players to watch to win, not just to make the cut. Pick two of these, as I did last week, with McKinzie Hughes and you could be cashing a three to six figure ticket. Come to the other side of the Paywall and be enlightened.
A-List DFS Picks at Safeway Open: 2020
With a large 150 player field and a diluted A-List of competitors it will be difficult to develop a winning lineup or to select even five of six to make the cut. So, I would suggest going with four players of the first 37 in salary rankings, those that have some experience and success on this course. The most obvious choice here is Brendan Steele ($10,000 DK $11,400 FD), and a sleeper and good value is Danny Lee ($8,300 DK $9,800 FD) with his strokes gained in recent weeks on approach, putting on poa annua/bent grass greens, and being a good wind player.
B-List DFS Picks at Safeway Open: 2020
Tom Hoge ($6,900 DK $8,500 FD) emerged as a force to reckon with at The PGA
Championship and then followed that up with solid play early in the FedEx Cup Playoffs but started too far back to make it to the Tour Championship. He will be a player that is a good value at this price to make the cut. An even better value in the B-List is Nick Watney ($6,800 DK $8,100 FD), who has had success at Silverado T-10 in 2019, putts his best on poa annua greens, flights his ball well in the wind, and will feel comfortable here being close to home.
C-List DFS Picks at Safeway Open: 2020
I would include the whole bottom half of the field in this grouping, with most of this lot being players not having many recent competitive reps, coming off injury exemptions and they are trying to find their competitive form. I would choose a player in this grouping that is young and hungry that has shown great potential as an amateur or young touring professional such as Sahith Theegala ($6,100 DK $7,000 FD) or a seasoned veteran such as Stewart Cink ($6,300 DK $7,500 FD) who is healthy and has been consistently making cuts, which will allow you to invest more in your top four sure fire picks.
While these are a few teasers for this week, more in depth analysis and justification for my recommended lineup plays, or don’t play this week, are exclusively available for members of DFSExperts.com. Send us any fodder for the “Wall of Fame” including screenshots. We will put them up on social and proclaim you the DFS champion of the world. Good luck, and Golf On!
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