Safeway open

The 2020-21 PGA Tour season begins at the Safeway Open. Photo from @PGATOUR (Twitter)

  • The Safeway Open from Napa, California tees off Thursday September 10th
  • This is the final tuneup before the year’s second major next week – the US Open at Winged Foot
  • We’ve narrowed down the golfers with the best chance of emerging victorious and provided the best value bets below

After Dustin Johnson won his first career FedEx Cup title at the Tour Championship Monday, the 2020-21 PGA Tour season begins just three short days later at the Safeway Open. This tournament does not boast many of the big names – as most have decided to take the week off following the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

This event does provide golfers the last chance to tune up their games before this year’s second major – the US Open from Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.

With many of the big guns opting not to compete in Napa, California, that leaves Phil Mickelson, who recently won on the Champions Tour, and Si Woo Kim as the betting favorites to win a tournament that is wide open.

2020 Safeway Open Odds

Golfer Odds at DraftKings
Phil Mickelson +2200
Si Woo Kim +2200
Brendan Steele +2600
Sergio Garcia +2800
Joel Dahmen +2800
Jordan Spieth +3000
Harold Varner III +3000
Shane Lowry +3300
Emiliano Grillo +3500
Chez Reavie +3500
Kevin Streelman +4000
Brandt Snedeker +4500
Luke List +4500
Erik van Rooyen +4500
Doc Redman +4500
Cameron Davis +4500
Mark Hubbard +5000
Denny McCarthy +5000
Talor Gooch +5000
Sam Burns +5500

Odds taken September 8th

Mickelson Fresh off Champions Tour Win

At this point in his career, Phil Mickelson should not be considered a favorite in any PGA Tour event, despite him posting T-3 and T-8 finishes at this tournament in 2017 and 2016. He is coming off a victory in his first Champions Tour event three weeks ago, so he’s at least got the winning feeling again.

This is Lefty’s final chance to get his game sharp for next week’s US Open, the only major that’s eluded him with his six career runner-up finishes. Perhaps the most famous occurred in 2006, when he let a lead slip away on the last hole at Winged Foot– he’ll have a chance to atone for that blunder next week.

While it would be a fantastic story if wins the US Open, it would also be fairly surprising if he won this week, even though he did finish T-2nd at last month’s WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational. In nine of twelve PGA Tour events this year, Mickelson has lost strokes to the field, and other than that T-2, hasn’t been better than T-24th in his last nine tour events. I’d rather put my money elsewhere on someone more consistent.

Last Five Safeway Open Winners

Year Winner
2019 Cameron Champ
2018 Kevin Tway
2017 Brendan Steele
2016 Brendan Steele
2015 Emiliano Grillo

Safeway Open Best Value Picks

  1. Harold Varner III (+3000): Due to finally break out on the big stage. Finished T-7th in his second last time teeing it up where he gained 9.9 shots on the field tee-to-green. The week before at the PGA Championship, he gained 7.5 shots in that same category. Three of last four years has been steady on this track, posting three top-20 finishes.
  2. Mark Hubbard (+5000): Has made the cut in all nine tournaments that he’s finished since the tour came back (one WD). Had a T-13th showing at last year’s Safeway Open. Has gained strokes on the field putting in eleven straight tournaments.
  3. Kevin Tway (+30000): Winner of this tournament just two years ago, Tway finds himself as an extreme long shot this week. Not much to like about the current state of his game with him missing ten of his last eleven cuts. He’s had the last month off to iron out the kinks, and perhaps he can strike lightning in a bottle at a course that netted him his first tour title in 2018.
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