Safeway Open PGA Tour Preview

Author
by Mark Knight
September 24th 2019, 3:15am

Sebastian Munoz won the Sanderson Farms last week, winning a playoff against Korean player Sung_Jae Im. The Colombian shot a final round 70 to hold his nerve and win the first main event of the new PGA year.

A 3rd round 63 did the damage, and he managed to hold on to get over the line in front come Sunday afternoon. Munoz is another player to keep an eye on, he played consistently well last week and his win had been coming – having finished 7th the week before.

TOurnament Winner

The Course

This week we move to California, to the Silverado Country Club in Napa. A short (7166 yard) par 72. This parkland course opened in 1957 but has undergone extensive re-designs since then – most notably in 2014. Silverado is now a challenging course that tests all aspects of a player’s game, where no one individual stat jumps out as being of significance.

Deep bunkers guard many greens, and tight, tree-lined fairways make this course a significant test. 

With this in mind, it is worth concentrating on those at the top of their game, and we have a number of world-class players appearing here this week. 

The Field

American players tend to go well here – recent winners include Kevin Na (2018) and Brendan Steele (2017,2016). Before that, Emiliano Grillo won the event in 2015. Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott all line up here this week. Add to that, names including Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk and it is clear that a deep field has been assembled for the event. 

Of the big names mentioned, Phil Mickelson has the best course form, reading (17,3,8) – but at 49 years old and with no real recent form to go on he can be readily discounted. Thomas and Cantlay have not played since the Tour Championships, and may both need a few weeks to get back into it, whilst Matsuyama has not won for some time and can also be overlooked. 

The suggestion is to go with the form players on Tour early in the season. As a result – Sung-Jae Im stands out as being a fantastic bet this week. Last year he made his course debut at Silverado, finishing an excellent 4th. 

As mentioned, he was just touched off last week, losing the playoff to Munoz – that disappointment may not last long though. He is a great all-round player, ranking 5th on Tour with strokes gained putting, and in the top 10 with total scoring average. Take Sung-Jae IM a being a player to strongly consider this week.

Kevin Na is another player who stands out. Na did not play in this event last year, but the 3 years prior to that saw him finish (37,7,2). A 14th place finish at the Greenbrier two weeks ago shows that he is in good touch – and he is a player who can make a bold show again this week. 

Summary

In the first event to attract the real big names of the year, it may be worth focussing on recent form. Sung-Jae Im and Kevin Na are both players in good form, and have shown they have the game to handle Silverado.