The field for this week’s Safeway Open will host a few top-ranked players like Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott and Patrick Cantlay, but also welcome other top athletes playing in the Pro-AM like three-time NBA champion, Stephen Curry and CBS NFL Analyst, Tony Romo. Romo, who is +600000 to win, will also be competing in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption along with other players making their season debut like Phil Mickelson, Francesco Mollinari and Collin Morikawa. The average odds of the past five winners is +5900; taking some longshots here might not be a bad idea. Here are my favorites for the week leading up to the tournament.
Round 4 Bet: Best Score – Round: Johnny Vegas (+120) over Harold Varner III (-106)I backed Vegas pre-tournament on DraftKings and now backing him again in the final round due to his solid ball-striking throughout the tournament, and ranking eighth in SG: Approach-the-Green in the third round. Varner has been electric off-the-tee, ranking third in the field so far, and he has done well on the par-5s, so he might be tough to beat in the final round. Still, Vegas now has back-to-back rounds gaining strokes with his irons, while Varner has ranked outside the top-100 in the first two rounds and 41st in the third round.
Round 3 Bet: Corey Conners Top Five +3300; Top 10 +900This is somewhat of a long shot with Conners only hitting 50% of his fairways in the second round and ranking 47th in SG: Putting heading into the weekend, but he ranks ninth in SG: Ball Striking and first in SG: Off-the-Tee over his first two rounds. Conners ranked just inside the top 35 in Birdies or Better Gained, 15th in Par Five scoring and second in SG: Approach The Green over his past three tournaments coming into this week. For the risk-averse, go with the top 10, but a top five could be in reach with how well he’s hitting his irons.
Round 2 Bet: Best Score – Round: Nick Taylor (+120) over Charley Hoffman (+100)Both Taylor and Hoffman played decent by hitting the same number of fairways in the first round, but Taylor’s ball-striking ranked 26th compared to Hoffman, who finished 43rd. Hoffman couldn’t find the greens, hitting 11% less than Taylor, and when Hoffman was on the greens, either in regulation or to save par, he couldn’t convert, losing 0.11 strokes.
Beyong Hun-An to Win +3000‘Benny An’ gained an impressive 4.2 strokes on the greens last week, the highest he’s earned since the Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) back in 2017. He’s such a solid ball striker that when he has an average to above average putting week, he’s most likely in contention; he finished third last week, his second third place in his previous five tournaments (finished sixth at 2017 WMPO). Hun-An brings the necessary skill set to Napa Valley ranking ninth in SG: Ball-Striking, 30th in birdie or better gained and 23rd in SG: Off-the-tee over his last 24 rounds. He’s too good of a ball-striker to not have won on the PGA TOUR yet.
Phil Mickelson to Win +7000 | Top-Five +1200Mickelson finished his last six tournaments of the 2019 season with three missed cuts and no better than a 48th at The BMW Championship. In other words, his play was awful. He should be rested from his time off (and energized by his newfound social media fame) and arrives in Napa Valley looking fit and ready for a new season. His current form won’t provide any sort of confidence coming into this week, but he’s recorded no worse than a 17th over his last three years with a top-10 in 2016 and a third place back in 2017. We also get Mickelson back on poa this week, the putting surface he’s excelled on throughout his career as well as the surface he’s claimed his most recent wins (2018 WGC-Mexico Championship, 2019 AT&T Pro-Am).
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