Venue: Silverado Resort & Spa, Napa, California
Date: October 4-7, 2018
Course stats: Par 72; 7,166 yards
Purse: $6.4 million (£4.9m)
Defending champion: Brendan Steele (-12)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30pm
Safeway Open preview
Just two weeks after the last one ended, the new PGA Tour season begins this week in the Golden State.
For us golf fans, it certainly seems that a longer break would be welcome. But for the players that are teeing it up this week having just clung onto their tour cards, this represents a chance to start the season off with a bang and build up some momentum for when the big events next year swing by.
Just look at Patton Kizzire last year: 2017 was littered with more missed cuts than top-20 finishes, yet he found form at the beginning of the wraparound season and went on to win twice in the space of four starts. He played poorly for the rest of the 2018 season, but those two wins at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 were enough to cling on to a spot in the season-ending Tour Championship alongside 29 of the PGA Tour’s best.
Even Brendan Steele, last year’s winner, came into the week having not finished inside the top-20 in an event since the end of June. It just shows that, while it may not feel like it to us fans, for the players this week is viewed as a chance to start afresh.
Safeway Open betting tips
Web.com Tour graduates are always worth a look here at the season opener, and I’m immediately drawn to Sungjae Im (100/1, 6 places).
This 20-year-old Korean looks an absolute star in the making having impressed on the Japan Golf Tour before making the trip to the United States at the beginning of the year, winning on his very first start on the Web.com Tour in the Bahamas.
The following week, Im very nearly went back to back, with Adam Svensson edging him out by one shot to prevent what would’ve been a dream start to life on the Web.com.
The rest of the season was fairly up and down, with six missed cuts but also plenty of top 10s, including a further two runner-up finishes at the Knoxville Open and Pinnacle Bank Championship.
He then bagged his second win in Portland a couple of months ago and, with a PGA Tour card already locked up, there was no need for him to play at the Tour Championship two weeks ago.
Sang-moon Bae, a fellow Korean, won around this golf course four years ago, and while Bae holds plenty of credentials himself, especially after winning the Albertsons Boise Open a few weeks ago, it’s Im that I prefer at a triple-figure price.
So that is who our tipster is backing for glory, but where does he think some serious profit can be made? And who is he backing to make a spectacular return to winning ways? Find out on the next page…