Sands on Dustin Johnson’s epic run, what a US Open win would mean
A new PGA Tour season is upon us.
Just three days after Dustin Johnson won the Tour Championship for his first career FedEx Cup title, a new campaign starts in Napa, Calif., this week.
With the second major of the year being contested next week at the U.S. Open, many of the top players have decided to skip this week’s Safeway Open at Silverado Country Club's North Course.
Just five of the top-50 players in the world rankings are teeing it up.
Brendan Steele, who went back-to-back here in both 2016 and 2017, is the betting favourite to win outright at +1800.
Phil Mickelson and Si Woo Kim are right behind Steele at +2000.
With most big names electing not to play, this tournament is wide open.
Here is our first look at the field for the Safeway Open.
Betting Odds To Win The Safeway Open – Top-15
Brendan Steele +1800
Phil Mickelson +2000
Si Woo Kim +2000
Shane Lowry +2200
Sergio Garcia +2500
Joel Dahmen +2500
Jordan Spieth +2800
Chez Reavie +2800
Emiliano Grillo +2800
Harold Varner III +3000
Doc Redman +3300
Erik van Rooyen +3000
Cameron Davis +3300
Kevin Streelman +3500
Brandt Snedeker +4000
Buyer Beware With Mickelson
Despite winning 44 times on the PGA Tour in his Hall-of-Fame career, Phil Mickelson is far too inconsistent to trust at +2000 odds to win outright.
Lefty has been all over the map in 2020, despite winning in his PGA Tour Champions debut three weeks ago on the over-50 circuit.
In 13 events this year, Mickelson has missed six cuts.
He's also had pedestrian T-71, T-58 and T-54 showings.
At the Travelers Championship in late June, he led after 36 holes before fading to a tie for 24th.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, he did post back-to-back third-place showings way back in February.
Lefty also shockingly tied for second at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational three starts ago.
He has had some success on this track in the past.
In 2017, he finished tied for third.
The year prior, it was a T-8th showing.
Which Mickelson will show up this week? It's anybody's guess.
He's still out hitting bombs, but in nine of his twelve tour events this year he's lost strokes to the field.
Add it all up and it's hard to expect him to outlast the field over the course of 72 holes.
Kim Much Better Value
Starting the week with the exact same +2000 odds as Mickelson is Si Woo Kim.
He's been consistent, making nine straight cuts.
His closest call to victory came two starts ago when he was the 54-hole leader at the Wyndham Championship.
Kim eventually would settle for a tie for third.
Kim has been striping the ball, gaining strokes on his competitors' tee-to-green in five straight tournaments.
In the last three events, he's gained an incredible 26.5 combined shots on the field in that category.
He's also shot in the 60s in nine of his last 12 rounds.
Against an inferior field, he has an opportunity to close out his first victory since the 2017 Players Championship.
Listed at +2500, it’s somewhat surprising that the 25-year-old doesn’t have shorter odds.
Past Five Winners of the Safeway Open
2019: Cameron Champ -17
2018: Kevin Tway -14 (Playoff)
2017: Brendan Steele -15
2016: Brendan Steele -18
2015: Emiliano Grillo -15 (Playoff)
FORE YOUR INFORMATION
Horse For This Course?
Brendan Steele +1800
At first blush, betting favourite Brendan Steele is worth a long look this week.
Anytime you win this tournament in back-to-back years, like he did in both 2016 and 2017, you’re going to demand some attention.
Strangely, he's followed that up the last two years with less than impressive results at this track.
In 2018, he finished tied for 53rd.
Then last year, he was even worse – T-60th.
Which Steele will we get at Silverado Country Club? The one who dominated two years in a row, or the one who had two so-so finishes?
He has made seven straight cuts entering this week, though he's posted just one top-10.
In a tournament that's a total toss-up, it might be worth taking a chance on Steele to rediscover the magic he showed here in 2016 and 2017.
Under the radar
Branden Grace +10000
If you're looking for a long shot that could click, Branden Grace looks like an excellent option.
The nine-time European Tour winner and 2016 RBC Heritage champ hasn't had his best stuff if you look at his results in the last six events – five missed cuts and one WD.
However, just two tournaments ago he was in a tie for second after 36 holes at the Barracuda Championship, showing that his game was coming back to life.
He then tested positive for COVID-19, which forced him to pull out of the event.
Grace has still been striking the ball well, gaining strokes tee-to-green in nine of his last 12 tour stops.
As far as long-shot bets you could make a pretty penny on, a healthy Grace might very well be your man this week.
*All Betting Information appears as listed by Caesars Casino & Sportsbook on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020
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