The Safeway Open is an event tailored to hardcore gamblers and DFS players. The star power is gone, as most of the game’s best sit out in anticipation of the U.S. Open next week. Instead, we get a lot of younger players and guys eager to get a win in a full-field event and pick up those important things like money and entries into major tournaments.
These are higher-risk, higher-reward types of events. Even the top guys on the salary board or the odds board are inconsistent and hard to trust. This is a week in which you probably want to take some gambles. We always look down the board at some value options, but that seems especially relevant this week.
Salaries are from DraftKings as we take a look at the Safeway Open DFS value picks:
Maverick McNealy ($7,300) – This is an event that has really put an emphasis on making putts. The course is short, which means that everybody has a great chance at GIRs, whether they hit the fairways or not. The poa annua putting surface is likely to decide a winner. Maverick McNealy is a great putter. McNealy finished ninth in SG: Putting last season and actually had a couple of top-10 finishes after the restart. In a field like this, McNealy has a lot of upside, especially if the flatstick is in form. He grew a lot as a player last season, so I wouldn’t let his 52nd, 63rd, 52nd stretch at this event cloud your judgment too much.
Troy Merritt ($7,100) – Troy Merritt is a guy that looks like a pretty good fit for this course and this event. Merritt was fourth here two years ago and also finished 15th back in 2017. He, too, had a couple top-10 finishes and was a respectable 30th in The Northern Trust before bowing out of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Merritt was 41st in driving accuracy last season and 23rd in SG: Putting. While this course is short and the rough is not overly penal, Merritt can still play fairways and greens have lots of birdie looks once he gets to these tough surfaces.
Chesson Hadley ($7,000) – Chesson Hadley is probably my favorite pick this week as a value play. These are tough poa annua putting surfaces and a lot of guys really don’t like to putt on them. One of the strongest parts of Hadley’s game has been proximity to the hole. He tied for 4th with Emiliano Grillo, who is a past winner here. Hadley was also 22nd in driving accurady during the season. Hadley squandered a lot of those short putts last season, but he was 23rd here. He was third three years ago. At this price point, he is definitely worthy of consideration.
Kristoffer Ventura ($7,000) – Kristoffer Ventura looked like a different player after the restart. He finished 21st, MC, 19th, and 37th and wound up finishing fourth in SG: Putting for the season. The rest of Ventura’s game certainly needs some work, but the 25-year-old third-year pro wound up being on the plus side is SG: OTT and 11th in birdie average. Ventura was the less-heralded teammate of Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff at Oklahoma State, but his game is growing as well. This isn’t a bad course for him because it is a forgiving track and he’s very good with the putter.