The PGA Tour never sleeps. The brief hibernation for last week’s Ryder Cup is in the past and now the players are out in Napa for the Safeway Open at Silverado Country Club to kick off the 2018-19 PGA Tour season. Only two of the final 30 FedEx Cup playoffs participants are on hand and only one guy that was at the Ryder Cup last week, so this is not one of the stronger fields that we will see this season.
But, it is the start to the new season and there are a lot of Web.com graduates and young players that are hungry for a win. This may be one of the best chances that they get without much star power in the field.
Chez Reavie ($7,600) – Chez Reavie is one of several players that regularly play this event, but he has been one of the more consistent golfers at Silverado. Reavie’s 13th-place finish last year was his high water mark for the last three years. He’s been in the top 25 in each of the last three Safeway Opens, so he is a decent grab this week at a very affordable price. Many of the players in this event played poorly to round out the 2017-18 season, so course form can be a pretty important factor, especially considering how some of these players have had more than a month off since their last event.
Sungjae Im ($7,000) – The 20-year-old South Korea native played in the US Open and the PGA Championship last season, but those were his only two PGA Tour events. On the Web.com Tour, Im won two events and had eight total top-10 finishes. He led the Web.com Tour in money earned this past season and will hit the ground running in the PGA Tour this year. He was fourth in average scoring behind Anders Albertson, Cameron Champ, and Joseph Bramlett. Sam Burns, who had some impressive PGA performances, was fifth. This next crop of PGA Tour players could be pretty solid, with Im’s development as a major factor in growing the game in Asia. With Asian events coming up, he’d like to work his way into the mix with a win or a top-10 showing here.
Brandon Harkins ($6,900) – Brandon Harkins is a safe pick on a guy that played really well overall last season. Harkins had three top-10 finishes on the year, but made 21 of 29 cuts. He got a little bit worn down late in the season, but Harkins tied for ninth in this event last year and actually played well in the West Coast events, including a top-10 finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge and a 12th at the Farmers Insurance Open. We’ve found that there are a lot of players that just perform well in California and Harkins could very well be one of them. He’s also a California native from Walnut Creek, which is less than an hour from this course. He’s a sneaky pick here and a sneaky pick at +10000 in the market.
Andrew Landry ($7,700) – Perhaps Andrew Landry sets up the same way. Landry won the Valero Texas Open last year, but he also played very well in California. He was seventh at the Safeway Open to begin the season and then finished second at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Torrey Pines got the best of him and he fell apart until getting that huge win at the Valero, but Landry had some flashes of brilliance amidst a lot of struggles last season. Two of his brightest flashes came in California. This price tag is a tad high for him, but in a weak field like this, we have to pay a little bit more for upside, even if it comes with a lot of inconsistency.
Chesson Hadley ($7,200) – Chesson Hadley had seven top-10 finishes last season. He opened the season by finishing third, second, and fourth in the Safeway Open, Sanderson Farms Championship, and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He was fifth in Phoenix. He caught a second wind in the middle of the season, but missed five cuts in his last 10 events and was a non-factor in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Hadley, though, got off to a great start last season and is priced really well for a guy with a top-five finish here last year and one of the highest made cut rates in this field.