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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Safeway Open

It is amazing how quickly fortunes can change. Just last month, Sebastian Munoz was fighting to keep his PGA Tour card at the Wyndham Championship but was able to conclude the event ranked 124th out of 125 qualifying players, barely retaining his membership. After his victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship, Munoz is now exempt on tour through the 2022 season.

While golf doesn't have practically any offseason whatsoever to speak of, these fall events are important for this very reason. Up-and-coming players are able to not only gain experience but also provide themselves with PGA Tour freedom going forward if they are able to find the winners circle in sometimes limited fields.

However, this week's Safeway Open isn't one of those insufficient player pools. Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott will all be making a trip to Napa Valley Wine Country and will be looking to begin their 2020 campaigns with a little success of their own. Will we be able to find value on the card this week? Let's get into our research.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots.  Sign Up Now!

2019 Safeway Open

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course.

Silverado Resort & Spa

7,166 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Poa Annua

Opened in 1957, Silverado Resort and Spa has undergone a few restorations over the years, which includes re-designs by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 1967 and Johnny Miller in 2014, as well as a reconstruction of the course in 2017-2018 after fires damaged the property and put last year's event in jeopardy.

The venue has tight fairways, making the tree-lined facility difficult if you find the rough off the tee. Water does come into play on a few holes, and some deep fairway bunkers could cause golfers an issue if they are wayward with their first shot.

The greens range around an 11 on the Stimpmeter, which is slow by tour standards and the Poa Annua surfaces do have shaved run-offs if shots aren't hit into the right location. By no means is this course as easy as you would expect for being held at a place known for wine, but that doesn't mean players can't produce birdies in bunches. Since being moved to Napa Valley, the winning score has been between 14-under and 18-under par, making it a difficult but gettable test for golfers that are firing on all cylinders.

Safeway Open

#1 Hideki Matsuyama 16/1

DK Price $10,500, FD Price $11,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 16.4%

I find it rather shocking that Hideki Matsuyama was not able to win on tour during the 2019 calendar season, especially during the latter portion of the year. The narrative around the Japanese sensation has always been that he is an inferior putter compared to his counterparts, but the 27-year-old managed to gain strokes putting in 10 of his last 13 trackable tournaments. Add that to the fact that Matsuyama also has gained strokes in 17 of 20 events off the tee and 18 of 20 with his irons, and you begin to realize that the 26th-ranked player in the world underachieved to his level of play.

Matsuyama is going to be a popular selection in Napa Valley this weekend, but with three top-17 results, including two top-three finishes since 2013 at this tournament (his 2013 T3 result came at CordeValle Golf Club), the five-time PGA Tour winner has an opportunity to end his nearly two-year winning drought. Matsuyama's scoring average in eight career rounds at Silverado Resort is 69.25.

#2 Brandt Snedeker 33/1

DK Price $9,600, FD Price $10,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 8.4%

Last year's runner-up to Kevin Tway in a playoff, Brandt Snedeker returns to the scene of the crime, with hopes that he can outdo his performance by one position this season. Snedeker has been one of the best players in the world on Poa greens, ranking 24th on tour at 1.952 strokes gained since 2014, and his recent results have shown that he is a threat anytime he tees it up under those conditions.

The 38-year-old has been on record about his infinity for the grass type, calling it his "favorite surface," and it has shown with his results at this event in the past. A 45th place finish to begin his season at the Sanderson Farms Championship was not quite the route that the top-ranked player in that particular field would have preferred to take after stating that he wanted to get off to a "fast start" for his 2020 campaign, but this week's Safeway Open should provide him a great possibility to quickly bounce back and find some of that good early-season form he has been hoping to discover.

#3 Kevin Na 50/1

DK Price $9,000, FD Price $10,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 9.5%

Kevin Na at 50/1 is one of my biggest mispricings of the week. I have him labeled as a 33/1 option to take home the title, but I will gladly grab an extra 17 points on the 36-year-old golfer.

Like Brandt Snedeker, Na has proven to be a bit of a Poa specialist, ranking 25th on tour since 2014 with 1.929 strokes gained per round. In fact, when I ran a statistical model over at, the 37th-ranked player in the world graded out first on Poa surfaces, finishing inside the top 15 compared to the field in his past 50 rounds in strokes gained putting, birdies or better gained, par-four scoring between 400-450 yards and sand saves. For a player that has posted three top-40 results at Silverado Resort since 2015, including two top-seven finishes, I am moderately surprised Na is only projected to be 9.5% owned, but I guess it does make some sense given his somewhat hefty price tag on DraftKings of $9,000. I view him as a contrarian GPP option to consider and an outright wager at his current odds.

#4 Phil Mickelson 66/1

DK Price $8,200, FD Price $9,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.5%

It is going to be difficult for bettors and DFS players to overlook Phil Mickelson’s form to end last season. The 44-time PGA Tour winner produced ten straight tournaments without a finish better than a share of 48th place, but the month-long break should do wonders for the 49-year-old mentally and physically.

With its tree-lined fairways, Silverado Resort wouldn't exactly be what the doctor ordered to try and fix Mickelson's current woes, but the 43rd-ranked player in the world has found success at the venue in recent years. His past three results of 17th, third and eighth would make you think that driving accuracy might not be as prominent as some experts are leading you to believe, which is evident by Mickelson hitting just four fairways during a round here a few seasons ago but still breaking 70. At this point, Mickelson is only a boom-or-bust option, but 66/1 is worth a flier that the future Hall of Famer can strike lightning in a bottle once again.

Key Stats: Birdie or Better Percentage 25%, Total Driving 25%, Par-Four Average 17.5%, Proximity 100-150 Yards 17.5% and Par-Five BOB Percentage 15%

50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee -110
Cameron Percy $6,900 price tag on DraftKings vs. Danny Lee $6,900 price tag
Cameron Percy 6.4 percent projected ownership vs. Danny Lee 3.7 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to Win 1.00 Units

We discussed last week how there wasn't much head-to-head value on the card at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but we were luckily able to pull out a rather easy victory after Denny McCarthy (-110) defeated Martin Laird (-110). This week at the Safeway Open, I have similar sentiments about the options we have at our disposal, but there is enough value on Cameron Percy (-110) to defeat Danny Lee (-110) that we can take a shot at trying to extend our early season run to 2-0.

Danny Lee has been solid at this event in the past, making both cuts at Silverado Resort - including a share of 10th place last season, so why are we looking to oppose him with a 45-year-old journeyman from Australia? For starters, Lee's form coming into the tournament this season is much different than in years past, and I do believe we have a small opening to take on the 138th-ranked golfer in the world and hope he misses the cut.

In Lee's previous 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks 73rd in par-four scoring between 400 to 500 yards, 107th in fairways gained and 123rd in putting. I worry ever so slightly that the slower greens might allow Lee to find more of a rhythm to his game than he has had recently, but after losing strokes putting in his last six events and eight of his previous nine, I think this is a situation where we are able to get some of Lee's past course history baked into his current price. There isn't too much of an implied probability advantage here at only 3.2%, but it is the most I can find on the card against an opponent that features the missed cut potential I am trying to find.

2020 Head-to-Head Record (1-0-0)

+1.00 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets


Head-to-Head Bet


My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish



Sanderson Farms

Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T18 (-11)

MC (+4)



2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

None through one event.


Career Record: 

2017 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets (10-2-2) +8.175 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Dustin Johnson Genesis Open (10/1)
Sergio Garcia Masters (50/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open (45/1)
Justin Thomas PGA Championship (35/1)
Dustin Johnson Northern Trust (14/1)

2018 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(46-24-2) +24.49 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico (22/1)
Bubba Watson WGC- Match Play (45/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open In-Play Wager (14/1)
Dustin Johnson RBC Canadian Open (7/1)
Justin Thomas WGC-Bridgestone (30/1)

2019 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(16-9-2) +8.33 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Golf Classic (66/1)
Corey Conners Valero Texas Open (200/1)
Rory McIlroy RBC Canadian Open  (10/1)
Brooks Koepka WGC- St. Jude Classic (12/1)
Rory McIlroy Tour Championship (8/1)

Career Record (Excluding 2020 Season Results):

Head to Head Bets (72-35-6) +40.995 Units
Outright Winners (15)
Top 5s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 16
2019 - 26
Top 10s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 31
2019 - 41




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