The new PGA season starts on Thursday, with the Silverado course in Napa, California hosting the Safeway Open.
This is a twisting, tree-lined course, but the rough is not much of a penalty so long drivers are at an advantage. That said, the list of recent winners includes a wide variety of players, from the athletic long hitting of Cameron Champ to the more accurate iron play of Kevin Na.
Favourite for this event is Phil Mickelson, and he could play well given the rough shouldn’t penalise his wayward drives too heavily. However, he’s over 50 now and we’ll pass.
Instead we’re going to side with Brendan Steele. This event has practically been a benefit gig for the American – he’s won here twice and is the leader in strokes gained over the last 10 years. He’s been playing well in tough fields, and must have a chance this week.
Our second pick is a player we’ve been waiting to select for some time, Jordan Speith. The three-times major winner has a very disappointing year, but this could mark a new start.
At his best Speith is an accurate ball striker who putts like a demigod. His driving has been letting him down, but hopefully the lack of serious rough can keep him out of trouble.
Turning to Europe, the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course hosts the Portugal Masters.
This course couldn’t play more differently than the torture Valderrama offered up last week. It’s pretty simple – pull out the driver and let fly.
Julian Suri has been in our watch list all year (shortened as it has been), and he finally showed some form at the Belfry a couple of weeks ago. Driving has been the problem all year, but he’s now at a wide open, long course….and at 110/1!!
Steele to win the Safeway Open, 1 pt, at 22/1, widely available
Speith 0.5 pts each way at the Safeway Open at 30/1, 1/5 the odds for the first eight places, William Hill
Suri 0.5 pts each way at Portugal Masters at 110/1, 1/4 the odds for the first five places, bet365