Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Safeway Open

The Safeway Open is up next on the PGA Tour calendar. What does wine country have in store this week?

The fall swing heads west this week for the Safeway Open in Napa Valley, and some household names are making their 2019-20 season debut. With a few large purses in Asia plus the President's Cup looming, the world's best have enjoyed their brief reprieve and are ready to get back to work. A few will tee it up at the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa this week.

Last year, Kevin Tway won in a playoff over Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker, and that combo of golfers is about as perplexing a trio as you're like to see at any single event. Tway is a bomber who ranked inside the top-25 in driving distance, while Moore and Sneds were outside the top-150 in distance. Moore is an irons specialist, ranking 16th in strokes gained: approach last season compared to 81st and 92nd for Tway and Snedeker, respectively. And Snedeker is the short game master, ranking 3rd in strokes gained: around the green and 12th in strokes gained: putting last year. Tway and Moore...let's just say they aren't known for their putting.

So we have three unique styles that played well here last year and found the top of the leaderboard. We'll focus on some key stats later on, but keep in mind that golf in general is a fickle game and specifically at this course there are many paths to victory. Aggressiveness will be key, as the field routinely bombs it an average of over 300 yards despite lowest accuracy percentages on Tour. Last year, only 53.65% of drives ended up in the fairway, though notably Moore led the field at over 67%.

The Napa weather is prone to wild swings in temperature throughout the day, with the mornings damp and chilly and the afternoons hot and sunny. For example, on Saturday September 21, the low in the morning was 50 degrees, and it got up to 88 in the afternoon. The course will play much softer in the morning, so be sure to check the weather mid-week to see if one wave may have an advantage in their afternoon time.

Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.

Course and Tournament Info

Course: Silverado Resort and Spa North
Par: 72
Distance: 7,166 yards
Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass
Greens: Poa Annua

SeasonParYardageAverageO/U Par AvgRank

Typically a par 72 that is only 7,166 yards would be ripped to shreds, but Silverado has respectably held its ground over the past four years. The field makes plenty of birdies, but there are just not that many eagles here. Of full field events at par 72 courses, only the Memorial yielded fewer eagles.

Bogeys are out there as well, as golfers made the 13th-most of any course on Tour last year. The course is no pushover, and the winner will need to get to about 15-under par.

The Pebble rotation naturally comes to mind with poa greens and tight fairways. Torrey Pines is another California venue that rewards distance over precision off the tee. Finally, TPC Scottsdale is a West Coast track that averages over 300 yards in driving distance and is in the bottom third in accuracy. Comparing performance at the Safeway Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open reveals a lot of overlap in which golfers succeed.

Key Stats

These stats will be key to success in the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa North.

Key Stats for the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa North
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
Strokes Gained: Approach
Birdies or Better Gained
Bogeys Avoided
Strokes Gained: Par 5s

Approach deserves special consideration given how sustainable iron performance is, but as evidenced by the top of the leaderboard last year, it is worth looking at golfers who can succeed in a variety of ways so as not to exclude any viable candidates.

Strokes gained: tee to green can point us toward golfers who are capable of either gaining in all facets or gaining so substantially in one area to make up for the others. Strokes gained: approach is still worth parsing separately, as top-10 finishers ultimately gain more strokes via approach than off the tee and around the green combined, according to statistics from Fantasy National Golf Club.

The birdies and bogeys discussion is covered above -- this course yields a fair amount of both, and we want golfers who can post a number and that includes nailing the birdie opportunities and saving par when they need to.

As is the case at any par 72, performance on the par 5s will be a key this week. Silverado is about middle of the pack in terms of par 5 scoring, but the four par 5s still have the four highest birdie rates at this course.

Course History Studs

Brendan Steele was T53 last year, but prior to that was the two-time defending champion. It will be no surprise that Steele also has four finishes of T6 or better at our top course comparison, TPC Scottsdale.

Phil Mickelson has made the trip to Napa each of the last three years and has finishes of T17, T3, and T8.

In addition to Moore's runner-up finish last year, he finished T17 in the 2018 season (fall 2017) and T10 in 2016.

Kevin Na skipped this event last year but has finished T37, 7th and 2nd in three trips to Silverado.

Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.