THE first tournament of this season’s PGA Tour is the Safeway Open at the Silverado Resort (North Course) in California with three of the top 25 World Tour ranking players – Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Matt Kuchar – taking part.
GIR and scrambling could be important on this course with maybe driving accuracy also worth a look.
Standout for this week has to be Paul Casey. The finish he had to the last season in the Fed-Ex plus his stats all add up to a perfect pick.
He has a GIR stat of 70.80%, scrambling 61.44% and driving accuracy 64.67%. Casey has never played Silverado but not sure that is going to be a problem.
Last year Emiliano Grillo won the Frys.com Open here at the second extra hole. It was his first start on the PGA Tour after winning the Web.com Tour Championship two weeks previously.
He has had a superb first season, finishing 11th in the Fed-Ex standings. In his third round last year he hit a bogey-free seven-under 65 which included five birdies and an eagle. With stats of GIR 68.52%, scrambling 55.10% and driving accuracy 66.93% he looks a good fit for another finish here.
Runner-up last year Kevin Na had a brilliant autumn and followed that result with a T2 and T3 in his next two tournaments. He won the Shriners in 2011 and was expected to progress but hasn’t won since then. He also has good stats with GIR 66.73%, scrambling 58.53% and driving accuracy 65.30% and I am expecting him to be fighting it out on Sunday.
I wasn’t going to pick a fourth player but every time I look at the field my eyes are drawn to Jon Rahm. This is his first official start as a full PGA Tour player although he had a T2 at the RBC Canadian Open and a third in the Quicken Loans National last season. His stats are also good with GIR of 68.15%, scrambling 59.30% and DA 61.19% so will have a small wager on him.