2020 Safeway Open Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter the Most at Silverado?

2020 Safeway Open Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter the Most at Silverado? article feature image
Credit:

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images. Pictured: 18th green at SIlverado Country Club.

The 2020-21 PGA TOUR season kicks off in Napa Valley at the Silverado Resort and Spa on Thursday.

The first edition of the Safeway Open took place in October 2016, and this will be the fifth iteration of the tournament, although Silverado’s North Course has been featured on the PGA TOUR since 1968 under different sponsors.

The course is a par 72, measuring at 7,166 yards. Silverado features poa annua greens that can be tricky, especially as the surface becomes bumpier in the afternoon. The tree-lined fairways aren’t easy to hit, but the rough shouldn’t be exceedingly penal. Shorter hitters are in play on this relatively short course, and accuracy will be at a premium. Historically, one of the North Course’s defenses will be tightly tucked pin placement, so effective shot shaping and a higher ball flight may be an advantage this week.

Past Winners

  • 2019: Cameron Champ (-17)
  • 2018: Kevin Tway (-14) (defeated Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore in a playoff)
  • 2017: Brendan Steele -15 (2)
  • 2016: Brendan Steele -18

Let’s take a look at several key metrics for Silverado to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.


GolfBet

 


Strokes Gained: Approach

SG: Approach tells us how close a golfer is getting to the hole on his approach to the green. This is often a strong indicator of which golfers are in the best form heading into any given tournament.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brendan Steele (+20.2) (+2800)
  2. Jason Dufner  (+20.0) (+12500)
  3. Cameron Tringale (+19.7) (+7000)
  4. Si Woo Kim (+19.5) (+2000)
  5. Wesley Bryan (+19.1) (+11000)

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Fairways Gained

Hitting fairways in regulation at Silverado is more difficult than TOUR average, as players have done so in the past at a rate of only 54%. While the rough isn’t extremely long here, controlling spin out of the thick grass is much more difficult than doing so from the fairway. This is extremely important. In order to find success, players need to hit the correct level of the sloping Poa annua greens.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Jim Furyk  (+41.2)(+6600)
  2. Kyle Stanley (+39.5)(+8000)
  3. Henrik Norlander(+38.3)+6600)
  4. Chez Reavie (+35.8)(+3500)
  5. Chris Baker (+35.2)(+17500)

Par 4s 400-450

The majority of the par 4s at Silverado will be in the 400 or 450-yard range. It will be important to target players who excel at playing these holes. With the par 5s being fairly short and reachable, the par 4 scoring may prove to be the bigger difference-maker.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Denny McCarthy (+15.4)(+8000)
  2. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+14.1)(+20000)
  3. Pat Perez (+11.4)(+14000)
  4. John Huh (+10.8)(+15000)
  5. Brian Stuard (+9.2)(+15000)

Scrambling

I previously mentioned the importance of hitting the ball in the fairway this week. Players who miss the fairway will have a hard time keeping the ball on the putting surface with their approach shots, so scrambling will play a major factor. Even the most accurate golfers will miss fairways and greens, so the ability to have good touch around the greens and get up and down for par will be a major reason for success for this week’s winner.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Cameron Tringale (+12.7)(+7000)
  2. Phil Mickelson (+12.3)(+2000)
  3. Henrik Norlander (+11.8)(+6600)
  4. Beau Hossler (+11.1)(+16000)
  5. Bud Cauley (+10.8)(+5000)

Strokes Gained: Putting Poa Annua

Players’ comfort on the greens from week to week comes from the type of putting surface. This is often overlooked by observers, but golfers often stress the importance. Prior to last season’s Safeway Open, Phil Mickelson — who is returning this year — talked about how the type of putting surface is a major factor: “I think a lot of guys struggle with the Poa annua greens, which is a grass that I grew up playing, so I’m very comfortable on the greens. When you grow up and spend most of your time back east in Florida on the Bermuda, this is a very awkward surface to putt on. The color looks different — it’s hard to sometimes read. But when you’re used to it, I don’t know of much better surfaces than these right here.” This week it is important to look for the golfers who historically excel on Poa annua.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds):

  1. Matt Kuchar (+22.3)(+2000)
  2. Brandt Snedeker (+21.7)(+3300)
  3. Vaughn Taylor(+20.8)(+14000)
  4. Maverick McNealy (+18.6)(+8000)
  5. Brian Stuard (+18.2)(+15000)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: APP (25%), Fairways Gained: (25%), SG: Scrambling (20%), Par 4: 400-450 (15%), SG: Putting (Poa annua) (15%).

  1. Henrik Norlander (+6600)
  2. Chris Baker (+17500)
  3. Brian Stuard (+15000)
  4. Shane Lowry (+2500)
  5. Denny McCarthy (+8000)
  6. Pat Perez (+14000)
  7. Kevin Streelman (+3500)
  8. Matt Kuchar (+2000)
  9. Chez Reavie (+3500)
  10. Jason Dufner (+12500)

The weaker the field, the more the statistics matter. The top players are far more likely to play well when they aren’t in great form; that’s what makes them the best players in the world. The Safeway Open this year has a relatively weak field, so I will be considering the strokes gained metrics and my statistical model far more heavily this week.

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