The Safeway Open was first staged in 2007 as the Fry’s Electronics Open at Grayhawk’s Raptor Course in Scottsdale, Arizona. In October 2014 the tournament moved to the North Course at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.
The event was a PGA Tour Fall Series tournament up until 2012. Then, beginning in October 2013, when the PGA Tour changed its “year” to begin in October, the tournament was the opening event of the PGA Tour season.
The supermarket chain, Safeway, took over sponsorship of the tournament in 2016.
The original course at Silverado opened in 1955 and is now known as the North Course. In 1966, it was re-designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the South Course was added.
The North Course has played host to several PGA Tour events including the Kaiser International Open Invitational from 1968 through 1976 and the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic from 1977 through 1980.
Johnny Miller who co-owns Silverado also redesigned it in 2011. In the process he removed bunkers, widened fairways and replaced the kikuyu grass with rye and bluegrass. He created a challenge that caters to the resort player but with greens that can run at tournament speed.
Silverado is a standard-issue Par 36-36=72 that can measure 7,203 yards. With a Par 5-4-5 finish the slightest of leads won’t be safe and makes for an exciting finish.
“If you have great golf, you usually do pretty good”Johnny Miller
Last year, Cameron Champ emerged victorious in the Safeway Open for his second PGA Tour title. It was his second victory in 33 starts having previously won the Sanderson’s Farm Championship. He closed with a final round -3 (69) which included a Birdie on the final hole to finish one stroke ahead of Adam Hadwin.
“If I win no more tournaments or 10 more tournaments, this will be the greatest win of my golfing career for sure”Cameron Champ
It was an emotional win for Champ who dedicated the win to his grandfather who is suffering from cancer. Click here for more on how Champ crafted his way to victory.
In 2018, a 30 year old Kevin Tway earned his first PGA Tour victory after defeating Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore in a playoff. The son of former Tour player Bob Tway, carded a final -1(71) for a total -14(274) to edge into the playoff. Kevin and Bob are the 10th father-son duo to record PGA Tour victories.
“It’s been a long road but this is why you work hard. Finally got here and it feels amazing”Kevin Tway
Almost three-quarters of his shots gained on the field average came tee-to-green, gaining 8.391 strokes for the week in this category. Other stats for the week include 14th for Driving Distance, T40 for Driving Accuracy, T18 for GIR and 18th in Strokes Gained Putting.
In 2017, Brendan Steele shot a final round -3(69) to finish on -15(273) and win the Safeway Open for the second year in succession. He began the final round two shots off the lead, but five birdies in the first 14 holes helped him to a two stroke victory over Tony Finau.
The success of his title defense can be attributed to his stellar game tee-to-green. He finished 1st in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category, gaining an a massive 12.239 strokes on the field average over the four rounds. This accounted for 85% of his overall strokes gained for the tournament.
In 2016, Steele birdied the last three holes to snatch a one stroke victory from Patton Kizzire. This was redemption for the previous year’s tournament when he held the 54-hole lead but could not close the deal shooting bogeys on five of the last seven holes. Emiliano Grillo emerged victorious that year on his rookie debut beating Kevin Na in a playoff.
By Tour standards this week looks to be a straightforward test of golf and ‘lottery’ is the first word that comes to mind when considering a selection for this week’s tournament
Safeway Open Betting Tips
Harold Varner III 28/1 (E/W) – this is his third look at the North Course at Silverado having finished T14 (2018) and T17 (2019) on his previous visits. Followed up a T29 at the PGA Championship with a T7 in the Wyndham Championship, enough to put him in the Top 10 in this week’s Current Form table. A rock solid all-round game, in particular tee-to-green, puts him 3rd in this week’s Stats Analysis table. The key to capturing his maiden victory is putting. Needs the putter to get hot and see a a few putts drop early. Event Form tick, Current Form tick Stats Analysis tick. Best value at top end of market.
Cameron Davis 40/1 (E/W) – best finish at the Safeway Open is a T17 in 2018. His recent form is eye catching. His last three strokeplay events on Tour read T12 (3M Open), T15 (Wyndham Championship) and a T29 (Northern Trust). Features 5th in this week’s Stats Analysis which is punctuated by 20th on Tour for Driving Distance. He was also 10th on Tour last season for Eagles and 23rd for Birdie Average. The North Course sets up perfectly for the big-hitting Aussie. The 25 year old is arriving to Silverado this year a more experienced and accomplished player. Hard to ignore based on form and skill set.