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Safeway Open Tips & Predictions: Banking on vintage Steele in wine country

Brendan Steele features amongst our Safeway Open tips and predictions.
Brendan Steele features amongst our Safeway Open tips and predictions.

The PGA Tour season gets underway this week in the Safeway Open from Napa, California, with our golf tipster Russell Palmer back with another three tips...

As I write, Dustin Johnson is on his way to finishing the PGA Tour season atop of the FedEx Cup standings by winning the Tour Championship and the riches that it brings.

I can't quite recall such a sustained level of form we've seen from DJ over the past month and he's a deserved winner. It remains a mystery as to why he's only got the one major victory to his name but he'll get a stab and an extra two with the new season starting this week, with the US Open next week and then the Masters in November.

As you'd expect, Johnson is dominating the US Open betting, but he can still be backed at around the 16/1 according to the Masters odds.

With the top 30 players battling it out at East Lake with a late finish on Monday, it's understandable that the 2020/21 PGA Tour season, which tees off on Thursday doesn't feature any of the players who made it to the Tour Championship.

It means that we're treated to a wide open tournament where it's 20/1 the field Si Woo Kim, with Matt Kuchar second favourite at 22/1 with Phil Mickelson who absolutely hacked up on the Senior tour a few weeks ago. But it's a 25/1 shot that takes my eye. (note at the time of writing not all bookmakers have priced up the event).

Golf odds
Safeway Open at a glance
Safeway Open at a glance
Safeway Open Tip #1
Brendan Steele each-way
  • 3 top ten finishes this season
  • Twice a course winner
Odds correct as of 2020-09-07 20:20 Odds subject to change.

I really like the look of Brendan Steele this week. The 37 year old had three top ten finishes last season and was super consistent following the Tour restart, missing the cut just once.

A 6th place finish in the Travellers was his best finish, but he returns to Silverado Resort where he won in 2016 and 2017. Born and raised in California, Steele will feel at home at Silverado where there's an emphasis for putting yourself into a good position on the greens.

Ranking 20th for shots gained approaching the green, I'm hoping we'll see some vintage Steele from wine country this week.

Safeway Open Tip #2
Kristoffer Ventura each-way
  • Ranks 7th for strokes gained putting
  • 1st for going for green & hit green percentage
Odds correct as of 2020-09-07 20:20 Odds subject to change.

Second up is Norway's Kristoffer Ventura at 90/1 with Paddy Power who pay eight places this week.

The 25 year old is still finding his way on the PGA Tour, yet to have a top ten finish but is trending in the right direction, his best finish since the restart was a tie for 19th in the Barracuda Championship which will have seen a similar standard of line up to this week's.

His stats are particularly good in some key areas this week.

He ranks 7th in shots gained putting on the PGA Tour, and that metric should be a difference maker this week in what could well turn into a putting competition. Ranking 12th for birdie average, Ventura ranks 1st for going for the green and hitting green percentage, which, with four Par 5's this week can help.

Safeway Open Tip #3
Troy Merritt each-way
  • Two top tens since the restart
  • 10th for shots gained putting in this field
Odds correct as of 2020-09-07 20:25 Odds subject to change.

Last up this week is Troy Merritt who is 100/1 with Bet365 who are paying five places. For an extra two places you can back him at 90/1 with Betfred, whilst he's as short as 66/1 elsewhere so I advise you take the value early.

Merritt had some joy at Silverado when finishing fourth here in 2018, before missing the cut here twelve months ago. 

With two top tens since golf restarted, his game is in good shape, he was top 30 on his last start in the Northern Trust.

He's a good putter, ranking 26th in shots gained with the flat stick, he's also ranks 44th for driving accuracy, which equates to within the top 30 of this week's field.

There's enough in his locker in terms of course and recent form to throw a dart here at the prices and as a two time winner on the PGA Tour he can close out if in contention.

As ever, good luck with your bets if you're following and please gamble responsibly.

Follow me at Twitter @rustyboy75.

Post-lockdown form:


  • Jon Rahm - BMW Championship - advised at 14/1
  • Dustin Johnson - Northern Trust - advised at 20/1
  • Justin Thomas - WGC FedEx St Jude - advised at 12/1
  • Webb Simpson - RBC Heritage - advised at 30/1


  • Si Woo Kim - T3 Wyndham Championship - advised at 40/1
  • Jason Day - T4 USPGA Championship - advised at 40/1
  • Phil Mickelson - 2nd WGC FedEx St Jude - advised at 110/1
  • Viktor Hovland - 3rd Workday Charity Open - advised at 25/1
  • Kevin Streelman - T7 Workday Charity Open - advised at 60/1
  • Tyrrell Hatton - T4 Rocket Mortgage Classic - advised at 16/1
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