Safeway Open: Reavie looks FRL best

American Chez Reavie
American Chez Reavie get start fast

Dave Tindall picks out three players to get onside early at this week's Safeway Open...

"In his last 15 first rounds in California, he's finished the opening lap in first place once and in the top eight on five other occasions."

*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places

Weather forecast: It's a coolish 60 degrees for the very early starters before temps move towards the 80s at midday and peak at 83 at 2pm. Wind speeds also pick up from 7mph early on to 13-15mph in the afternoon so it could get a little tricky for the later players.

FRL history at Silverado

2018 - 63 Sepp Straka (pm)
2017 - 65 Tyler Duncan (am), Tom Hoge (am), Brendan Steele (am)
2016 - 62 Scott Piercy (am)
2015 - 63 Brendan Steele (am)
2014 - 66 Sang-Moon Bae (am), Andres Gonzalez (pm)

Strategy: The early starters have definitely done best historically and the weather forecast this year suggests that scenario could play out again. I won't put all my eggs in one basket but will go for a 2:1 morning/afternoon split.

Choose Chez

Chez Reavie has made five cuts out of five at Silverado and his last three openers at the Californian course were all in the 60s.

The middle one of those, two years ago, put him fourth after 18 holes and that forms part of an impressive list of quick starts in the Golden State.

Perhaps it's the Poa Annua greens but in his last 15 first rounds in California, he's finished the opening lap in first place once and in the top eight on five other occasions.

That includes T8 after day one of the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach where he finished third.

Reavie won the Travelers Championship the following week after opening with a 65 and we last saw him finishing fifth in the Tour Championship.

He's not played since but on a track that suits and from a morning tee-time the American can fly from the traps once more.

Sung can shine

Sung-Hoon Kang knows a thing or two about shooting a low round in California having once fired a 60 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

He also blasted a 61 in this year's Byron Nelson (in breezy conditions) before going on to lift the trophy.

Kang had opened that event with a 65 to be fourth after 18 holes and he was also fourth after round one of the US PGA Championship a week later.

More recently, he signed for a Thursday 65 at the Greenbrier to sit tied seventh while, for the fifth tournament in a row, he opened with a round in the 60s when returning home to rack up a fourth in a Korean Tour event last week.

Kang hasn't got a great record here but he made the top 20 at Pebble and Torrey Pines earlier this year and was T16 at Riviera in 2018 so can perform well in California.

Have a pop at 90/1 on the 07:30 starter.

Home in on Hoge

It's interesting to note that Tom Hoge shared the lead in this event two years ago as he's been getting off to fast starts recently too.

Hoge had a piece of the 18-hole lead at last week's Sanderson Farms Championship thanks to a 64 and two starts earlier was third after day one at the Korn Ferry's Boise Open.

Rewind another three starts and a 66 put him second at the end of Thursday's play at the Barracuda Championship.

A runner-up at the Greenbrier two weeks ago, Hoge has placed T17 and T37 at Silverado the last two years so there are plenty of pointers to another quick start.

His 12:55 tee-time may not prove ideal but the weather is no exact science so I quite like having an afternoon starter too. Take the 90/1.

Dave's 2019 R1 leader P/L (based on £5 ew per selection)

Staked: £1080
Returned: £1022.59
P/L: -£57.41

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