Safeway Open Each-Way Tips: Put Luke top of the List

American Luke List
Luke List can gain first win
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It's the start of another PGA Tour season and Dave Tindall is back with three each-way selections for the opener in California...

"Looking through the stats and two of the last three winners - Cameron Champ and Brendan Steele - ranked 1st for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee so I want a good driver of the ball this week."

Back Luke List each-way @ 55/1

Main Bet: Luke List each-way @ 55/1

Here we go again then.

A new season, or should we say 'super season'? That's how the PGA Tour have billed it because this one has a whopping 50 FedEx Cup tournaments.

The marathon begins, for the sixth time in seven years, at the Safeway Open in California.

Silverado, a 7,166-yard par 72, offers a fair test and the winning scores there have varied between -14 and -18.

Looking through the stats and two of the last three winners - Cameron Champ and Brendan Steele - ranked 1st for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee so I want a good driver of the ball this week.

Five of the last six winners were also winning for the first or second time on the PGA Tour so it's a decent event for those really trying to establish themselves.

With that in mind, I'll open the new season with a punt on Luke List. The 35-year-old still hasn't managed a PGA Tour victory but did land his second Korn Ferry title in June.

He's since had a top 10 at Memorial where he ranked 2nd for SG: Off The Tee while he was 7th in the same category at the Wyndham. List could only make it through one stage of the FedEx Cup play-offs but this is a chance to bank some early points.

Tied 26th on debut, List showed he could flourish at Silverado by finishing fourth two years ago with rounds of 70-69-69-67.

List ranked 20th for SG: Putting that week and said: "I finally somewhere along the line over the years got comfortable on poa annua."

Admittedly, he was horrible on the greens at the US PGA Championship but List ranked 17th for SGP at Torrey Pines earlier this year and I don't think this week is about putting anyway.

Two of the last three winners were ranked outside the top 25 for SGP and Emiliano Grillo and Kevin Na recorded negative figures on the greens when finishing 1-2 in 2015.

More relevant is that List was 9th for SG: Tee To Green in a field of the world's best at Harding Park so if he can strike the ball as well at Silverado - another tough driving course - I like his chances.

Take him at 55/1.

Next Best: Will Gordon each-way @ 50/1

Another strong driver looking for a first win is Will Gordon.

The 24-year-old has obviously had less chances than List and only gained membership for the 2020-21 season via the Top 125 Non-Member category after earning sufficient points with temporary status.

He did that thanks to a tied third at the Travelers Championship and he was last seen taking T27 at the Wyndham Championship after laps of 68-69-64-69.

Gordon ranked 8th for SG: Off The Tee at Sedgefield last time and was 2nd for SG: OTT when taking tied 21st at Torrey Pines on a previous trip to California in January.

Gordon ranked a very healthy 14th for SG: Off The Tee last season from an admittedly small sample and also finished 4th for Greens In Regulation.

Speaking at the Barracuda at the end of July, he reflected: "As I've been out here more and more, I think I've definitely gained the respect of my peers, and I feel more like I've earned my spot out here.

"I think that when you're on that sponsor exemption run, there's a lot of people looking for those, and I was fortunate to get a handful of them, and I think people are somewhat sceptical of you when you're kind of doing that.

"But I think I've proved myself out here now over a period of time."

Certainly his early numbers look promising and, like List, it perhaps won't matter on this course that he isn't exactly the best putter in the world.

Gordon, who made it to the last eight of the 2018 US Amateur, is certainly being given respect in the market but could still prove a worthy investment at 50/1.

A quick jump to the top of the market which shows Si Woo Kim as the 16/1 favourite ahead of 20/1 Phil Mickelson and Brendan Steele.

Kim is short enough and this might be a reality check for Mickelson who made hay on an easy course (-22 over three rounds) to make a winning start on the Champions Tour recently.

More likely, he'll treat this as practice for his annual US Open crack next week.

Steele, a two-time winner here, is a better option although he hasn't made the top 50 at Silverado for the last two years.

Final Bet: Scott Piercy each-way @ 80/1

I was looking at Joel Dahmen and Harold Varner III as a third bet but respective prices of 25s and 28s don't float my boat.

I can say the same for most of the top 12 or 15 in the betting, with Kevin Streelman perhaps the closest to selection but, again, 35/1 isn't enough.

Charl Schwartzel - sixth here last year and fifth at Pebble Beach in January - is also of interest but I'll end by taking the 80/1 on Scott Piercy.

The 41-year-old, who went to college in California at San Diego State, was third here in 2016 and tied 17th in 2017.

He's made the top 20 in two of his last three starts in the Golden State - T18 Pebble Beach and T17 Riviera - and is a solid performer on the West coast.

In his last two starts, Piercy had three good rounds out of four at the Wyndham and improved to T29 at The Northern Trust.

He drove the ball well there (11th SG: Off The Tee) so could just be running into some form despite not really being on the radar.

As a big outsider, Martin Laird holds some appeal at 125/1.

The Scot has plenty of good form out west, including third and eighth here, but he's hardly played recently so that puts me off.

So, I'll put my faith in three good drivers and hope they can have a decent enough week on the greens to reward their work off the tee.

Staked: £0
Returned: £0
P/L: +£0

2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

Dave Tindall,

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