5. Emiliano Grillo
Silverado in 2015-16 was the site of Grillo’s first PGA Tour victory, which impressively, happened in his first event as a PGA Tour member.
Grillo has not added a second win yet, but the talented Argentinian is coming off his best season yet, making 22 cuts in 25 events, with six top 10s highlighted by two third-place finishes.
Already strong tee-to-green, Grillo made enormous strides with his putting this past season, improving from 139th in strokes gained: putting to 12th. He hits fairways and greens at a high rate, and combined with his event history, he is among the favorites to take this year’s title.
4. Peter Uihlein
It was a solid first full-time PGA Tour season for the talented American Uihlein, who got his career off the ground in Europe. He was inconsistent, but contended at a number of strong-field events, including a T5 at the Wells Fargo Championship, a solo-5th at The Memorial, and a T12 at the recent Dell Technologies Championship, where he led the field in birdies.
The 29-year-old is among the worst players on Tour at hitting fairways, but he is long and the rough at Silverado is not especially penal, so that driving accuracy might not make a huge difference if he is hitting it far. Better things are expected for Uihlein this year, and that could very well start at the Safeway.
3. Brandt Snedeker
Coming off an injury-shortened 2017 season, 2018 was looking like a bust for the eight-time Tour Champion Snedeker, who failed to qualify for The Masters for the first time in eight years.
Then, a 6th place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic seemed to get him going again, and he alternated strong and poor showings until his re-breakthrough: a victory at the Wyndham Championship which he opened by becoming the ninth player to join the elusive 59 club.
Minor injury troubles thwarted his momentum going into the FedExCup Playoffs, but if he is healthy, and we think he is, he is one of the best players in this field. With his elite wedge and short game, we would be surprised if he does not contend for the Safeway title.
2. Joaquin Niemann
He may have limped to the finish line a little, but it was an unbelievable first season on the PGA Tour for the 19-year-old Chilean.
After turning pro after The Masters, Niemann notched top 8 finishes in three of his first five events, and was the 36-hole leader at The Memorial Tournament. Six of those 11 starts were inside the top 25, and he finished an extremely impressive 2nd on Tour in both greens in regulation percentage and birdie average. He is also well-rested after not being eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs.
Niemann is going to be a star, but will he shine this week? We love his chances.
1. Patrick Cantlay
Despite never having competed at Silverado before, Cantlay is the odds-on favorite to win this week, and by a considerable margin.
It is not difficult to see why Vegas is so bullish on him, as he may be the most talented player in the field. Finally playing a full PGA Tour season last year, the former amateur superstar made 21 cuts in 23 events, notched his first victory (at the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open), and seven of his 15 top 25s landed inside the top 10.
Cantlay is one of just two players in the Safeway field (Mickelson), who made the 2018 Tour Championship. His stellar all-around game makes him a championship threat anywhere, and he does his best work tee-to-green.