Michael Kim and Patrick Rodgers can make an early impression
Californian sun should shine on Silverado
Sky Sports Golf, 10.30pm Thursday
Safeway Open favourite Patrick Cantlay tees off in the marquee match of the morning wave for round one at the Silverado Resort, joining 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker and legendary veteran Fred Couples in sunny California.
Cantlay, a general 12-1 for Safeway glory, is competing in his home state and will have high expectations of performing well. The Shriners Open champion should prove too solid for Snedeker and Couples, but the threeballs card, as well as the 72-hole match-bet options, is lacking much in the way of significant value.
Cantlay is the token suggestion for punters wishing to play on the 3.50pm (UK and Ireland time) contest, while Sang-Moon Bae could upset Phil Mickelson and Brendan Steele in the main attraction of the afternoon groups (8.30pm).
Preference for some extra investments on the opening event of the US Tour season, though, is for two first-round-leader wagers at juicy prices. Michael Kim and Patrick Rodgers can make an impression in the early stages.
Kim, who finished third in the 2016 Safeway at Silverado, loves competing in California, where he enjoyed a magnificent college career, and the 25-year-old is capable of some seriously low scoring. He is one of the most consistent putters on the circuit and rounds of 63, 64, 64 and 66 won him the John Deere Classic by eight shots in July.
Rodgers was sixth at Silverado in 2015 and is another who impressed in his college days in California, winning 11 times at Stanford University. There is no reason why the powerhouse should not fire a low opening round on suitable terrain.
Pre-tournament showers look set to soften the course perfectly for the early starters, with the wind speed picking up as the day goes on. From 7.40am and 8am local time respectively, Kim and Rodgers have every chance of taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions and setting a clubhouse lead which the later groups fail to catch.
M Kim first-round leader
1pt each-way 125-1 general
P Rodgers first-round leader
1pt each-way 80-1 Betfair, Paddy Power
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