NLU Picks and Preview - Safeway

Written by: Scott Schaeffer

After last season's picks standings came to a conclusion last week (mercifully for Soly), we are back after a much needed offseason break. Fresh cakes. All picks are highlighted below:

"THE READ": HV3 has been kicking the tires for a few months now on a first career PGA Tour title. When he's been around the lead, putting woes have seemingly appeared every time. In a lackluster field, however, Varner stands out as possibly the class. An inaugural Tour title wouldn't shock me and could spur Varner onto bigger and better things in his career.

Joel Dahmen has now pieced together back-to-back stellar campaigns on Tour, cashing hefty checks in some of the premier no-cut events along the way. Despite his success, Dahmen is still yet to find the winner's circle. The Safeway may be his best chance of any in his upcoming schedule to do so.

A little Phil Mickelson hate is something you will note as a common theme throughout this week's picks. To start it off, DJ has picked the struggling Jordan Spieth to beat this week's tournament favorite, Phil Mickelson, in a tournament matchup. Can confirm Spieth is not yet collecting Social Security as some competitors in Branson likely were.

"THE READ": Cue the Chez love. A week before returning to the U.S. Open, where Chez finished tied for third last year, he will compete across the country in this week's Safeway. Neil has unsurprisingly chosen the gritty grinder once again to both Top 10 and best Emiliano Grillo in a tournament matchup.

A developing pattern continues as Neil also believes Phil will have a short week following his big week in Branson. After getting a pod bump, it would be nice to see Joel start the new PGA Tour season in similar form by cashing the merch czar's Top 10 pick this week. If you haven't been paying attention, you can pretty much pencil Neil's picks in each week without even watching the video.

"THE READ": Big Randy will attempt to back up his solid pick campaign by starting with a few winners this week. Nothing too crazy, just steady profits. The "Strapped" approach to wagering, if you will. Do you know how rare a hole in one is? Me neither, everyone just tells me it's rare. So rare that Randy deems it's unimaginable an ace will occur in Napa this week.

Quite shockingly, Randy is aboard the Phil Mickelson hate train this week as well in more ways than one. The big guy has thrown nuggets down on Phil to not only miss the cut but also get clipped by the struggling Jordan Spieth in the process. Kind of disgusting to see Randy ditch his ride or die just to chase a few points.

You knew the nationality plays would be on Randy's radar. Whether it be the straw hat, the putter or his actual game, Randy is a Charl Schwartzel fan this week. The other South Africans may cash a larger check at the end of the week, but they'll be drowning in Charl's drip.

"THE READ": Surprised? Another Phil Mickelson hater has emerged. Soly is also of the belief that Phil will have a little more time to prep at Winged Foot than he may have been planning for.

Let's dive into the positive side of Soly's picks. He's on board with DJ Pie's Harold Varner love, picking him to win and again hedging with a Top 10 pick. In stark contrast to Randy's Schwartzel pick, Soly thinks Erik Van Rooyen has a chance to finish not only as low South African, but low man period. Finally, off a very under the radar performance last season, Soly is taking notice of Mark Hubbard's form. He will hope that Mark can wiggle the short putter in classic Robert Garrigus fashion this week to finish Top 10.

"THE READ": TC is hoping the laws of California will work in Matt Every's favor this week. A Top 10/20 finish would certainly "spark" some momentum for Every to break through his slump.

Sam Burns and Mav McNealy are two young professionals who have showcased their games since graduating from their prestigous college careers at LSU and Stanford, respectively. Now in a field of a mixed bag of pros with varying forms of PGA Tour status, Burns and Mav stand out as prime candidates to break out in a much weaker Safeway field.

Each week seems to feature a new form of a round robin theme. This week's sample is a "Yankee" bet. Rest assured, I am doing my best to learn the ins and outs of every one of these plays. Even if TC goes 1/4, he will lose the full 55 this week.

"THE READ": Don't have a good feel for this week and choosing a winner, so I'm keeping it conservative. Taking some fliers on a few guys like Malnati, Holmes and Hoge that could really use a hot start among one of the weaker fields they will compete against all season. After following along with Tron's picks last season, I've decided the Canadians may be onto something here. Therefore, I'm chasing a 5 leg Canadian that spans from Napa Valley all the way to Portugal this week.

The standings below are as of completion of last season. I know they are not at all the same as the graphics that appeared in the video...but trust my accounting methods have been thorough and above board. If you like my perspective and want more content related to the crew's picks and year-to-date status, I can be found on twitter and instagram @total_misread.

-Scott Schaeffer