Preview and picks for the Genesis Invitational
The West Coast swing concludes with the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. The famed traditional, tree-lined track in Pacifica Palisades outside Los Angeles is the 95th edition and second year as an invitational. A total of 120 players will tee it up after last week's winner at Pebble Beach and world No. 13 Daniel Berger withdrew on Tuesday. Berger is heading back to Florida to rest his sore back and prepare for the next four big events on tour.
COURSE AND TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
Course: Riviera Country Club
Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Date: Feb. 18-21
Par: 71 / Yardage 7,322
Purse: $9.3 Million / Winner $1.67 M
Greens: Poa annua
TV/Stream: Golf Channel (Thurs-Sun) and CBS (Sat-Sun), PGA Tour Live
Twitter & Hashtag: @thegenesisinv
As you watch and wager on the event, note the short Par 5 opening hole is the easiest scoring hole and last year averaged 4.29. The tee shot sits some 60 feet above the fairway as you 'enter the canyon'. I watched Fred Couples tee off from this spot in the final round in 2011 as the leader at age 51 before faltering. The toughest scoring hole last year was the Par 4, No. 12 at 4.29. Holes 15 and 18 are Par 4's and two of the toughest five coming down the stretch. The par-3 6th hole features a small bunker in the middle of the green. Greenside bunkers are more troublesome with greater depth in bunkering.
GENESIS INVITATIONAL ODDS
In comparing the odds to win and top finishing position odds at BetOnline, you see Dustin Johnson at very low odds of 6/1 despite a loaded field that includes 7 of the top 10 players in the world rankings plus 19 of the top 30. This year's field is tougher than years past and the field is strong at the top and right through the middle tier.
|Golfer||Odds to Win||Top 10|
|Si Woo Kim||+10000||+750|
More than 10 players in the field have multiple Top 10 finishes in the event over the past five years. They include Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Adam Scott as winners, plus highly-ranked players Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na and Marc Leishman.
Players with three appearances or less in the event with solid results include Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele with one Top 10 and one Top 20, along with Talor Gooch. Also, in the last three years, Patrick Cantlay has three Top 20's which includes a Top 5 finish.
If you want to take a shot on betting the Round 1 leader, you can get longer odds on the top players including Dustin Johnson (+1400), Rahm (+2200), Thomas, McIlroy and Cantlay (+2500), Schauffele (+2800), DeChambeau and Finau at +3000. Last year, Matt Kuchar was the Round 1 leader at odds of greater than +6000.
Focus should still be on current form, players improving and stats that fit. Course form is of more significance this week at Riviera than at other courses, and Augusta National is one of the comparison courses.
Notable pairings Thursday and Friday:
Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa
Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson
Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Champ
Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele
When looking at the list of winners and top finishers, you'll see many power players. There is a very short, reachable par 4 at No. 10, and seven Par 4's of 450 or more yards. Stats to focus on more closely in your model at Riviera include:
Putting (on Poa)
Around the Green
Tee to Green & Driving Distance
Putting on the bumpy, Poa annua greens is more difficult at Riviera, and proximity to the hole (from 150-175 specifically) becomes more important on approach shots. Interesting fact is that no other course on Tour surrenders more missed putts inside 5 feet than Riviera.
Using stats from Fantasy National and courses with Poa anuua greens, these are your leaders from this field in some key categories over the players last 36 rounds.
SG: Approach - Reavie, Hovland, Koepka, Matsuyama, Schauffele, Furyk, D. Johnson, Scott, Grillo, NeSmith, Thomas, Cantlay
SG: Tee-to-Green - McIlroy, Koepka, Thomas, D. Johnson, Scott, Hovland, Cantlay, Schauffele, Reavie, Matsuyama
SG: Around the Green - Harrington, McIlroy, Snedeker, Scott, Na, Howell, Hughes, Thomas, C. Smith, Reavie
SG: Putting (Poa) - Snedeker, Kuchar, Na, Rodgers, DeChambeau, Scott, Hadwin, McNealy, Stuard, Rahm
Also, top Ball Strikers include: McIlroy, Koepka, Hovland, D. Johnson, Cantlay, Schauffele, Thomas, Garcia, Connors, Champ, DeChambeau
Scoring and Picks
You can see how tight the top players are in scoring average at Riviera. Number of events played in parentheses.
69.25 - McIlroy (4)
69.27 - D. Johnson (13)
69.50 - Rahm (2)
69.58 - Schauffele (3)
69.59 - Scott (12)
69.75 - Gooch (2), W. Clark (1)
69.77 - Matsuyama (6)
69.92 - Poston (3)
69.98 - JB Holmes (14)
70.0 - Ortiz (4)
70.07 - Watson (14)
70.08 - DeChambeau (4)
70.22 - List (5)
70.23 - Thomas (6), Garcia (12)
Eliminating Dustin Johnson at such low odds, despite nine Top 10 finishes in this event. But a consideration and look towards DJ in selected tournament or round-by-round match-ups. Let's fire for Fairways and Green with some of these golfers in Fairway's Foursome, and chip in long shots of interest to add to your betting bag and portfolio for outrights and preferred top finishing position including Top 10, 20 or even Top 30 with some offering more value.
Tournament match-ups at OSGA top-rated William Hill Sportsbook include:
D. Johnson (-125) vs Rahm (+125)
McIlroy (-120) vs Thomas (+120)
Henley (-120) vs Na (+100)
Homa (-105) vs Fitzpatrick (-115)
Wolff (+100) vs Zalatoris (-120)
Ancer (-120) vs Ortiz (+100)
Griffin (-115) over Todd (-105)
B. Watson (-130) vs Garcia
Spieth (-110) vs Scheffler (-110)
Hovland (-140) vs Niemann (+120)
Scott (-150) vs Leishman (+130)
Morikawa (-105) vs Matsuyama (-115)
Cantlay (-155) vs Koepka (+135)
Schauffele (-125) vs DeChambeau (+105)
Harman (-120) vs Steele (+100)
Tringale (-135) vs Hahn (+115)
Kim (-130) vs McNealy (+110)
Winning score: O/U 270.5 Par 71 (284)
Fairway's Favorites: Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama
Fairway's Longshots: Carlos Ortiz, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Lanto Griffin
Tournament Match-ups: Griffin (-115) over Todd, Ortiz (+100) over Ancer
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay