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We’ve arrived, people, we’re officially in the thick of the newest PGA Tour season. With Farmers, Waste Management and Pebble Beach already in the rearview mirror, things are in full swing as the attention turns to Riviera Country Club for this week’s Genesis Invitational.
Sidenote: when Sunday rolls around, we’ll just be 53 days away from the first round of the 2020 Masters.
As you may have noticed, the Genesis takes on the title of an invitational this year as opposed to an open like years past. With the change, the field size has dropped from 144 golfers to 120.
Tiger Woods and his foundation are hosts this week while the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson headline a strong field.
J.B. Holmes won last year’s event beating Justin Thomas by a shot at 14-under.
Riviera is a Par 71 track that will stretch to 7,322 yards this week, which in total isn’t long for these guys, but when you break it down hole by hole, it’s quick to see this course plays longer than what the scorecard says.
Six of the Par 4’s this week will play over 455 yards, which means longer hitters will have a major advantage this week. Driving distance and Par 4 scoring on holes between 450 and 500 yards are important stats heading into the week.
On top of a number of lengthy holes, one of the course’s biggest defenses is the small poa annua greens that average just 5,000 sq. feet.
The rough isn’t ever too forgiving at Riviera, either, which is another factor that has made this the sixth toughest stop on Tour when it comes to bogey or worse percentage.
Key Stats: driving distance, strokes gained: around the green and Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards.
Last week’s picks for Pebble Beach: Paul Casey (T-64), Matthew Fitzpatrick (T-60), and Russel Knox (MC)
Best Value Betting Picks
Anytime Brooks Koepka has odds of 20-1 or higher you simply have to take him, it doesn’t matter that this is his first PGA Tour start since October of last year. After recovering from a knee injury, Koepka did pick up a T-17 finish at the Saudi Invitational at the start of the year and a T-34 in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago.
Koepka’s game fits every course on the planet, but when the driver turns into such a weapon like it does at Riviera, he immediately shoots toward the top of the list of favorites. He also finished second on Tour in Par 4 scoring on holes between 450 and 500 yards with a scoring average of 4.0.
Interestingly enough, this is the first time he’s teed it up in this event since missing the cut here in 2017.
Moore isn’t going to necessarily wow you with any part of his game, but he’s a very consistent player that’s sneaky long off the tee. The 37-year-old averaging just under 302 yards off the tee ranking 63rd on Tour in average driving distance and hardly ever misses a fairway with the 11th best driving accuracy percentage (71.38%) which are great numbers to have heading into Riviera.
He picked up a T-6 finish at The American Express a few weeks back and enters the week ranked sixth in that lengthy Par 4 scoring stat. Moore is going to find plenty of fairways, which is a recipe for success for a player with his elite ball-striking abilities.
He finished T-28 here a year ago.
List should fit the mold for a winner at Riviera. He’s long off the tee, can pile up birdies and picks up strokes with his iron game, it’s just the short-game and putter that holds him back some weeks.
His last start came at Waste Management where he finished T-25 giving him his second Top 25 finish of the new season. List has missed the cut in five of his 11 events this season, but a streaky player that knows how to score with odds that high is worth a shot, for sure.
The former Vanderbilt Commodore finished T-15 here last year.