The Genesis Open – BestBetUSA

Preview & Picks

The Genesis Open was a lot of fun for us last season. We had Max Homa T-10 and he ended up winning in a playoff vs Tony Finau. Every year, this course really trips-up some of the elite players. Whether it’s wind gusts or the mind game of “tail wind going uphill and head wind going downhill”, there are more lingering concerns among players throughout this tournament. This is one of those courses where the elite players don’t seem to win each year.


Course Review (Riviera Country Club)

Since 1926, the LA Open (now the Genesis Open) has been played at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, CA. It’s a course that has benefitted big hitters in the past, but also one with a decent amount of less accomplished players winning the title in the past. The wind can put guys in bad spots, but this certainly isn’t the kind of event that threatens to give us a birdie fest. With low scoring rounds and lovely weather scheduled this week, we may see an uptick in scoring, but don’t expect it to get silly.


Waste Management Recap & Genesis Preview

Last week was a a slight loss, but closer to a wash. We went with an amateur, oft-irresponsible strategy of riding a stacked card; but it nearly paid off in a big way. Justin Thomas was two strokes from a T-5 that would’ve put us into the money, while Louis Oosthuizen was just a single stroke from the T-10 finish we needed. The two we did cash were Scheffler T-5 and Rahm T-10. Overall, we were -1.7 units on the week and now stand at +2.1 units on the year.

This week, we are going with a mixed bag, honing-in on big, accurate hitters, strong in GIRP. We also will be leaning on prior success here and the usual hot players.


Metrics to track this week

This week, we’re looking at the golfers who have done well here in the past, as well as those who excel in GIRP and various driving metrics. This course is for the grinders and that’s where we’ll be looking first.

Past performance at Riviera Country Club
Recent form
Strokes Gained: Driving (Various)
Strokes Gained (Various)

Good luck this week!

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook


Off the Tee – Two Players to finish in the top 40


Matthew NeSmith +200

Forget the metrics when it comes to NeSmith this week. Last season, he finished 20th in this event. It was his only go at this course and an impressive finish for a player who finished 115th in the FedEx Cup Standings. This season, NeSmith is in a similar position in the rankings (114th) but he’s undervalued on the board this week for the Genesis Open. NeSmith has been moderately volatile this season, failing to survive four cuts and finishing as high as 14th (Shriners).

NeSmith is middle of the pack in GIRP (66th) and only 75th in Driving Accuracy, but NeSmith has an interesting pattern this season with his performances. Following an event where he is cut, NeSmith has survived cuts in consecutive weeks three times.


Doug Ghim +170

We shift our focus to Doug Ghim. Ghim is undersized, underpowered and just 25 years old. However, Ghim is one of the bright and promising Americans on tour. Ghim is more of a contrarian play this week. Last season, he was 86th in the FedEx Cup Standings. This season, he’s all the way down to 136. It’s not from poor play either. Ghim has yet to finish better than 27th in any event this season, but he’s been cut just once, finishing no worse than 66th in any other event. In other words, he’s been steadily decent.

This week, Ghim has a chance to make that critical push in the standings, as he can atone for barely missing the cut last season. Ghim’s only event here was last year’s Genesis Open. With T-40 finishes in four of his last eight events, Ghim seems like a low-risk, low-reward gamble this week. Statistically, he doesn’t meet the criteria we covet for this event, but the talent is there and he’s bound to break through soon.


Middle of the Fairway – One Player to finish in the top 20


Adam Hadwin +350

In case you’ve heard the name Adam Hadwin before but didn’t know much about him, Hadwin hails from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. He’s one of the better Canadian players out there and is ranked 59th this season. Hadwin perfoms very consistently at this venue, each year. He’s yet to fail to make a cut here and finished 26th or better in five of his seven events here.

Standing just 5’8, Hadwin doesn’t generate much power off the tee, but he’s 32nd in Driving Accuracy and 24th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He’s ranked inside of 50 in putting, around the green, tee to green, and 31st in Strokes Gained: Total. He’s finished T-26 or better in three of his past four events, so Hadwin also has the heat check advantage this week as well.


Edge of the Green – Two Players to finish in the top 10


Matthew Fitzpatrick +300

Matthew Fitzpatrick has only played in five events this season. After a rough start, Fitzpatrick finished T-12 or better in each of his last three events (Hero WC, AT&T Pebble Beach, and WM Phoenix Open). Fitz is still a little off the radar this week, and that should play to our advantage. Among the 14 players favored above him this week, none finished better than him at this event last season (5th).

Fitzpatrick was off the map for some time but he’s emerged as of late. The 27 year old from Sheffield, England is suited well for playing in unpredictable wind. He’s 38th in Strokes Gained: Off the tee, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Approach, 16th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 1st in Strokes Gained: Total. Don’t let his current FedEx Cup ranking of 74 scare you off this week. Last year, he finished 5th in this event and 30th in his only other appearance here.


Will Zalatoris +250

Last year was a breakthrough for Zalatoris, as he finished the season ranked 31st in the World Golf Rankings. For the 25 year old, putting and driving accuracy continue to be an issue, but everything in-between is stellar. Last season, Zalatoris shot a third round 75, which landed him at 15th in an otherwise fantastic tournament performance. Much like Matthew Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris has been on fire lately. He’s finished 7th or better over his last three events (QBE Shootout, the American Express, and the Farmers).

On the season, Will Zalatoris is still having the same issues as he had last season during his breakout: Driving Accuracy (199th) and Putting (148th). Fortunately, he goes so big off the drive (19th in Driving Distance), it has made-up for the initial accuracy issues. Willy Z is 12th in Strokes Gained: Off the tee, 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee to green, and 7th in SG: Total. He’s also 6th in GIRP. Trust Willy Z this week.


Short Putt – Two Players to finish in the top 5


Hideki Matsuyama +350

Hideki Matsuyama was our play to win in our opening article of the season. His win at the Sony Open paid 18 to 1 and got us off to a perfect start. Now, we’re turning to Hideki once again. Last season, Matsuyama failed to make the cut at the Genesis. Hideki has actually finished T-11 here in four of seven attempts, finishing 23rd in one and getting cut twice. He’s currently the leader on the FedEx Cup standings, thanks in-part to his two tour victories this season.

At 29 years old, Hideki looks to be playing peak golf right now. When Hideki is hot, he can finish T-5 at any venue. On the season, he has had a few collapses, which have skewed his stats. Despite the top ranking, he’s just 73rd in Driving Accuracy, but he’s inside the top 40 in driving distance. Matsuyama is 20th in GIRP, 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee to green.


Patrick Cantlay +230

Cantlay was also a winner for us the last time out (AT&T Pebble Beach). He’s been an absolute beast in the four events he’s played this season. All four of his finishes have been inside the top nine, and three have been inside the top four. Last week, Cantlay shot nearly identical scores across four rounds and cruised to 16 under for a second-place finish in Phoenix. This week, Cantlay will play an event he’s finished inside the top 17 in each of his past four attempts.

Patrick Cantlay is 34th in Driving Accuracy, 24th in GIRP, but off the tee (6th) and putting (14th) are his bread winning categories. He’s also 4th in Strokes Gained: Total. Of course, Cantlay is bound to regress at some point in the year, but the Riviera is probably not the venue that’s going to get him. When we’re talking about a tournament that’s going to be a grind; having a consistent, solid guy from tee to cup tends to rarely go awry.

Author: Paula Dunn