The Back 9: 2021 Genesis Invitational Picks

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays his shot from the 17th tee during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 09, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Last week on the PGA Tour, Daniel Berger (16-1) earned his fourth career title, shooting 18-under on the week to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The trend of talented players missing the cut and winning the following week continued as we’ve now seen Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Berger all claim victory in that fashion. Although the AT&T field wasn’t exactly the strongest, Berger still had to fend off some stiff competition in the form of Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, and a resurgent Jordan Spieth. The same can’t be said, however, about this week’s field at Riviera, where the world’s very best have gathered to play and where the Genesis Invitational will be held.

The Course:

Riviera Country Club is one of the more storied U.S. courses in the sport. The par 71 measures 7,340 yards and has Poa Annua greens. To be successful here, you typically need to be a strong striker of the golf ball, be able to scramble, and limit your mistakes whenever possible. Over the years we’ve seen a mixture of players win at Riviera, but most tend to have some blend of driving distance and touch to their game. With that in mind, let’s get into the picks.

Outrights:

Joaquin Niemann of Chile plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round of the John Deere Classic Austen Truslow TPC Deere Run on July 12, 2019 in Silvis, Illinois.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Bryson DeChambeau (16-1)

Bryson’s 16-1 number marks the shortest odds to be featured on the blog. I usually don’t tend to bet golfers below the 20-1 range but there are a lot of things that stand out about Bryson this week. Like we mentioned above, in order to have success at Riviera you need to have a blend of power and feel, both of which Bryson has in droves. Per fantasynational.com, Bryson ranks 4th in ball striking, 1st in short game and 1st in putting out of all players in the field over the last 12 rounds played. Furthermore, he’s seen a nice progression in his results at Riviera, finishing 41st, 15th, and 5th in his last appearance in 2020. Based on his ability to win at tough tracks and his successful trend, I’ll back the short number here.

Collin Morikawa (33-1)

This is simply a number play for me. Morikawa is still the 6th ranked player in the world and is being priced as if he’s a hot player still outside of the top 20. Collin hasn’t really threatened at any recent events, but that’s not to say he’s playing poorly. Afterall, his last two finishes are two T7’s at the Tournament of Champions and the Sony. Lastly, we’ve seen him hit his stride out of nowhere on tough tracks such as Muirfield Village and TPC Harding Park. No reason to think the uber talented 24-year old can’t do it again.

Joaquin Niemann (40-1)

One could argue that Niemann has been the hottest player on Tour over the last several months. Even though his stellar play hasn’t resulted in a win (yet), he has two runner-up finishes in each of his last events and has gained a ridiculous 6.9 strokes total over his last five tournaments per Fantasynational.com. Despite the magnificent play, there are a few things to be wary of. Niemann isn’t the best Poa putter and has only has two appearances at Riviera, in which he finished 44th and missed the cut. Having said that, the current form is simply too great to be ignored and makes the 40-1 number more than feasible.

Matthew Wolff (80-1)

Coming into this week, Matthew Wolff is almost the opposite of Niemann. Wolff enters Genesis week in so-so form, finishing 36th and 40th in his last two outings, but has a game that is tailor made for Riviera. We’ve seen Wolff have success at a lot of the same places that Bryson does, and for good reason. Both players are long off the tee, can strike their irons with the best of them, and excel at putting on Poa. If you can stomach the recent play, Wolff’s latest results might prove to be a bettor’s dream, as his number has inflated to a point that simply cannot be overlooked for a player of his caliber.

Longshot/Cheek of the Week:

Francesco Molinari of Europe celebrates winning The Ryder Cup during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari (100-1)

This week’s Cheek of the Week is more of a narrative play than anything. It was recently learned that Molinari became a member at Riviera towards the end of 2020 and has used the course as his quasi-quarantine home. Molinari enters the week having made three consecutive cuts, two of which resulted in T10 finishes at the The AmEx and the Farmers. I expect the betting public to be off Molinari this week after a less than inspiring performance at Pebble Beach and as we noted earlier in the blog, that’s when these type of players tend to pop.

All PGA odds taken from BetMGM Sportsbook

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