Monday, 15 February 2021

Genesis Invitational 2021 - Riviera GC, LA

 As per my preview twelve months ago, this is one if not my favourite tournaments on the PGA Tour. Made ever sweeter by backing Adam Scott last year, viewing of this from a spectators point of view is a must as the course is a good old fashioned traditional, tree-lined track that rewards accurate and long players, especially those of high calibre and experience. Riviera and Torrey Pines are the only courses on Tour to feature Kikuyu grass fairways and rough and the course typically ranks as one of the toughest on tour. The 10th hole is a "marmite" hole; you either love it or hate it, a fantastic risk /reward hole and will be of interest to a certain Bryson DeChambeau. For BDC and the 10th holes, it would be good to see some books price his over/under scoring for the week

Whilst Adam Scott was a confident pick last year, I'm not sure this year and we do seem to have a lot of lively contenders. With Jordan Spieth looking to come back into solid form, we could be treated to a Major-esq tourney this week. DJ quite rightly goes off a strong favourite and it does look difficult to back against him here. That said, JT, Rhambo, Cantlay and DeChambeau will have plenty of support as too will Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy. Aside from John Merrick's (who??)  shock win back in 2013 and perhaps also in 2015 when James Hahn defeated Paul Casey & Dustin Johnson in a playoff, the roll of honour shows that the quality does tend to prevail at Riviera and also indicates that the formline tends to align itself to that of Augusta National. 

Just a couple of picks for me this week. Marc Leishman was on the staking plan last year (43rd) and I'm willing to go in again this year based on his course form where he finished 4th in 2019 and 5th in 2016. The missed cuts in between I will excuse or should say ignore in that he had other things to tend to in his life at the time. The Aussie has posted 3no. TOP-20s from his 8 starts this season, having finished T-20 at Torrey Pines last time out and 4th in Hawaii at the Sony Open. With great similarities in grass type (kikuyu) between Torrey & Riviera, this is encouraging and @ 66/1 - 8 places I'm happy to chance big Marc again this week.


Adam Hadwin tends to play his better golf on harder courses, but I'm not convinced its due to his liking for such conditions or whether its because he doesn't score enough birdies at the birdie-fests but he has shown he can play Riviera well in the past. 26th last year followed a poor weekend in 2019 having started well. In 2018, he finished the weekend well with a pair of 66s to climb to 6th so he can produce the score required. He started well in 2017 before slipping on Friday but all in all, Riviera is a course for the Canadian to perform well at and I'll get onside this week @ 150/1 - 8 places following a decent TOP-20 at Torrey Pines.


Selections


1.5 pt e/w M. Leishman @ 66/1 - 8 places
1.0 pt e/w A. Hadwin @ 150/1 - 8 places



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