Par 71, 7,349 Yards
The PGA Tour stays in California and travels to Riviera Country Club, which is located in Pacific Palisades, California. It was designed by George C. Thomas, Jr in 1926 and was redesigned by Tom Fazio in 2008. It has been the primary host for the Genesis Open (originally the Los Angeles Open and formerly the Northern Trust Open) and is a par 71 measuring 7,349 yards.
Riviera has hosted three major championships: the U.S. Open in 1948, and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995. It also hosted the U.S. Senior Open in 1998.
Previous winners include Dustin Johnson (last year), Bubba Watson (2016 & 2014) James Hahn (2015), John Merrick (2013), Bill Haas (2012), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Steve Stricker (2010) and Phil Mickelson (2009,2008). It has three very different par 5’s and a reachable par 4. The par 3’s are tricky and will require good, accurate iron play to hit the greens.
The first of the par 5’s is the opening hole and offers a very makeable birdie by most of the field. The other two are on the back 9 and will favour the bigger hitters with the 11th measuring just over 560 yards and the 17th measuring a lengthy 590. Players that can shape the ball will have an advantage around this course as there is quite a few doglegs and tricky par 4’s. The par 4 10th is reachable by the bigger hitters in the field measuring around 315 yards. Depending on the hole location, it can be a tricky hole to score on.
This course has a couple of signature holes, for example, there is a bunker in the middle of sixth green, which is a par 3 and could force some players to chip from one part of the green to the other. The fairways are quite forgiving and there are no water hazards to contend with. The fairways are Kikuyu, which is common in South Africa and the greens are poa annua and are quite small so be on the lookout for guys that have good GIR stats. This course will certainly favour the bombers, who should be able to take advantage of the par 5’s and some of the short par 4’s. The main stats to look at here are driving distance, GIR, strokes gained putting, SGTTG and par 4 scoring.
In the last four events he has played, Englishman Paul Casey has not finished outside the top 20. His form reads 7,19,11,8 since last October and comes to Riviera on the back of a top 10 finish last week in Pebble Beach.
Casey started the season with a T7 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He started with a disappointing 77 in round one but bounced back with an impressive 63 in round two followed by a 69,65 over the weekend. He then teed it up at the CJ Cup in Korea posting a respectable two under par and T19 for the tournament and followed that with a T11 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China finishing T11.
He came close to victory here back in 2015 getting himself into a playoff with Dustin Johnson and James Hahn after a final round 68, but just came up short to finish T2 with DJ. Casey has played well here in the past finishing T12 in 2011 and T22 in 2008 so he’s no stranger to Riviera.
Statswise he ranks 17th in driving accuracy, seventh in GIR and first in SGTTG. Form wise Casey is playing sold golf at the moment and could follow up his top 10 last week in Pebble with another good week here.
Phil seems to be warming up nicely lately with back to back to 5’s in his last two starts.
He has been in good shape since the start of the season posting a T3 at the Safeway Open back in October and followed that with a T15 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, which included a final round 67.
In his last eight competitive rounds Mickelson has shot a 70 or better seven times and looks to be putting superbly over the last couple of weeks.
He had a great week in Phoenix shooting an opening round 70 followed by a 65,66,69 to finish T5. Phil then followed that with another solid performance last week in Pebble where he shot three rounds of 69 or better to finish T2 on 14 under.
Phil has a great record here in Riviera with form figures 2,1,1,44,35,2,21,34 since 2007 including back to back wins in 2008 and 2009. Statswise he is averaging just under 305 off the tee and ranks 12th in SG approaches to the green. He also ranks 28th in scrambling and fifth in SGP which are two important stats around Riviera.
With great current form and a red hot putter, Phil is definitely someone to keep on side here.
I backed this man a couple of weeks ago in Torrey where he unfortunately missed the cut but I’m willing to roll the dice on him once again here on a course he top 10’d on last year.
He has been in great form over the last few weeks finishing 19,MC,7,MC,3 in his last five starts. He had a good week at the CJ Cup in Korea finishing a respectable T19 back in October.
In his first event of 2018, he started strongly with a T7 at the Sony open in Hawaii shooting rounds of 66,65,67,68 on his way to a 14 under par total. The youngster then travelled to Arizona for the Phoenix Open where he showed some great consistency with three 68’s and a closing 65 to finish T3.
Schneiderjans played great here last year, again showing great consistency with rounds of 68,69,69,68 on his way to a T8 where he was one of only two players to shoot sub 70 in every round. He ticks a lot of boxes here ranking 19th in driving distance, 15th in SGTTG, 53rd in SGP and ranks inside the top 36 for par 3 – par 5 scoring.
With good current form and a great performance here last year, Schneiderjans looks a decent bet at 40’s.
Reavie has been in great shape since the start of the season with seven top 20’s including, back to back top 5’s, in his last nine starts.
He started strongly with a T13 at the Safeway Open back in October and followed that with a T17 at the CIMB Classic, T15 at the CJ Cup, T24 at the WGC-HSBC Champions, T14 at the OHL Classic and T18 at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
Reavie has been playing particularly well over the last couple of weeks with back to back seconds. He came close to victory in Phoenix getting himself into a playoff with Gary Woodland after shooting an impressive final round 66 but lost the sudden death playoff to a par on the tricky 18th. He then followed that up with another solid performance last week in Pebble posting 14 under and T2 for the tournament.
The American has played well here in Riviera before finishing solo seventh in 2016 shooting three rounds of 69 or better to finish on 11 under. Statswise Reavie ranks 10th in driving accuracy, 22nd in GIR, fifth in SGTTG and inside the top 10 for both par 3 and par 4 scoring.
Final Selections –
Paul Casey 1pt EW
Phil Mickelson 1pt EW
Ollie Schneiderjans 0.5pts EW
Chez Reavie 0.5pts EW
Total staked = 6pts (Some bookies paying 7 places)
Good luck and enjoy the golf.