Par 71, 7,349 Yards
The PGA Tour stays in California this week and travels to Riviera Country Club which was designed by George C. Thomas, Jr. It has been the primary host for the Genesis Open (originally the Los Angeles Open and then 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 James Hahn (2015), Bubba Watson (2014), 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 favor the bigger hitters with the 11th measuring just over 560 yards and the 17th measuring 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 and tee to green and par 4 scoring.
The Aussie looks in decent shape coming to California this week with four top 15’s in his last four starts. He played well at The CIMB Classic finishing T10 and followed that with a T14 at the WGC HSBC Champions. He played well throughout the week but shot a disappointing 80 in round two but bounced back with a 64, 66 over the weekend to post nine under in total. Scott then played in his native Australian Open finishing T14 for the tournament on six under which included a second round 65.
He has a great record here in Riviera finishing second last year, tenth in 2013, T17 in 2012, T14 in 2008, second in 2006 and a win in 2005. Scott is hitting just under 75% of greens in regulation and is one of the biggest hitters on tour. With a great record here and decent current form the Aussie could be one to watch here.
An has been playing some decent golf over the last couple of months and I’m willing to take a chance on him here on a course that could suit his game. He had a good finish to the European Tour season with a T10 at the Turkish Airlines Open followed by a T13 at the DP World in Dubai. He started the New Year with a T13 in Abu Dhabi shooting three rounds in the 60’s to finish ten under par for the week. Most recently, An teed it up at The Phoenix Open where he again, shot three rounds in the 60’s to finish solo sixth and 14 under par for the tournament.
Statswise An could be a pretty good fit for Riviera averaging just under 295 off the tee and ranking 11th in GIR and 33rd in strokes gained putting on the European Tour last season. If he makes a few putts he could be one to keep an eye on here.
Since winning the Safeway Open back in October, Steele has kept up his good run of form with a further four top 20’s in his last four starts. He played well at the SBS Tournament of Champions finishing T6 and followed that with a T6 at the CareerBuilder Challenge, T20 at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines and a T16 at The Phoenix Open, which included two opening rounds in the 60’s. Steele has played well here before finishing T10 in 2014 and T14 in 2015.
Statswise he the ticks the boxes here ranking 20th in SG Approaches to the green, 16th in SGTTG, 11th in GIR, seventh in par 5 scoring and 13th in par 4 scoring. Steele comes here in much better form than he did last year and looks great value to keep up his good run of form here.
I was quite surprised to see Keegan Bradley at such a big price this week considering the form he’s in. He finished 2016 with three top 15’s in four events finishing solo sixth at the CIMB Classic, T7 at The Shriners Open and a T15 at the OHL Classic. He has only played four events so far in 2017 and has had a bit of a mixed bag of form. Two missed cuts are sandwiched between a T25 at the CareerBuilder and an impressive T4 at The Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines.
Bradley has played well in Riviera before finishing second in 2012, 16th in 2013, 20th in 2014 and fourth in 2015. Statistically he ranks 30th in SG Approach to the green, 30th in GIR and 26th in par 4 scoring. Bradley has great from on this course and is back playing some decent golf lately and looks great value to have a good week here.
Final Selections –
Adam Scott 22/1 1pt EW
Ben An 66/1 0.5pts EW
Brendan Steele 66/1 0.5pts EW
Keegan Bradley 80/1 0.5pts EW
Total Staked = 5pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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