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Best Bets - Genesis Open
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Genesis Open
Riviera Country Club – Par 71 – 7,340 yards

After Saturday struggles from Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner killed any hope of last week's selections getting into the winner's circle, the PGA Tour heads to Los Angeles this week for the Genesis Open. This has long been a favorite stop on Tour for guys as it's a course that sits right in the heart of the city and requires accuracy and creative shot making to have success. That, and it's a great “tune up” even for the Masters at Augusta National, as there is quite a bit of correlation in terms of players having success there and here at Riviera throughout their careers.
This year's defending champ is Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters winner, who won the Genesis Open for this 3rd time in his career 12 months ago, and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson is also a two-time winner of this event. Another former lefty Masters champ in Canadian Mike Weir also went back-to-back at the Genesis Open during his heyday, and it's those eight combined wins by the three southpaws that will bring a “lefties do well in LA” narrative to the forefront this week.
Whether or not you put much stock into what hands guys hit the golf ball with is up to you, but typically you do want to back guys at the Genesis Open that have had some level of success at Augusta in the past. Of the past 16 winners of the Genesis Open, 15 of them had at least a Top 26 finish at Augusta on their resume prior to winning in LA, with only 2015 Genesis Open champion James Hahn being the outlier of that group, although he never had played at Augusta prior to winning this event. Of those other 15 past Genesis Open champions that finished 26th or better at Augusta prior to winning here, nine of them had Top 10's in past excursions to Augusta, Georgia, so looking at recent Masters leaderboards is not a bad place to start when handicapping the loaded field this week.
In terms of Riviera itself, length is always going to be an advantage here as there are plenty of long Par 4's scattered throughout the track, and narrow driving lanes really reward guys that keep the ball on the short grass. Consistently finding the rough will make for a quick two-day work week for many guys, and because of the length of numerous Par 4's, scrambling, GIR, and putting always help the bottom line on the scorecard.
So with that in mind, let's get to the guys I'm looking to have a good time in LA this week:
Odds per -

Golfers to Watch
Marc Leishman (+2800) – Leishman fits the bill for nearly all the prerequisites you need to have success at Riviera, other than a great course history here. Leishman has missed the cut in three of his last four tries at this event, but sprinkled in amongst those weekends off was a 5th place finish back in 2016. That's enough to alleviate some of those course history concerns for me, as everything else is there for Leishman to have success.
The big Aussie is long enough off the tee to where the length of Riviera will not concern him, he's a great scrambler – finished 22nd in Strokes Gained: Around the Green last season, currently ranks 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach this year, and has improved his putting to the tune of gaining .743 strokes on the field (17th on Tour) this season. Oh, and Leishman's also got a 4th and a 3rd place finishes on his resume in two of his last three starts.
Furthermore, looking at Leishman's past results at the Masters, there was a 9th place finish at Augusta last year, that comes close to his best ever (T4 in 2013) at that event. Add it all up and there is plenty to like about Leishman's chances this week at a nearly 30-1 price tag if he can put it all together.
Sergio Garcia (+4000) – Garcia is another former Masters champion in the field this week and at +4000, his odds are loaded with value if you ask me. Sure, the most recent memory of Garcia in the golfing market is of him getting DQ'd in his last start, but the fiery Spaniard has always worn his emotions on his sleeve and they got the better of him that day. But it's those same emotions that allow him to be highly creative and aggressive on the course when things are going well, and you know he'd love to redeem himself after his so-called childish behaviour.
With Garcia, obviously the correlation to his Augusta resume is there, but what won him that green jacket was his deadly accuracy and length off the tee, his superb play with long irons, and his scoring shots on and around the green. All are necessary components to find success at Riviera, and while the DQ gets all the headlines these days, Garcia had gone into that event after two consecutive Top 7 finishes in the two weeks prior.
Current form is not an issue if Garcia can keep focused on the end goal this week, and with two Top 13 or better finishes in his last four starts in LA, the course knowledge is there as well.
Beau Hossler (+15000) – If he were to win, Hossler is a guy that would fit into the James Hahn camp of winning at Riviera prior to ever playing at Augusta, and while that's definitely a knock here, it's not enough for me to stay away from taking a shot with the hometown boy. Hossler grew up about an hour away from LA and you know that this tournament has got to mean just a little more to him.
Hossler has yet tor really find his stride yet in 2019 having missed the cut in two of his last four starts, but what propelled him to a strong 2018 season was his green play off the tee (48th in Strokes Gained) and on the greens (6th in Strokes Gained). He's still a young guy that can get off the rails at times with his approach shots, and that is something to keep an eye on this week, but there are always going to be “holes” in a guys game who's listed at 150-1, and you've got to know that going into backing a longer shot.
But given Hossler's length and ability to get hot with the flatstick, maybe a return trip home is what he needs to get his 2019 season going on the right track and carry that momentum into the rest of the spring and summer.

Odds to win Genesis Open - per
Dustin Johnson 9/1
Justin Thomas 12/1
Rory McIlroy 14/1
Bryson DeChambeau 16/1
Jon Rahm 16/1
Bubba Watson 20/1
Jordan Spieth 22/1
Phil Mickelson 22/1
Tiger Woods 22/1
Xander Schauffele 22/1
Hideki Matsuyama 28/1
Marc Leishman 28/1
Patrick Cantlay 28/1
Paul Casey 28/1
Tony Finau 28/1
Adam Scott 33/1
Cameron Smith 33/1
Matt Kuchar 33/1
Charles Howell III 40/1
Chez Reavie 40/1
Sergio Garcia 40/1
Tommy Fleetwood 40/1
Adam Hadwin 50/1
Branden Grace 50/1
Louis Oosthuizen 50/1
Rafa Cabrera Bello 50/1
Jason Kokrak 66/1
Tyrrell Hatton 66/1
Cameron Champ 80/1
Keegan Bradley 80/1
Kevin Na 80/1
Martin Laird 80/1
Scott Stallings 80/1
Si Woo Kim 80/1
Sung Kang 80/1
Sungjae Im 80/1
Abraham Ancer 100/1
Andrew Putnam 100/1
Brian Harman 100/1
Luke List 100/1
Aaron Wise 125/1
JT Poston 125/1
Kevin Streelman 125/1
Beau Hossler 150/1
Bud Cauley 150/1
Danny Willett 150/1
JB Holmes 150/1
Ryan Moore 150/1
Sang Moon Bae 150/1

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