Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the Genesis Open
2018 Genesis Open Fantasy Preview
Sometimes golf is the easiest sport in the world to predict: the best players in the world typically compete for the majors and the big paydays, and the rest battle it out for the crumbs off their table.
Occasionally, however, the status quo is suitably demolished.
Heading into the final round of last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach two players tied at the top of the leaderboard on -14: world number one Dustin Johnson, a two-time Pebble Beach winner no less, and Ted Potter Jr, a journeyman whose last win at the top table came back in 2012.
Guess who prevailed….and then maybe guess again.
As DJ struggled to get his game going during Sunday’s finale Potter, who had carded a sublime 62 at Monterey just a day earlier, held his nerve with a rock-solid round of 69 to take the honors by three shots from a chasing pack that included Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and the Phoenix Open runner-up Chez Reavie.
The shame for Potter is that many onlookers will be trying to theorize why DJ managed to let both a 36 and 54-hole lead slip, rather than focusing on the exploits of the 34-year-old who played his final 36 holes in -12. That is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast.
Johnson has the chance to make immediate amends at this week’s event: the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades. This is the final tournament of the West Coast Swing, and it is one in which DJ has played the last four years in a combined -49….that’s a ridiculous 20 shots better than anybody else on Tour.
So will the world number one return to the winner’s circle this week?
Tiger Woods plays his shot from the fifth tee during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 27, 2018 in San Diego, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Last Week’s Fantasy Results from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
It looked as if our horse pick DJ was going to run away with it after carding 18 birdies and one eagle heading into the final day. Unfortunately, the world’s best golfer put up four bogeys on Sunday which knocked him to a T2 finish.
Obviously Ted Potter Jr wasn’t on many radars this week. Coming in with a $7,100 price tag and a measly 37.5 GPFP, Potter would have been icing on the cake if you had him on a roster that included DJ.
Ted Potter Jr. poses with the trophy after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 11, 2018 in Pebble Beach, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
So far with thirteen events in the books for the 17-18 wrap-around season, we’re still sitting with an 81% cuts-made percentage and have successfully notched four runner up finishes over thirteen events.
2018 Genesis Open Field
DJ will have plenty of high quality company at Riviera with three of the world’s top ten in Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy all making the trip.
All in all, there will be 10 of the world’s top 20 players teeing it up, with the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey and Alex Noren ensuring a strong European presence alongside Marc Leishman, Matt Kuchar and Pat Perez.
Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walk up the sixth fairway during the second round of the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The in-form Phil Mickelson, a two-time Riviera champion, will be looking to build on back-to-back top-five finishes, while the likes of Chez Reavie, Kevin Chappell and Ollie Schneiderjans will also be making to cash in on their recent good form.
Oh, and there’s some fella by the name of T. Woods making his first start at this course in over a decade!
This Week’s Course Preview
Like Pebble Beach last week, Riviera is one of those courses on the PGA TOUR that we simply can’t wait to see once again.
It has quite a unique character which makes for a fascinating four days of golf. It’s a Par 71 measuring 7,322 yards, which means there’s just a trio of Par 5s to exploit and eleven Par 4s, one of which – the tenth – is one of the most enjoyable ‘risk and reward’ driveable Par 4s in world golf.
Holes dogleg left and right, creating tough driving lines and a necessity to shape the ball both ways. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that six of the last fifteen editions of this event have been won by left-handers (Phil, Bubba and Mike Weir twice each).
The greens are a Bentgrass/Poa Annua blend, while the fairways and rough are Kikuyu; the tough, grainy grass typically native to South Africa. This is fine on the fairways where balls will sit up nicely, but the thickness can be a nightmare in the rough….keep your ball in play at all costs!
Strategic bunkering is another useful defence – there’s even a sand trap posted in the middle of the sixth hole’s green! – and the knowledge that Riviera has been selected to host the 2023 US Open gives you an idea of its complexity. Indeed, DJ’s winning mark of -17 here 12 months ago was the lowest in more than a decade, with Scott Brown and Thomas Pieters some five shots behind in second, and only ten players finished on double-digits under par. It’s noteworthy that -12 has or would have won this event in five of the last ten years.
This is the thinking player’s stretch, where keeping your ball on the short stuff gives the best chance of finding these small greens. A look at last year’s top ten confirms that the approach-play flushers are the players to get behind this week.
Readers of a certain vintage may remember Riviera as being known as ‘Hogan’s Alley’. Ben Hogan won here three times in the space of 18 months when lifting two L.A. Open titles and a US Open trophy here back in the 1940s.
Dustin Johnson plays his shot on the 18th hole during the final round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Pacific Palisades, CA
The weather in California at this time of year is predictably glorious, and once again the players can expect perfect conditions for golf this week.
The early forecast is filled with sunshine and temperatures around the 68 degree mark and warming up across the weekend.
The wind, typically California’s chief defense against low scores, looks set to be fairly consistent across the board at around 8 mph.
Last Year’s Results from the Genesis Open
The weather this year looks set to be a polar opposite to 12 months ago, when rain, fog and the threat of storms meant the field had to play 36-holes on a marathon Sunday.
Dustin Johnson showed that his golf game and his physical attributes were both in fine fettle by clinching the title by five shots – at one point he led by nine on that final day. His all-round game was in incredible shape, and if we refer back to that amazing stat in this article’s introduction we note that nobody quite plays Riviera as well as DJ.
Eagled-eyed gamers had noted that Thomas Pieters, the fiery-spirited Belgian, had won the 2012 NCAA Championship here, and so they weren’t surprised when he ended up tied for second with Scott Brown.
Wes Bryan, two shots adrift of DJ at the 54-hole stage, faded to finish T4 alongside Justin Rose, Charley Hoffman and Kevin Na.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Genesis Open this Week
It’s a well-respected event dating back decades, and with Tiger in town it’s no surprise that the DFS community is going big on the Genesis Open.
The ante has been raised substantially with a number of big-money contests as well as plenty of opportunities for those on low budgets to prosper, and here is the pick of the bunch:
- PGA $550k Club Twirl: Quite why the big DK contest has been given this ‘Club Twirl’ re-brand is anybody’s guess, but we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. It’s a $44 buy-in to compete for the $100k top prize.
- PGA $40k Short Game: If you find yourself a bit short of spare cash this month then not to worry: this ‘Short Game’ contest is a cracker. It’s $1 entry, you can enter up to 20 times, and the first prize is a still-handsome $2k.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Genesis Open
If we were to use the 2017 Genesis Open for pointers as to how this year’s edition might pan out then unfortunately we are thin on the ground: Johnson simply played stunning golf from tee-to-ball-in-hole.
The world number one ranked second for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, third for Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and fourth for Strokes Gained: Putting. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect week than that.
And the bad news keeps rolling: there really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to taming Riviera.
Take Scott Brown last year, for example. He finished T2 but his stats from tee-to-green were pretty average, to be frank. But he did gain a huge +2.45 strokes on the field with his flat stick, so that’s one way of going about it.
Compare and contrast that to Charley Hoffman in T4: +3.14 for SG: Tee-to-Green (the best in the field), -0.51 for SG: Putting.
You can actually categorize each of the player’s in last year’s Genesis Open top-ten. DJ is, well DJ, Brown and Kevin Na absolutely putted the lights out, Justin Rose and Hoffman are experienced old heads who can pick their way around a course like Riviera, while young guns Wes Bryan, Ollie Schneiderjans and Cameron Tringale are actually quite mature players: they opt for the strategic side of the game over letting it rip off the tee and seeing where it takes them. Pieters had won the NCAA Championship here, while Martin Laird routinely plays well in these parts of California.
We are inclined to favor the slow-and-steady plodders this week; a rarity on PGA TOUR courses these days which are routinely overpowered. The likes of Kuchar, Scott, Mickelson, Bradley, Haas, Walker, Holmes, Bubba and Ryan Moore typically play well around here, and they are experienced campaigners to a man.
In the past decade alone we’ve seen top-10s here from Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Retief Goosen, KJ Choi and Ernie Els, while Steve Stricker won here on the eve of his 43rd birthday. That may not get the juices of DFS gamers flowing, but that kind of player will typically yield the best results here.
When it comes to correlating courses we can, occasionally, create ties where they don’t really exist, and other than being Par 71s there is very little that attaches Riviera and Harbour Town Links, home to the RBC Heritage. Different designers, different greens, different layouts….usually you would think there is little to see here.
But perhaps there is some kind of correlation. Aaron Baddeley has won both of those events; Wes Bryan won the RBC after finishing T4 here, Davis Love III was a five-time RBC champion and two-time Genesis Open runner-up; Ernie Els won here and finished second at Harbour Town, and Luke Donald has finished second in both. Whether you consider those links to be incidental or coincidental is at your discretion!
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Genesis Open
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2017-2018)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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