Welcome back for another PGA Tour event preview with @DFSduncan. This week’s event brings us to Riviera CC for the Genesis Open. Phil Mickelson held on during today’s Monday finish to add another AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am trophy to his mantle. He charged back on Sunday and once he grabbed the lead from Paul Casey he never looked back en route to his first win of this 2018-2019 wrap around season.

Course Preview and Key Stats

First of all this week’s event at Riviera has an absolutely loaded field. Outside of the Majors, Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs and WGC’s, you would be hard pressed to find another even on the schedule with the star power that will be on display this week. I think the strength of the field has a lot to do with how many guys in this field enjoy playing the course. Riviera CC is a par 71 course that plays at just over 7300 yards. The fairways are a bit more narrow than tour average and the course is covered with thick Kikuyu rough. This will put a premium on driving accuracy this week. The greens are also on the smaller side of tour average which will put a premium on both approach and scrambling. Players will also need to take advantage of the three par 5’s as there are not many scoring holes on this course. The key stats that I’ll be looking at this week are as follows:

  • SG: Approach
  • SG: Scrambling
  • Good Drives Gained
  • SG: Ball Striking
  • Par 5 Scoring

I’ll be adjusting my pricing tiers just a bit going forward to even out the player pools in each range. I’ll now choose plays in the ranges of $9.5k+, $9.4k-$8.3k, $8.2k-$7k, and Sub $7k.

$9.5k+

Justin Thomas ($11,000)

Thomas has been on fire with his irons as of late. In his 3 starts this calendar year he has gained at least 5.7 strokes on the field on approach which has resulted in finishes of 3rd, 16th, and 3rd. He also ranks 3rdin the field in par 5 scoring over his last 50 rounds. You’re certainly paying for these performances but he’s as safe a bet as any to be in contention on Sunday considering his current form. 

Tiger Woods ($9,500)

Tiger will be making his 2ndstart of the year this weekend, with his first being a T20 at Torrey Pines. He MC’d at this event last year, but I think we can all agree that his game is in a much better place than it was at this time last year. He pops at #2 in my model including top 10 rankings in approach, scrambling, and par 5 scoring. As always he’ll be highly owned, but with a loaded field like this, it should keep his ownership below what it usually is.

$9.4k-$8.3k

Patrick Cantlay ($9,000)

Cantlay should be well rested as he withdrew from last week’s field and hasn’t played since Torrey Pines. He suffered a brutal MC there by hitting the flag on the 18thneeding a birdie to make the weekend. Cantlay finished 4thin last year’s event and is showing 7thin my model. He is accurate off the tee and a great ball striker. I like him for both cash and GPP’s this week,

Tommy Fleetwood ($8,600)

Fleetwood made his first start on this side of the pond at last week’s tournament. He turned in a T45 finish in what was his first go around at Pebble. He has one start in this event coming last year with a 37thplace finish. These factors are likely the only reasons why his price is where it is. Fleetwood is a top 10 player in the world and is the top par 5 scorer in the field over his last 50 rounds. Couple this with his great ball striking and he becomes an elite play at this price point. He’ll be in both cash and GPP lineups for me this week.

$8.2k-$7k

Adam Hadwin ($7,800)

Hadwin checks into Riviera coming off a T18 finish at Pebble Beach. He finished T4 at this event last year and has gained the 5thmost strokes on the field over the last 5 years at this event. It’s clear that the course suits his eye well. He is the 5thbest par 5 scorer in the field over his last 50 rounds, and he remains a solid ball striker. While his name might not pop up as much as others in this range, I think he is a great cash and GPP play at this price.

Harold Varner ($7,000)

One of these weeks Draftkings will adjust Varner’s price. Fortunately for us it won’t be this week. Varner shows at #13 in my model, and at this price point his value is evident. He has placed top 20 in 2 of his 3 starts this calendar year, with the other being a missed cut on the number. His game seemed to turn a corner after last year’s US Open, so I plan to continue to ride the Varner wave until Draftkings ups his pricing.

Sub $7k

CT Pan ($6,800)

Pan has made the cut in all 3 of his starts this calendar year. While he isn’t the longest off the tee he makes up for it with accuracy. His ball striking is very solid as well. I like him for cash games if you need some savings, and I’ll be keeping an eye on his projected ownership levels to see he’s worth locking into some GPP lineups as well.

Sam Ryder ($6,400)

Ryder checks in at 10thin my model and with a price this low he’s definitely worth a flier in some GPP’s this week. Ryder ranks 15thin par 5 scoring in the field, and his ball striking has been solid as well. He’s made his last 3 cuts, and if his putter can get hot he stands a chance to climb the leaderboard throughout the tournament.

This event begins a great run of tournaments pretty much all the way through the Masters. The European players have made their way to the States and we have some very strong fields to look forward to in the coming weeks and month. As always feel free to contact me on twitter @DFSduncan with any questions.