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Sleeper Picks: The Genesis Invitational

3 Min Read

Sleeper Picks

    Taylor Moore(+333 for a Top 20) … Not that every professional golfer who commits and competes at any time isn’t hopeful and confident at every starting line, but it sure doesn’t hurt when there’s a parade of six-figure paydays lined up as the nearest objects in the rearview mirror. The second-year PGA TOUR member from Texas just rattled off a T11, a T15 and a T14 in the last three tournaments. And with a T12 among three top 25s in the fall, he’s just cracked the seal on a seventh column left of the decimal. His skill set is balanced but there’s a little more strength in his game closer to the hole, so it’s no surprise that he debuted with an incredibly steady T21 at Riviera last year.

    Jhonattan Vegas(+375 for a Top 20) … Since returning from a recurring but undisclosed injury in January, he’s 2-for-3 with top 25s in his last two starts. His sample sizes are too small to analyze with any granularity, but let’s agree that his tee-to-green game currently is vintage. Even better, his body and mind likely feel more refreshed as a result of the unplanned five-month break from competition. This marks his 10th start at Riviera where two of his attempts yielded a top-15 finish. The more recent is six years ago, but the combination of his experience, current form and veteran savvy deserve this reach.

    Kurt Kitayama … A year ago today, the NorCal native was 284th in the Official World Golf Ranking and a considerable distance away from being eligible for The Genesis Invitational in what was his first season as a PGA TOUR member. Today, he’s 44th on the strength of a quartet of podium finishes worldwide in the interim. There’s a fearlessness about his approach that requires more experience for all the tumblers to fall into place and unlock a breakthrough victory on this circuit, but he’s tossing so many chances against the wall that one of them is bound to stick. He came close just two weeks ago at Pebble Beach where he went out in the final threesome in the finale with eventual champion Justin Rose but shot 76 to finish T29. So, the label of Sleeper isn’t as apropos as his firepower as a non-winner in a thick field in his tournament debut.

    Alex Smalley … His ascent in the ranks, both analytically and metaphorically speaking, has been textbook. He’s been a poster boy for the learning curve, so taming Riviera may be a couple of years away, but tackling it in a given week like this is within his capability. Two top fives among five top 25s this season and he cashed in his first appearance here last year. Also among the sharpest on approach, salvaging pars and scoring on par 5s. Risk a fraction of a unit in a top-40 market.

    Adam Schenk … The last time that he appeared in this space, he finished T16 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. The advice to tap into a top-30 market where available that week applies again at The Genesis Invitational. His short-term inconsistency is counterbalanced by connecting with enough success over time to generate four consecutive appearances in the FedExCup Playoffs. His record at Riviera is a microcosm. In 12 rounds across four visits, he’s averaged 71.67 on the par 71 but made two cuts, albeit neither of which for a top 45. However, he landed this week with a mini-burst of three straight paydays – two top 25s and a T37. The skinny is that he presents nice potential for the value.

    Odds were sourced on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. For live odds, visit BetMGM.

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