DraftKings preview: The Genesis Invitational
February 11, 2020
By Reid Fowler, Special, PGATOUR.COM
- February 11, 2020
Daily Fantasy preview for The Genesis Invitational
The TOUR is staying on the West Coast for one more week and travels south on US-101 before getting on the I-405 en route to the Genesis Invitational played at the famed Riviera Country Club. The course will play as a Par 71, steps off at 7,322 yards and will again be putt on poa annua greens.
This will be the 58th time Riviera Country Club has hosted the tournament, which dates back to 1926. Tiger Woods ($10,400) has been the tournament host since 2017. This will be his 11th time teeing it up at Riviera as a professional and he has yet to win one. He’ll be joined by an elite field, including Rory Mcilroy ($11,600), Brooks Koepka ($9,400), Justin Thomas ($11,000) and defending champ J.B. Holmes ($7,700), who won with his second-best Strokes Gained: Putting performance since 2008 (+8.2).
The par-3 sixth hole is famous for its bunker in the middle of the green and the drivable 10th is arguably the best short par-4 on TOUR. Even with no water hazards on the course, Genesis has played very tough, ranking inside the top 10 last season and the year previous in scoring relative to par. The fairways are tough to hit, recording just under 8% less than TOUR average and may be penal if guys hit into the kikuyu rough, a grass that is thick and rarely used on TOUR. These greens are also difficult to hit, recording about 8.5% fewer greens in regulation due to the small, undulating poa annua greens. Kikuyu is a difficult grass to chip out of. This is why Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green is important this week, with winners here gaining an average of +2.52 strokes around the greens over the past five years. It might be why we don’t see a lot of winners close it out after holding the 54-hole lead. Since 2000, only seven winners have won after holding or sharing the lead after the third round.
As always, and similar to last week’s accuracy game, Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green is the primary metric we should hone in on this week when rostering golfers as well as Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Even though it’s not a long course, we should be rostering golfers who are able to hit it long with Holmes, Bubba Watson ($9,600) and Dustin Johnson ($10,000) all finishing inside the top 20 or inside the top 5 in driving distance at the end of the year they won.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,800)
You can’t go wrong with anyone from the top, but Cantlay has been playing great of late. Outside of his 40th-place finish at the Safeway Open to start this season, Cantlay hasn’t finished worse than 21st dating back to late July. He’s also been extremely consistent, not missing a cut since THE PLAYERS Championship in March. He has gained strokes tee-to-green in 13 of his past 14 tournaments. Cantlay has solid finishes in his past two appearances at Riviera and over his past three tournaments on TOUR. He ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, just outside the top 20 in driving distance and has gained an average of two strokes around-the-greens.
Adam Scott ($9,000)
He hasn’t played on TOUR for a while, but his history at Riviera is impeccable. He ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green and fifth in DraftKings scoring over the past six tournaments at this course. With so many big names around him, Scott could have single-digit ownership, which is great value for someone who ranks third in Strokes Gained: Total since 2015.
Sungjae Im ($8,000)
Im has been the epitome of consistency, making 14 straight cuts on TOUR and ranking 32nd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting and eighth in Strokes Gained: Total over the past 24 rounds. There are some similarities in grass type on golf courses in South Korea as we see here at Riviera, which could be a slight advantage he has over the field. He’s got solid finishes so far this season and should make the cut for his 15th straight event this week.
Jason Kokrak ($7,100)
Over the past 29 rounds at Riviera, Kokrak ranks 17th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 12th in DraftKings scoring, but hasn’t played extremely well of late, missing the cut in two of his past three events on TOUR. Kokrak should be able to right the ship this week at a tournament he plays well at, ranking sixth in Strokes Gained: Total since 2015. Even though he’s a fantastic ball-striker, he’s struggled with his short game losing an average of 1.1 strokes around-the-green over his last five tournaments, but he has been getting it close with his approach ranking 10th in overall proximity over his last six tournaments.
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ABOUT THE WRITER: I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.