Scott Shapiro's Genesis Invitational Preview
Daniel Berger overcame a double bogey on the 18th hole Saturday and shot a Sunday-low 65 to capture last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The victory on the Pacific Coast was the 27-year-old’s fourth on the PGA Tour. His two wins and seven top 10 finishes since the restart has him ranked 13th in the World Golf Ranking.
Berger withdrew from this week’s Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades, California, but that still leaves us with 11 of the world’s top 15 players set to tee it off at historic Riviera Country Club, led by world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
2021 Genesis Invitational favorites
DJ took last week off, after he hoisted the trophy at the Saudi International two weeks ago. The 2020 Masters winner has been on fire over the past several months and has finished in the top 10 at the Genesis in six of the last seven years, but he will have to be at his best to win against by far the strongest field of the 2021 season.
Johnson is the heavy favorite and the likeliest winner of the event formerly known as the Los Angeles Open, but I cannot swallow the short price against such a quality field.
Here are the golfers I will be wagering on in Southern California.
Patrick Cantlay (+1500, top 5 +350)
The No. 8 golfer in the world jumped out to the lead at Pebble Beach on Thursday, when he tied the course record (62), but he was unable to back up his opening round over the final three days.
Although he failed to earn his first victory of 2021, the former UCLA star heads into the Genesis feeling great about his game. He has finished in the top three in three of his last five events, including a win at the Zozo Championship in October. He has also shown an affinity for Riviera, with a trio of top 20 finishes over the last three years, including a fourth-place finish in 2018. He has cemented himself as one of the game’s best.
Riviera is a world-class course that demands a well-rounded game, and there is no doubt Cantlay has the skills needed. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 10th in the field in strokes gained tee to green, second in strokes gained around the green, seventh in strokes gained putting, and eighth in birdies or better.
The 2011 Jack Nicklaus Award winner will need to make a few more putts than he did a week ago, but if he does, he has a huge shot to earn his fifth victory on the PGA Tour.
Cameron Davis (+9000, top 10 +750, top 20 +335)
Davis has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but it is just a matter of time before the Australian finishes atop the leaderboard in North America.
The 25-year-old finished third in the desert at the American Express in late January and 14th at Pebble Beach, despite a down week with his irons. Davis missed the cut in his only start at the Genesis two years ago, but his length off the tee and top-notch long iron play should provide a great fit at a big price.
Cameron Davis shot 64 (-7) today @TheNTGolf and is tied for the lead. Coming off his best putting week in his PGA Tour career last week @WyndhamChamp, Cameron finished 6th in Strokes Gained Putting today @TPCBoston I’ve always liked his golf swing lets see if the putter stays hot pic.twitter.com/4paVfCSqwm— Travis Fulton (@travisfulton) August 21, 2020
A win this week, against a field of this caliber, might be a lot to ask, but if Davis can continue to play as well as he has over the last 12 rounds, he has a big chance to be in the mix Sunday and earn himself a top 10 finish, at the very least. Over those 12 rounds, he ranks fourth in the field in strokes gained ball striking, fourth in scrambling, second in proximity from 200 yards+, and seventh in birdies or better gained.
Good luck in Los Angeles!