If you weren’t convinced from last week in Phoenix that it’s officially golf season, I’d imagine that the sight of Tiger Woods teeing it up at Riviera Country Club for The Genesis Invitational should be enough to get you in the mood. Woods made his first start since St. Andrews last July and is playing quite well during the weekend.
Like last week, The Genesis Invitational is now considered one of the PGA Tour’s new elevated events. With that status comes a massive $20 million purse and all of the best players in the world in attendance.
Tournament Recap Through First Three Rounds
This will already be the third time I’ve typed these words in 2023. Jon Rahm is inevitable. The World No. 3 could become World No. 1 on Sunday if he can close out his third victory of the year in just five starts. Rahm hasn’t finished worse than eighth since the Tour Championship in August.
Whether it’s all skill or a bit of luck can be argued. Rahm has had some incredibly fortunate breaks already this season, notably bouncing it off a grandstand to five feet for eagle on Friday and airmailing a drive into a broadcast station and getting free relief on Saturday. It should be illegal to be this good and this lucky at the same time, but Rahm seems unstoppable currently.
The Spaniard was unflappable on Saturday and built a three-shot lead over California king Max Homa. That’s obviously made him the strong favorite to close out the tournament. Homa and Keith Mitchell have played incredibly well themselves, but Rahm’s irons have made the difference to finally create some separation on the leaderboard for the final round.
As much as I’ve complimented Rahm, I can’t recommend backing him this late in the tournament with the odds you’ll get. There have been some holes in his game this week, so you’re better off taking a shot down the board and moving onto The Honda Classic.
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Final Round PGA TOUR Golf Bets To Consider
Winner: Patrick Cantlay
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With the world’s hottest player possessing a three-shot lead and only four players within seven shots of him, there aren’t many options when looking down the leaderboard for a potential come-from-behind winner. But the PGA Tour has given us plenty of surprise victories on Sunday already this year.
Patrick Cantlay feels like the obvious value choice here that could realistically make a run at Riviera in the final round. Cantlay is plenty comfortable in this area and possesses the ability to put together as low of a round as anyone out here.
He’s been very steady this week with rounds of 68, 67 and 68, but he’s yet to have one of his scorching hot rounds with the flat stick we often see from him. Cantlay has gained a little over .2 SG: Putting in all three rounds thus far, so if he could manage to gain three or four shots on the greens on Sunday, he could definitely post something low to make Rahm sweat.
Cantlay is second in SG: Off the Tee, 16th in SG: Approach and ninth in SG: Around the Green for the week. All facets of his game are clearly clicking. With Riviera as hard as it is, it’s no guarantee the winning score gets past 15 or 16 under, so it’s a decent course to take a chance on a longshot in the final round.
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Top-10 Finish: Rory McIlroy
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Even though McIlroy has had decent success at Riviera, I do think it may be time we consider it a course he’d have to work very hard to win at. His right-to-left ball flight off the tee clearly doesn’t work very well at Riviera, and it’s been evident this week. As one of the best drivers of the ball in the world, McIlroy has gained just .43 strokes off the tee this week to sit in 37th in the field.
But that’s not to say the World No. 2 can’t make a run Sunday to manage a solid finish. McIlroy is notoriously good at tallying backdoor top 10s, and he’s in prime position to do so at Riviera in the final round.
The Northern Irishman currently sits in a tie for 18th and just two shots back of the guys tied for 10th. His 73 on Saturday was led by a shockingly poor performance from his driver and putter, and I’d imagine it’ll get cleaned up. He still sits sixth in SG: Approach and 12th in SG: Around the Green, so I’m expecting a good round on Sunday to sneak into the top finishers.
Top-10 Finish: Justin Suh
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Sitting right next to McIlroy in a tie for 18th is former top amateur in the world, Justin Suh. The PGA Tour rookie was once considered one of the hottest names coming up in golf alongside players like Collin Morikawa, but his journey took a little longer to get here.
Like many rookies, it took some time for Suh to appear comfortable in his first season, but a 20th at Torrey Pines a few weeks ago was the first sign of him gathering some form. Suh is a strong putter and drives the ball well, so his mark of 25th in SG: Approach this week is very encouraging. The driver has been the weak point this week, so I am expecting him to improve upon his -1.42 strokes lost off the tee on Sunday considering his pedigree there.
This is an incredibly juicy number for a player of Suh’s talent to just move up a couple of shots and tally his first top 10 of the season.
The Genesis Invitational Odds
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