Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Power Rankings: 2017 Genesis Open

The 2017 fantasy golf season remains in California this week, as theĀ PGA Tour heads down the coast for the Genesis Open. A field of 144 players will tackle the famed Riviera Country Club, affectionately known as “Hogan’s Alley.”

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week’s event.

Bubba Watson won this event last year by one shot over Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak. Here are 10 players to watch in Los Angeles:

1. Dustin Johnson: Outside of a missed cut in 2013, DJ hasn’t finished worse than fourth at this event in his last five appearances. That includes runner-up finishes in both 2014 and 2015, the latter of which he lost in a playoff. Johnson was a runner-up a few weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, and he shook off a Torrey Pines missed cut by finishing third at Pebble.

2. Jordan Spieth: Spieth put it all together last week on the Monterey Peninsula, but make no mistake: he wasn’t far off to begin with. Spieth has now opened the new year with four straight top-10 finishes and returns to a course where he finished T-12 in 2014 and T-4 in 2015, not to mention the site of Texas’ NCAA title in 2012.

3. Hideki Matsuyama: It seems so long ago that Matsuyama was the hottest name in golf. Ten days after hoisting another trophy in Phoenix, he returns to action at an event where he hasn’t finished outside the top 25 in three prior trips. That includes a T-4 finish two years ago alongside Spieth, and he has now won five of his last nine worldwide starts.

4. Sergio Garcia: Garcia missed the cut here last year but has otherwise enjoyed his time at Riviera, with three straight top-15 finishes from 2012-15. The Spaniard is making his first start in the U.S. since the BMW Championship in September, but he won in convincing fashion in Dubai just two weeks ago.

5. Adam Scott: Scott won this event in 2005 and was twice a runner-up, including last year when he nearly caught Bubba Watson down the stretch. The Aussie tends to thrive on demanding layouts like Riviera and has finished T-14 or better in each of his last five worldwide starts dating back to last year.

6. Justin Thomas: Thomas missed the cut in Phoenix in his first start since back-to-back wins, but he should be able to get back on track this week. Thomas has made the cut in each of his two prior starts and famously clashed with Spieth in a singles’ match during the 2012 NCAAs held at Riviera.

7. Phil Mickelson: A back-nine 44 at Pebble Beach was hardly the stuff dreams are made of, but Mickelson has been otherwise solid for four straight weeks since returning from sports hernia surgery. He now tees it up at Riviera, where he has two wins (2008-09) and two runner-up finishes (2007, 2012) over his last seven appearances.

8. Jason Day: The world No. 1 is breaking from his traditional west-coast schedule by adding this event. Riviera is often a venue that rewards experience, but if anyone is going to make the most of a debut it should be Day, who enters off a solid T-5 showing at Pebble Beach and appears to have shaken off any rust from an offseason back injury.

9. Bubba Watson: The defending champ hasn’t done much over the last year, but he tends to bring his best stuff to this event. Like Mickelson, Watson is a two-time champ who also lifted the trophy in 2014 and has six top-20 finishes here since 2008. But to do so, he’ll need to buck a recent trend that includes just one top-10 finish in a PGA Tour stroke-play event since April.

10. J.B. Holmes: The name may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about Riviera, but Holmes’ record at this event is rock-solid: seven top-25 finishes since 2008, including last year’s T-11 showing and a run from 2008-12 when Holmes didn’t finish any worse than T-12 at Riviera.


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