After a one-week stint in Arizona, the PGA TOUR returns to California this week for the Genesis Invitational. Located in Pacific Palisades, Riviera Country Club (par 71, 7,322 yards, POA greens) has been the home of this event since 1983. After being a full-sized event since its inception, the Genesis is one of the PGA TOUR’s eight signature events this season and will only host 70 players this week. Also, there will be a different cut than usual, with the top-50 and ties advancing after the first 36 holes, and any player that is within ten shots of the lead. So, given this is a field of only 70 golfers, only a few golfers will be missing the cut this week. Tiger Woods is the host of the Genesis Invitational and the 48-year-old will be making his 2024 debut at Riviera this week.
Riviera is a famous parkland course that features huge POA greens, – this is notably the fifth PGA TOUR event in a row to feature this type of putting surface – 58 bunkers and no water on the grounds. Riviera is a perfect example of a second-shot course, where any length of player can contend. For back-to-back years, the Genesis victor has led their field in SG APP. In fact, three of the past winners at Riviera have finished the week at least T6 in the category. The three par fives at this track are extremely scoreable and walking away with at least a birdie every time you face one of these three holes is essential if you want to win at Riviera. For three years running, the Genesis champion has finished the tournament top-five in par five efficiency. Being efficient on the 450-500-yard par fours at Riviera is also crucial, given six of the 11 par fours at this par 71 land in this range. Of the last five champions at this course, two have ranked top-three in 450-500-yard par four efficiency during their victories.
Below, I break down four of my favorite sub $7.5K DraftKings value plays for the Genesis Invitational.
Sepp Straka ($7,100) – Straka is a standout target at this cheap salary. The Austrian is currently the 22nd ranked golfer in the world but is only the 38th most expensive option DraftKings for the Genesis. Straka has made three straight cuts at Riviera – most notably a T15 in 2022 – and has finished T26th or better in five of his last six starts coming into this week. Furthermore, the 30-year-old has made 12 of his last 15 cuts worldwide and ranks 28th in SG APP and 13th in SGP over his past 24 rounds.
Straka has a knack for flourishing in the strongest fields and should effortlessly out-produce this low salary at this signature event.
Beau Hossler ($7,000) – Hossler has made two of his last three cuts at Riviera – including a T15 in 2019 – and returns to the famous track playing the best golf of his career. The former Texas Longhorn has only missed one cut in his last 12 starts and has produced eight top-20 finishes during this span. Most notably, Hossler finished runner-up at the Zozo Championship in October and T6th at the Farmers last month. The 28-year-old sits 64 spots higher in the world golf rankings than he did heading into last year’s Genesis and checks all the boxes for the venue in his current form. When we compare this field’s last 24 rounds, Hossler ranks 12th in SGT2G, 21st in SG APP, 10th in par five efficiency and 12th in 450-500-yard par four efficiency.
Hossler’s salary is a dramatic $1K decrease from the Phoenix Open last week and he is without a doubt one of the best values on the board at this low price tag, which is the cheapest he has been in 10 starts.
Kurt Kitayama ($6,900) – After missing the cut by one stroke in his Genesis debut last season, Kitayama should redeem himself with a quality finish this weekend. The 31-year-old sits 22 spots higher in the world golf rankings this time around and is coming off a T8 at the Phoenix Open last week. This finish marked Kitayama’s ninth made cut in a row and his fourth top-30 result in his last five starts.
Kitayama ranks 29th in SG APP this season and is the best sub $7K target available for the Genesis.
Sam Ryder ($6,000) – Ryder missed the cut at the Phoenix Open last week, but only did so by one shot and despite being sent home early, he still gained strokes on APP for the third consecutive start. In fact, Ryder has been one of the best ball strikers on the PGA TOUR this season, ranking sixth in SG APP when we compare this field’s last 50 rounds. Prior to the Phoenix Open, the veteran had made 11 of his previous 12 cuts, including seven finishes of T31 or better.
To put the icing on the cake, Ryder has been great Riviera, making three of four cuts at the par 71 and recording a top-30 finish at each of the last two Genesis Invitationals. Ryder cost $700 more for last year’s edition of this event and is an elite punt play at this bare minimum salary, which shouldn’t be popular after he missed the cut last week.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skills and judgment in building lineups. 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.