2023 Genesis Invitational: Saturday's Best Bets
Scottie Scheffler successfully defended his crown with a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This weekend, the PGA Tour travels to Los Angeles, California, for the Genesis Invitational. Once again, a designated event, the tournament features 19 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Rankings. Highlighted by the return of Tiger Woods, the 47-year-old is making his first appearance since the Open Championship in July. He started his round on Thursday by birding the final three holes to finish two under 69. The 15-time major champion battled inconsistent play on Friday on route to a disappointing 74. Nonetheless, the five-time Masters Champion was able to sneak inside the cut line after the afternoon groupings. With Max Homa leading the way at ten under par, here are my best bets heading into moving day at Riviera Country Club.
Xander Schauffele to defeat J.B. Holmes & Rickie Fowler (-110)
Fighting to play on the weekend after an opening round 69, Schaufele carded a bogey on hole three, followed by a double bogey on five during his starting nine on Friday afternoon. The 29-year-old found some heroics late in the day after his tee shot found the fairway bunker on the 17th. Forced to lay up, the San Diego native holed his third shot from 173 yards to make an eagle and sneak inside the cut line. Set to play in a group with J.B. Holmes and Rickie Fowler on Saturday; the seven-time PGA Tour winner has the ball-striking ability and short game to make a charge up the leaderboard.
Rory Mcilroy to defeat Matt Kuchar & Danny Willett (-150)
Mcilroy is sitting in a tie for seventh place after two straight days under par to kickstart the tournament. The current world number two opened on Thursday with a 67. However, after ranking just 39th in the 129-man field in strokes gained off the tee, the four-time Major Champion made a rare club switch before teeing off on Friday afternoon. He changed his first-generation Stealth Plus driver to a second-generation Stealth 2 Plus Driver to gain more distance. Immediately paying dividends, the 33-year-old carded three straight birdies during his second round of play, including one on 18 to close out the day. He also jumped to third in stroked gained off the tee after recording a 388-yard blast on hole three.
Colin Morikawa (+650)
Off to a hot start to begin the season, Morikawa has racked up four top-ten finishes in his last five events. He placed third at the Farmers Insurance Open after finishing runner-up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The University of California alumn has benefitted from his stellar iron play. He ranks eighth in the world in strokes gained tee to green (1.697) and sixth in greens in regulation (75.76). In the hunt once again, as he tries to enter the winner's circle for the first time in 2023, the 26-year-old sits just two shots off the lead. Not known for his short game, he has ridden a hot putter while chipping the ball lights out around the greens.
Max Homa (+333)
Looking to capture the Genesis for the second straight year, Homa grew up just half an hour away from Riviera as a kid. He is aiming to become the first player on Tour to win three times this season after already capturing victories at the Fortiner Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open. The 32-year-old is heading into the weekend with the solo lead at ten under par. Benefitting from his familiarity with the poa annua greens in California, the former NCAA Division 1 Mens Golf Championship winner leads the field in stroked gained putting. Catching fire during his final nine holes on Friday evening, Homa carded four birdies while also making crucial par saves to give himself a one-shot lead over Lee Hodges, Keith Mitchell, and John Rahm.