2022 Genesis Invitational Final Round Buys, Picks: Back Niemann to Close Out Historic Week at Riviera

2022 Genesis Invitational Final Round Buys, Picks: Back Niemann to Close Out Historic Week at Riviera article feature image

Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Joaquin Niemann.

  • Joaquin Niemann continues to set scoring records as he sits atop the Genesis Invitational leaderboard through 54 holes.
  • While the leader entering Sunday normally lacks betting value, that may not be the case today.
  • Chris Murphy details why, below, and gives additional buys and fades for the final round at Riviera.

It was another day, but the same story to start the third round of the Genesis Invitational. Joaquin Niemann shook off an early bogey to go out in 3-under 32. He added an eagle on the 10th to climb up to 21-under and seemed he may just cruise through the rest of the day as he had the opening two rounds.

The young Chilean started to show some nerves down the back nine though, as he began losing his driver to the right, which cost him a shot at the Par 4 12th and another on 15. He would only par the two Par 5s on that nine and wasn't able to add another birdie to the card after the 10th. Still, he holds a three-shot lead as many of the other contenders also dropped shots down the toughest stretch of the course.

Even with the late-round struggles, Niemann stretched his lead going into the final round to three shots over Cameron Young, who is another three shots ahead of Viktor Hovland. Those three will tee it up from the final group on Sunday, as they look to capture the 2022 Genesis Invitational title. They'll be chased by a powerful penultimate group of Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler.

Sundays always have a different vibe, and we never know how the 23-year-old will sleep on the 54-hole lead. He's been in this spot once before, closing out his first win at the Greenbriar a few years ago. This is certainly a different stage, but he is also a different player and one whose play has been so good, that he's taking down a bunch of scoring records along the way. It'll be fun to see how he closes it out and if anyone can put the pressure on him down the stretch of the final round at Riviera.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

We pulled back yesterday with our buys, not adding anything further in the outright markets and that certainly was the right call. Joaquin Niemann has been on fire all week and while he showed a little bit of a crack in the armor on the back nine on Saturday, there is nothing that points to a total meltdown on Sunday.

While there could be a scenario where Cameron Young simply outplays him on Sunday, three shots is a lot to ask of a player new to the TOUR. I'm going to put my not-so-bold prediction in on Niemann closing out his second win on TOUR.

Surprisingly, we may even have some value if you want to put some money on that outcome as our friends at DataGolf give Niemann a 75% win probability on Sunday, but at -210, FanDuel is implying a 68% win probability. The appropriate odds by the DataGolf numbers would be -300, which actually gives us some rare value on a player with a solid lead and a small number of realistic chasers.

Bet Joaquin Niemann at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.

Niemann set scoring records for what he did across the first two days, and Viktor Hovland did the same over the middle two rounds. His 12-under combined score was the best of Rounds 2 and 3 in tournament history. He did stumble a bit with consecutive bogeys on 14 and 15 on Saturday, but he still got in the house at 5-under.

Hovland is certainly a player that could have his name in the hat for the win at some point on Sunday, but he will definitely need some help. He's six shots back, which would likely mean he needs an over-par round from Niemann to have a realistic chance to win. I'm not endorsing him at the current odds as they are around half of what they should be in this spot, but I do love him as a player that will press the envelope and look to score for final-round Showdown on DraftKings.

Bet Victor Hovland at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.

Speaking of going low, it's hard to ignore last week's champion Scottie Scheffler for Sunday. He showed us last week how he can put together a round to become a contender, and while I don't think that is very realistic this time, he certainly can be a great play in matchups or DFS.

Scheffler has a perfect skillset for this course with his strong ball-striking and the game he brings to tough courses. He matched the best round of the day on Saturday and gained 3.21 strokes on the field tee to green. He is another player that will put the pedal down all day on Sunday to see if he can catch fire enough to scare the final group.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

If it weren't for what Niemann is doing this week, all of the talk would be about Cameron Young who came in on a Sponsor's Invite and is cruising past the rest of this elite field by three shots. He continued to impress on Saturday as he kept pace throughout most of his third round, until an unfortunate "fried egg" line in the bunker on 16 led to double bogey. Young showed some resolve though, bouncing back with a birdie on 17 to keep his deficit at just three shots going into Sunday.

We don't have any sample of Young being in this spot, so there is no way to predict how he handles it, but we know that many struggle in their first appearance in this spot. He has had the best putter in the field all week, and the weekend pressure seemed to get to him a bit as he lost strokes to the field both on approach and around the greens. I'll be rooting for him on Sunday, but the right play for now is likely to fade.

Justin Thomas seemingly lost everything that went right for him on Friday. He came into the round with everything going in his bag and left without much of anything going his way. JT lost 1.61 shots on approach on Saturday, which makes him tough to trust going into the final round.

We know he will be like the others chasing and will put his foot on the pedal all day, but if he isn't dialed in on approach, that could do a lot more trouble than good at Riviera. In looking back through recent history there aren't many rounds where Thomas was as poor on approach as he was on Saturday, but the ones that stick out don't show him with a reliable ability to quickly bounce back either, making him a fade for me on Sunday.

As I've mentioned all week, the key to success around Riviera is ball-striking and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Maverick McNealy is the only player on the first page of the leaderboard outside of the top 24 in that category. He ranks 46th on the week in that metric, but second in putting. He's 53rd in ball-striking and 67th on approach. I'm doubling down on Sunday against McNealy being able to sustain his spot in the top 10 just by relying on his putter, as I believe the ball-striking struggles may finally catch up to him in the final round.

StrokesGained Data for All Players in Round 3

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