2023 Genesis Invitational First-Round Leader Picks: Hossler Has Value
Via Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Beau Hossler.
Tiger Woods makes his return to professional golf this week as he's set to tee it up at Riviera. In addition to Woods, we once again have another stacked field ready to play one of the TOUR's most historic courses. The 2023 version of the Genesis Invitational is a "designated event" that will leave a whopping $20 million prize pool up for grabs, with $3.6 million going to the winner.
In the past six editions of the tournament, there have been seven first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the seven, five have come from the morning wave, and two have emerged from the afternoon wave. The only two afternoon starters to share a lead or co-lead were both in 2018, when Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau both shot 66 and teed off at 12:02 p.m PT.
In the last six Genesis Invitationals (2017-2022), 29 of the 33 players within one shot of the lead teed off in the morning wave. Consequently, I believe the best strategy this week is to look for earlier starters who have a chance to start hot.
Genesis Invitational First-Round Leader Picks
Keegan Bradley +6000 (DraftKings)
Tee Time: 10:24 a.m. PT
Over the offseason, Keegan Bradley lost 30 pounds to feel like his “younger self.” So far this season, his lifestyle change has seemingly paid dividends for the 36-year-old. In two starts in 2023, Bradley has finished second and 20th and has gained strokes on the field in every major statistical category.
The “younger self” version of Bradley won a major championship and also played very well at Riviera. Between 2012 and 2015, he had finishes of second, 16th, 20th and fourth at the course. If he is indeed revitalized, there’s no reason Bradley can’t repeat the success he’s had in the past at the historic venue.
Bradley has a morning tee time and the elite ball striking ability to tame Riviera. I expect a hot start this week.
Beau Hossler +9000 (DraftKings)
Tee Time: 11:08* a.m. PT
Beau Hossler was once a highly regarded prospect coming out of the University of Texas. The immediate success of players out of college such as Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff has made some golf fans forget that they are the exception and not the rule. At just 27 years old, Hossler is still yet to reach his golf prime, and I believe his best golf is still ahead of him.
Hossler is coming off back-to-back top-15 finishes for the first time in over four years and looks to be figuring some things out on the course. He’s played well at Riviera (15th in 2019) in the past and should be right at home in California where he grew up. I think Beau can battle with the big names early on in this tournament.