FanDuel Strategy

DFS FanDuel Fit: The Genesis Invitational

by Josh Culp
Updated On: February 15, 2022, 4:40 pm ET

The stars are aligned in Los Angeles this week as the PGA TOUR heads to The Riviera Country Club for The Genesis Invitational. 

This course is somewhat of a fan favorite and the pros generally like it, as well. 

The Riv is a unique venue so looking at course history is certainly valuable. Golfers that play well here a few times are likely to repeat that success on future visits. We've seen that with Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Mike Weir, and Phil Mickelson all winning multiple times since 2003. 

While it's unique, you may also notice those names above all have something else in common. Three of them are left-handed, but that's not what I'm talking about. All four of them have slipped on the green jacket at Augusta National. 

Let's look at recent success at Augusta National and then look at top performers in the region. 


Masterclass at Riviera CC

I just mentioned the link between success at Augusta National and Riviera CC so let's give that a deeper look. 

Both courses let you hit more than your fair share of drivers and the rough is short at both venues. Despite playing from the short grass, greens are tough to hit at both venues due to firm conditions and heavily undulated targets. The green speeds are also faster than TOUR average at both courses. 

Using the NBC Sports EDGE+ Driver Tool, here are the golfers that have gained the most total strokes at Augusta National in the last five seasons: 

Jon Rahm
Dustin Johnson
Hideki Matsuyama
Jordan Spieth
Rickie Fowler
Justin Thomas
Rory McIlroy
Patrick Reed
Cameron Smith
Tony Finau
Brooks Koepka
Marc Leishman
Xander Schauffele
Matt Kuchar
Charley Hoffman

You may be thinking the connection is overblown, saying of course there would be crossover success since both have strong fields. We should then ask ourselves why Riviera CC attracts such a strong field each year, though, and a big reason is because of the type of golf that it rewards. The best ball-strikers come to town knowing this isn't going to be target practice and/or a putting contest. You've got to play solid from tee-to-green and flash some creativity along the way. 

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Performance out West

There is a comfort factor for many in the field when they play closer to home. 

"I’m obviously back in California, I have some family members here, so I’m very comfortable." -Cameron Champ

"I love California, it’s where I grew up, I feel very comfortable here. UCLA’s just down the road so I know where to eat. And when everyone’s saying it took them an hour and a half to get back to Beverly Hills yesterday afternoon, I say that’s normal." -Patrick Cantlay

Here are the top performers in the Western Region of the United States, over the last two years: 

Jon Rahm
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Dustin Johnson
Collin Morikawa
Russell Henley
Justin Thomas
Rory McIlroy
Joaquin Niemann
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Will Zalatoris
Sungjae Im
Scottie Scheffler
Adam Scott
Lanto Griffin

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Andrew Putnam
Wyndham Clark
Beau Hossler
Francesco Molinari
David Lipsky
Lanto Griffin
Sahith Theegala
Tom Hoge
Martin Laird
Marc Leishman
James Hahn
Russell Henley
Joaquin Niemann
J.J. Spaun
Matthew NeSmith

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Russell Henley, Joaquin Niemann, and Lanto Griffin

When you look at the overperformance list (the bottom of the two) the connections to the West Coast really stick out. You have two Pepperdine products (Putnam, Theegala), Molinari who has crushed it at home since moving to the Golden State, Laird who went to Colorado State, Wyndham Clark who also spent much of his life in Colorado, as well as California natives Hossler, Lipsky, Hahn, and Spaun. We shouldn't overlook the comfort factor in the region. 

FanDuel Focus 

Joaquin Niemann ($9,600): He showed up to Torrey Pines a few weeks ago without any competitive reps since the fall. The young Chilean didn't skip a beat as he gained 3.5 strokes off-the-tee and another 3.7 strokes on approach, in three measured rounds. He hasn't unlocked the key to success at Riviera CC (T44-MC-T43) but sometimes it's just about picking up valuable course experience before locking in for a full takeoff. 

Russell Henley ($9,900): It was a slow start for the Georgia Bulldog last week in Phoenix but he fought through the cutline and managed a reasonable payday at week's end. He's now finished T33 or better in seven of his last eight starts. Not too shabby for someone in the middle of the salary sheet this week on FanDuel. 


Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.