The PGA Tour heads to the world-renowned Riviera Country Club this week for the Northern Trust Open.
As always, the event has attracted a world-class field, and the likes of Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald will be making their 2013 PGA Tour debuts.
Riviera is one of the more demanding tracks on the PGA Tour schedule, as highlighted by the seven-under-par winning score last year.
At less than 7,200 yards, the course isn’t long by modern standards, but course management and bogey restriction are key skills around this golf course.
Bill Haas prevailed in a play-off over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley last year, after both holed 20-footers on the 72nd to force extra holes.
All three players are in the field again this year, and, unsurprisingly, Mickelson is the 12/1 favourite with Ladbrokes.
Hunter Mahan looks well priced this week at 33/1 with Ladbrokes. The American has finished inside the top 25 in two of this last three starts at Riviera. He hasn’t finished outside the top 26 in four events on the PGA Tour this season, and he led last week’s AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am after 36 holes.
Bo Van Pelt, at 40/1 with Ladbrokes, is always a good bet, especially at such a high price. He shot a 59 in the Phoenix Open Pro-Am two weeks ago en route to a 16th place finish, and he’ll be well rested after a week off last week. He is one of the best all-round golfers on the PGA Tour and will be fully aware that his victory tally isn’t proportional to his aptitude as a golfer.
Chris Kirk, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, is generously priced this week given his early-season form. He started his year with a fifth place at the Sony Open in Hawaii and shot a closing 66 last week at Pebble Beach to force his way into outright second. He currently ranks second in Strokes Gained – Putting and Scoring Average and fourth in Birdie Average.
James Hahn, at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, can’t be ignored at such a high price.The rookie has performed adeptly thus far in 2013, notching his first top five at the Humana Challenge and following it with another at Pebble Beach, where he shared the lead after 54 holes. He is currently 10th on the Money List and will be buoyed after such a strong start to the 2013 season.
David Hearn, at 150/1 with Ladbrokes, is one to keep an eye on this week. The Canadian has been a consistent performer since earning his PGA Tour card in 2011, and many fancy him to step up again this season. He shot 65 twice last week and would have contended had it not been for a third-round 73.
Northern Trust Open advised bets:
3pts each way on Hunter Mahan at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Bo Van Pelt at 40/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way Chris Kirk at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on James Hahn at 66/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on David Hearn at 150/1 with Ladbrokes