2015 Northern Trust Open, Riviera CC • Pacific Palisades, California. (odds updated 8am 17th Feb)

Last weeks result: We tipped winner Brandt Snedeker at 20/1 .

This week the Tour heads to Pacific Pallisades and the very difficult Riviera test.  One of the toughest par 71's on the PGA Tour roster, the average winner score of 12 under is usually compiled on the par-5's, which might just be the only thing to yield on this tough track.

Bookies Favourite

Bubba Watson 12/1

Though he has a spattering of missed cuts at Riviera, Bubba Watson comes in as defending champion and in good form after a T2 last time out in Phoenix.  Now a far more consistent prospect than in the past, Watson has a huge advantage on the three par-5’s (1, 11, 17) and is as capable of hanging on for dear life as everyone else for the rest of the time!

Doc’s Top Five To Watch

Dustin Johnson 14/1

Just Dustin’s third event back after his alleged charlie ban but didn’t he do well last week at his old stomping ground Pebble Beach with a T4 finish?  It might require an almighty leap of faith to think DJ can come to Riviera and contend on what is one of the toughest par 71’s on Tour, but having come through his period of rehabilitation nobody would put a giant leap beyond Dustin.  Solo second in 2014 to Bubba, T4 in 2012 and T3 in 2010 make it a record of three top-4 finishes in the last five stagings.  Big test but worth a flutter.

JB Holmes 40/1

Justified our tip last week with another good showing (T10) at Pebble Beach to go with his T2 at The Farmers.  This 7,349 yard par 71 requires big hitting and in form players and J.B. fits both those criteria.  Didn’t do so good on his last two visits but has four top-10’s here since 2008 and with this formline looks like he could challenge for top honours this time.

Charl Schwartzel 35/1

Missed the cut last time out in Qatar but started the season well besides with a T9 in Abu Dhabi and solo second in his annual ATM that is the South African Open.  Third visit to Riviera for Charl and here he has found a place that is perfectly suited to his strengths.  Solo fifth in 2014 when he putted brilliantly and T3 in 2013 when he hit nearly every green in regulation.  If he does both this year.......don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Bill Haas 33/1

A recent winner at the Humana and T19 last time out at The Farmers, I give a rested Bill Haas a chance this week.  As well as winning here in 2012 when he beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a playoff, Haas has a T3 in 2013 and hasn’t been outside the top 25 at this event in his last four visits.

Sang Moon Bae 80/1 

Looked good in coming solo sixth at the Tournament of Champions, which he qualified for by winning the Frys.com Open in October.  Riviera is the type of difficult course Bae depends on for his big cheques and has finished in the top 15 on his previous two visits (T12 2014, T8 2013).

Best Of The Rest

Charlie Beljan 80/1

Speaking of Charlie, how about Charlie Beljan who shrugged off three abysmal performances last week with a fist pumping solo third at Pebble Beach.  Beljan lost in a playoff to John Merrick here in 2013 and finished a respectable T12 on his return last year.  Why does he do so well at Riviera?  The stats say over the past two stagings combined, nobody has hit more greens in regulation than Beljan, and coming off a great week in Pebble he has to be up there again.

Harris English 40/1 finished in a tie for 10th at Riviera last year and has started 2015 impressively with a T3 at the Sony Open and T2 last time out at The Farmers.

Long odds glory hunters might fancy George McNeill 150/1 who has a T6 in 2014 and T5 in 2010 on his Riviera resume.
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