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2013 Northern Trust Open Preview | PGA Picks

Northern Trust Open Betting

The beautiful Riviera Country Club hosts perhaps the best field of the year this week in the 2013 version of the Northern Trust Open. One of the most challenging stops on TOUR, the 144 entries will find reachable Par 5s, extremely difficult Par 3s and very tough greens.

2013 Northern Trust Open
Location: Pacific Palisades, California, United States
Course: Riviera Country Club
Date: Feb 14-17, 2013
Total Purse: US $ 6,600,000
Winner’s Share: US $ 1,188,000 (18% of total purse)
Golf Odds from Bovada

Defending Champion: Bill Haas ($1,188,000)

Course management and ball-striking are absolute musts this week although a hot putter may help a brother out as well.

So let’s take a look at some of the names to keep an eye on this week and what should play out in one of the deepest fields of the year thus far.

The Favorites:

Phil Mickelson 12/1

Like so many of the West Coast stops, Phil has thrived at this event – a two- time winner at Riviera and all-time money leader at this event. We’ve seen the good and the bad from Phil the last two weeks – a dominant effort at the Waste Management was followed by a 60th at Pebble Beach last week. This makes three straight weeks in which he has played – I don’t really like his chances after seeing what a mess he made out of Pebble Beach last week – but your guess is as good as mine!

Luke Donald 18/1

Makes his 2013 debut and has a decent track record here – he’s made the cut 7/11 times with two third-place finishes and three other top 25s including top 15s in 5 of the last 6 years. He closed out 2012 in fine form however – a victory and three third-place finishes in his last five starts. That said, many of his rivals have been in the thick of competition already this year – Donald has not!

The Contenders:

Dustin Johnson 20/1

Ugly week for Dustin last week – I picked him to win and he missed the cut! But I guess playing alongside your girlfriend’s father isn’t the greatest idea! He has three top 10s in five starts at Riviera including a T4 a year ago. After last week, Johnson is a tad difficult to trust!

Charl Schwartzel 20/1

Schwartzel has been smokin’ hot and rivals Brandt Snedeker as the hottest player on the planet right now. In his last six starts, the South African hasn’t finished worse than fifth. In his last four, he’s gone 2nd-win-win-2nd – unbelievable. He’s never played this event and he is coming from South Africa for his 2013 PGA debut making him a risk – but his body of work lately has been beyond impressive.

Bubba Watson 22/1

Finished T13 while leading the field in driving and finishing T14 in greens hit in this event last year and has three top 20s here in his career. Watson has been a tad under the radar since falling ill in Hawaii but he looks to be 100% and is coming off a solo 15th at Scottsdale. Watson’s creativity will be a plus here – expect a good week!

Adam Scott 22/1

Hasn’t played in two months and has a win, a second and a T17 in last year’s Northern Trust to build on. He capped off 2012 with four top 15s, including a win at the Australian Masters and appears to have found his game. Scott is a stud although rust may be a factor this week.

Keegan Bradley 28/1

Finished T2 in his second appearance here – last year in a tournament he led the field in all-around and was second in strokes gained putting. He hasn’t been great so far this year but this track would seem to suit his game very well – his putting could be the difference.

Ryan Moore 33/1

Took last week off after a nice solo fourth at the Waste Management – his fifth top 10 in his last seven PGA TOUR starts. He tied for fourth at Riviera in 2011 and finished T17 last year; ranked inside top 10 in ball-striking in both. Moore’s creativity could help him this week and he excels in strokes gained putting – perfect traits for Riviera. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Jimmy Walker 33/1

Walker is certainly trending in the right direction. He tied for fourth each of the last two years in this event, and he’s coming off a T3 at Pebble Beach after a tidy T4 at the Farmer’s. He ranks sixth in adjusted scoring and fifth in the all-around on TOUR and is unquestionable the hottest player to not win a tournament this year. He looks a lot like this year’s Jason Dufner ahead of this event.

Bill Haas 33/1

The defending champ here has had some issues with his putter so far this year but has still managed two top 10s in his last two PGA starts. His game is very well suited for Riviera – ball striking, GIR and par four performance are all strengths of his game that will help this week.

Aaron Baddeley 33/1

Is the 2011 champion here that has made the cut 10 straight time here with 4 top 25s besides the win. He finished T12 last week as a tune-up for this week and currently sits ninth on the TOUR in strokes gained-putting. Baddeley has quietly been playing well – top 15s in two of his last three starts overall and could be a factor this week.

The Sleepers:

Zach Johnson 50/1

Johnson at 50/1? He has never done great at this event – a T17 last year was his best result although he is 7-for-8 career at the Northern Trust. But this course should suit his game very well – his accuracy and his putter should at least put him in contention this week.

Kevin Stadler 70/1

Has been playing very well of late – a T11 at the WM Phoenix Open and a T3 at Pebble Beach while shooting in the 60s in each round in each. He comes in as one of the hotter players on TOUR. Stadler has a good history here too – top 25s in each of his last three appearances at Riviera, including a T10 in 2010.

The Pick:

I have to ride the hot hand here. Jimmy Walker at 33/1 has been playing some great golf and is due. He has finished T3 and T4 in his last two events and is due for a breakout – he has finished fourth here the last couple of years to boot.

My sleeper is Kevin Stadler at 70/1. His game fits the Riviera mold – three straight top 25s here with a T10 and a T12.



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