Beast-D LA Boys
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
We’re in the city of Angels this week. It’s the place where talent meets entertainment and dreams become real and often bigger than life itself. For golf, this backdrop is no different than the Staples Center for Lebron James or the mound for the LA Dodgers pitchers. Riviera Country Club is the scene this week, dubbed Hogan’s Alley, and we know that this test will appreciate those who have all their ducks in a row – as Los Angeles tends to pull down a great reflection on it’s foes, forcing the greats to come here and throw it all on the table.
Weather always tends to be a story here and this will be a potential exception this week, with not too much rain forecasted.
We had a worthy champion last year, Adam Scott, who has a Hogan-esque way about him. He plots his way around courses much like a 2001 Tiger from tee to green and putts the ball just tactfully enough to get in position and close the deal. He’s surely a player that is due merit just based on his ball striking alone and when he puts it all together, he should be winning at a course that rewards his skills. The finish at Riviera is a lot like trying to hit a late homer at Fenway Park.
1. Collin Morikawa
I respect the hell out of trends. Collin played what I would call “his C game” during the later months of 2020. Entering 2021, he has proved himself every week up until now. In his last 8 competitive rounds, he was a combined 38 under par. After starting the season with 2 missed cuts, he has a T12, two made cuts, and then two top tens. This golf course seems like it has similarities to Harding Park, where he won. At least, the type of grass. I like to think this is a course that suits him and T26 last year is as bad as he can play out there. I like to think that one of the top names will win this week – and I believe Collin is due, with Berger, Dustin, and Brooks.
2. Cameron Tringale
A Southern California native, Tringale is looking for his first win on Tour and I can’t remember him having as much momentum as he has right now. Time is of the essence. As a player who has previously been in contention to win this title, I think coming off a strong top 10 finish at Pebble Beach will keep him hungry. He was on fire in that round despite some blunders and it should keep him confident here. I think he’s entering his prime years and this would be a great place for Cameron to capture his first win.
3. Jason Kokrak
This is a course that tends to betray the world’s top players like Tiger and Justin Thomas, for example. There are players who have played extremely good rounds here, however, who are not the #1 ranked players in the world. Kokrak comes to mind. He’s been a name that has done fairly well here. Consider that in roughly ten starts here, he’s missed 3 cuts but has a runner up finish and a handful of top 25’s. Considering how erratic he was in his earlier years, this was one of his better events. I would say that with the confidence he has now, this is a big week.
4. Max Homa
Tied for 5th last year, Homa makes it look easy when he’s playing well. We know that he has roots here in Southern California but we’ll have to wait and see if he can duplicate his score last year without the same amount of fan energy. I don’t think it will be a big difference here for Homa. I think this golf course should bring out the best in him. He’ll need to be on top of his game.
5. James Hahn
Hahn played well here last year but he seems to be playing his best of late coming off a bad finish. I think he’s finding some consistency despite his results lately – and coming off a missed cut that is only offset by a tie for 10th in Pheonix where he briefly held the lead on Sunday, I think he’s capable of getting a W here.
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