Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Oppenheim shoots 66 to qualify for Genesis Open at Rivera Country Club

Oppenheim shoots 66 to qualify for Genesis Open at Rivera Country Club

Woods will be paired for the first two rounds of the Genesis Open with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who flew to the event with Woods.

It will be no more mister nice guy when Tiger Woods tees up at the Genesis Open starting at Riviera on Thursday, the 14-times major champion said.

We're getting closer to correctly forecasting a victor here at Sports Interaction!

McIlroy, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish in his first PGA Tour start of the year last week when he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He last played the tournament in 2006, and he might have remained estranged from Riviera if he hadn't taken over as tournament host a year ago.

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The 14-time major victor makes his second PGA Tour appearance since a spinal fusion operation in a star-studded field at Riviera Country Club - the venue where he made his tour debut as an amateur in 1992.

It's the only tournament he has played so often and never won. But who are the sleepers to watch at the Genesis Open? He last played at Riviera in 2006, when had to withdraw because of the flu.

"I'm trying to win a tournament".

Those lack of recent visits and his hot current play suggest Mickelson will be chomping at the bit to get started there again. He had finished in the top 3 in this first two events of the year, but was playing in the USA for the first time in 2018.

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Johnson is an even bigger opening favourite this week than last at +505 and is the defending champion. He extended his advantage to nine at one stage during the final round and he was able to cruise home, five ahead of nearest pursuers Scott Brown and Thomas Pieters. It also put Johnson at No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career.

It's been happening for an bad long time and starting with his top 10 at Pebble Beach last week and reading backwards the Englishman's results read: 8-8-11-19-7-5-33-4-5-13-5-11-5. Among the professional events Woods has entered at least four times, Riviera remains the only one he hasn't won. For a while now, he's enjoyed getting to know the other guys on the tour, mentoring them and interacting. His health will again be a main focal point this week, but Woods seems confident in his back following last year's fourth back surgery since 2014. After taking last week off, Adam Hadwin is +8100.

Alex Noren, who lost in a playoff to Jason Day at Torrey Pines looks poised for another good finish, and Thomas Pieters returns after finishing t-2 here a year ago. Hadwin was T43 last time out at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Hoffman ranks sixth on the PGA Tour at 72 holes per eagle, which means plenty of opportunities to move up the Genesis Open leaderboard. Johnson finished T-2 at Pebble Beach this past weekend and has played some excellent golf to open the season, ranking first in total strokes gained at 3.2 and first in scoring average at 68.7. Taylor was T55 here in 2017.

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He also acknowledged last week that Riviera is "a flawless course" for those that are striking it well.

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