Matt Fitzpatrick was a shot away last year from making his third cut in as many tries at the Genesis Invitational. Rounds of 73-71 are quite respectable at a tough venue like Riviera, but it netted the Englishman $0.
It’s expected he’ll get back into the green in 2024, particularly since the field size has shrunk under the new Signature Event status.
Fitzy debuted in Pacific Palisades in 2020 where he finished T-30th (71-70-68-73). He improved to T-5th (66-71-69-71) in 2021 and did not appear in 2022.
Fitzpatrick was in the hunt two shots back of 54-hole leader Sam Burns in 2021 and tied with eventual champ, Max Homa. He opened with 66-71-69 but couldn’t get another round in the 60s to truly contend and missed a playoff by five shots.
A victory for him would be fitting at a place like this. Riviera is not a bomb and gouge paradise. Strong tactics and course management are usually requisite to play well here.
“You've really got to stick in, you've got to plot your way around and miss in the right areas,” Fitzpatrick was transcribed in 2021 by Tee Scripts. “Even missing fairways in the right areas with this wind to sort of give you a bit better angle with the way the wind is. But, you know, on the whole you've just got to really be smart around this place.”
The 29-year-old comes into the week following a T-15th at the WM Phoenix Open. It was a positive step in the right direction after T-58th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Fitzpatrick is not too far removed from a win late last fall on the DP World Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Last season on the PGA Tour, he ranked 11th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting (.525) and 31st in SG: Around-the-Green (.238). The sticky kikuyu rough and bumpy poa annua greens can trip up those with sloppy short games. Fitzpatrick ought to be able to handle these conditions just fine, even if it’s not what he grew up playing.