Expert Picks: 2015 Northern Trust Open


This week marks the 14th event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as the Tour remains in California for the Northern Trust Open. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Jordan Spieth: He's past the point of needing a "breakthrough" win, but another one in hte shadow of Hollywood's glitz factor would be a win for the Tour.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: Now with two tourneys under his belt, he's off and running - and that should spell success on a course wehre he's fared well in the past.

Group 3: Kevin Chappell: California native played well at Pebble and wouldn't be a bad selection for the next first-time PGA Tour winner.

Group 4: Max Homa: Local product was a late addition to the field, but the rookie should feel at home on some of hte trickiest greens around.

Will Gray

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: You know you're playing well when a T-21 is seen as somewhat of a disappointment, as was Walker's result last week in defense of his title at Pebble Beach. He loves Riviera, though, and has finished inside the top 20 each of the last four years.

Group 2: Bill Haas: Dustin Johnson is hard to ignore in this group but I think Haas is a steadier option, given his win last month and the fact that he has top-25 finishes each of the last four years at Riviera, including a win in 2012.

Group 3: Rory Sabbatini: The veteran won here back in 2006 and also cracked the top 10 in both 2007 and 2009. He has the experience to handle the unique conditions seen at Riviera, and he has been playing well this year with three top-25 finishes in four starts.

Group 4: Andres Gonzales: The grad gets attention for his hair, but his game has done plenty of talking this season. Gonzales has four top-30 finishes in eight starts, including a T-10 finish last week at Pebble, and enters at No. 33 on the FedEx Cup list. Not bad in terms of value for Group 4.