James Hahn, the 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie phenom from the Bay Area, has had a great start to his first season in the big leagues of professional golf, making five cuts in as many starts—in consecutive weeks. He thought that his streak was going to be interrupted after the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am wrapped up last Sunday, though, because he was not in the field for the next tournament on the schedule, the Northern Trust Open, being played at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, February 14th to the 17th.
Hahn alluded to that fact when asked last week at the AT&T Pro-Am how much he was thinking about the possibility of getting into the field at the Masters Tournament in Augusta in April, replying “Ah, zero. I’m not even in next week’s tournament, so to me a Top‑10 finish would be great. So if you want to compare the Northern Trust Open to Augusta, we can. I would love to play another week out on TOUR.”
Hahn is getting the chance to extend his streak to six in a row now, as former Arizona State University golfer Joey Snyder III has withdrawn from the field of the Northern Trust Open, moving Hahn, who was first alternate, into the field.
Hahn will start his first round on the tenth tee at historic Riviera Country Club at 8:35 in the morning on Valentine’s Day. Like his first-round start at the AT&T Pro-Am last week, when he opened his first round at the par-4 tenth hole—which played nearly 5% over par for the week—this is not the easiest beginning to a tournament round.
Riviera’s tenth hole is a 300-yard par-4 that appears on paper to be a drivable pushover for long-hitting PGA Tour pros, but numbers can be deceiving. Though short for a modern par-4, Riviera’s tenth hole has a green that angles sharply right, presenting a narrow aspect to the long hitter who is tempted to get to the green in one, and a horseshoe-shaped string of bunkers front and back lie in wait for the over-ambitious tee ball.
Cited by Jack Nicklaus as one of the greatest tenth holes in championship golf, Riviera’s tenth is a hole where it pays to be cautious, and play smart. If Hahn does that, and successfully navigates the remainder of Riviera’s classic George C. Thomas-designed layout over the course of Thursday and Friday’s opening rounds, he stands a good chance of extending his made-cut streak to six in a row.