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Football is winding down, which means that it’s time to switch focus (for me, at least) to the golf season. This week the PGA has the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is a tournament mixed of both PGA Professionals and celebrity amateurs.
Despite its name, the tournament is actually taking place at three different courses over the first three days: Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill, and Pebble Beach. The final round will take place at Pebble on Sunday.
So, what are the keys to this tournament? It’s a little more difficult, because of the multiple courses, but they all have one thing in common: length, or better said, the lack thereof. All three courses are under 7,100yds in length and have wide fairways. Pebble Beach has the 7th widest fairways of all courses on the schedule. This should theoretically neutralize the advantage of the modern day “bombers” that have become popular within the game.
Despite the short length and wide fairways, these courses have some of the smallest greens on tour. Pebble Beach actually does have THE smallest greens of all courses on the schedule this year. So, let’s take a look at which stats should matter the most:
- Strokes gained (SG): Approach – distance off the tee doesn’t matter as much on a short course, however the approach into the green will matter. Guys that are good with irons in their hands should do well this weekend.
- Green In Regulation (GIR): 125-150yds – a lot of guys should have manageable second and third shots into the green. I like the guys that can capitalize on hitting the green from a middle distance for 150yds or less.
- SG: Around the Green – Small greens means a higher chance of missing them. Whoever does well gaining strokes around the green can make up for missing the green.
- Scrambling % – See above. If players miss the green, scrambling for Par could be the difference maker.
- SG: Putting – Obviously, one of the most important stats in golf.
Now for the picks:
- Jordan Spieth +2000 – He ranks 4th in GIR: 125-150yds hitting 88% of the greens. If he can get hot with his putter, then I like his chances. Plus, two of the last three winners of this event (Berger ’21, Mickelson ’19) missed the cut in their previous event.
- Patrick Cantlay +800 – I know he’s the favorite, and it’s a square bet, but I don’t care. He ranks 41st in SG: Approach and 7th in Scrambling %. He’s also 68th in SG: Putting, so if he can get hot with the flat stick too, well, there’s a reason he’s the favorite.
- Cameron Tringale +600 – He ranks 38th in both GIR: 125-150 and SG: ATG. He also ranks 39th in SG: Putting and finished T-3 last week at the Farmer’s. In his last 5 events this season, he’s either finished T-7 or better or missed the cut. So perhaps, if you hate this bet, you might want to bet on a missed cut instead!
- Maverick McNealy +300 – Kind of a lackluster bet when it comes to Top 10, but McNealy hasn’t really been blowing the doors off lately with finishes of T-30 and T-27 in his only two events in 2022. He plays well enough at Pebble (T-5, 2nd last two years) that I’m confident he should be able to crack the Top 10 this week.
- Matt Kuchar +550 – His approach numbers aren’t great, but he ranks 2nd in Scrambling %, 5th in SG: ATG and 25th in SG: Putting. I might also sprinkle on him for Top 5 at +1100.