AT&T National Pro-Am: PGA Lads Head Back to California to Compete at Majestic Pebble Beach

by Aengus Moorehead

AT&T National Pro-Am: PGA Lads Head Back to California to Compete at Majestic Pebble Beach

The Story:
One of the year’s best golf tournaments is set to begin on Thursday in the Monterrey Peninsula as players prepare for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am which is spread across three different courses with Pebble Beach playing host.

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Pebble Beach needs no introduction to most keen golf fans. This iconic seaside links has hosted the US Open five times and the PGA Championship once. It isn't long, in fact, it's usually the shortest course used on the PGA Tour rota and it's not a tough driving test - the fairways are largely generous and the course's defense is its small greens, and of course, the weather is always a factor.

Spyglass Hill differs from the other two venues in that it's largely tree-lined and it's usually the toughest of the three. Monterey is the most generous of all and that's usually where the best scores are made. The greens are slightly bigger than those at Spyglass and twice the size of the ones at Pebble and the greens are usually set up slightly faster than at the other two courses.

Although there are a bunch of celebrities hitting the links this week, a gathering of big names will be in attendance on the West Coast including six golfers inside the Top 10 in the world rankings. All 156 players in the field will get the opportunity to play the three layouts before the cut is made following Saturday’s third round.

While it’s easy to love Jason Day and Phil Mickelson and defending champ Brandt Snedeker this week, it’s never difficult fawning over Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. DJ is a two-time winner at this event (2009 & 2010) and has six Top 10s in eight career starts. Spieth has almost been as good. While he’s never won this tournament, he’s never finished worse than 22nd in three starts, and has cracked the Top 10 the last two years.

Bubba Watson will be looking to put behind him a frustrating week in Phoenix where he got roundly criticised for his thoughts on the changes to TPC Scottsdale. The in-form world number six ran on well to finish 14th and he'll be glad to get the hell out of there and start again but he's never broken 70 here in two visits (MC and T44) so is probably best left aside.

Justin Rose is a fine links exponent so can't be discounted but he's never played the event before and he didn't qualify for the 2010 US Open, despite having won the Memorial Tournament so we're guessing what he'll make of it all.

My Top Three:
Dustin Johnson: +900
Seemingly always in contention at Pebble Beach, Johnson has two wins and four top-10 finishes at the Pro-Am. He's recorded four top-20 finishes in four starts this season, so his form is decent. He's hammering the ball this season, as usual, but his putting has been suspicious at best. Still a good bet though.

Jason Day: +900
Under the weather in his most recent start, Day's record at Pebble is strong, and he tied for sixth here last year. He seems incapable of finishing worse than 15th lately, and the No. 3 golfer in the world is hitting nearly 80 percent of greens in regulation this season which is crucial here. 

Jordan Spieth: +500
Jordan Spieth, tour leader in total strokes gained, has started the year with a win and a tie for seventh in his two PGA Tour starts. He finished inside the top 10 in his two most recent trips to Pebble Beach. He is utterly a lock for a top-ten finish and you will certainly see the Texan on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

Propping up:

  1. Take Brandt Snedeker -135 over Jimmy Walker +115
  2. Take K.J. Choi for Top Rest of the World +1400
  3. Take J.B. Holmes +100 over Justin Rose -120
  4. Take Dustin Johnson for Top American +700
  5. Take Jason Dufner +105 over Ryan Moore -125

Here are the odds for the top field:

Jordan Spieth   +500
Dustin Johnson   +900
Jason Day   +900
Brandt Snedeker   +1200
Bubba Watson   +1600
Jimmy Walker   +1600
Phil Mickelson   +1600
Justin Rose   +2000
J.B. Holmes   +2500
Patrick Reed   +3000
Brooks Koepka   +3300
Kevin Na   +3500
Shane Lowry   +3500
Jason Dufner   +5500
Ryan Moore   +5500
Ryan Palmer   +5000
Bill Haas   +6600
Danny Lee   +6600
David Lingmerth   +5000
Matt Jones   +8000
Russell Knox   +8000
Bryce Molder   +9000
Fredrik Jacobson   +9000
Will Wilcox   +9000

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