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ATT Pebble Beach Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 02/06/2012
The PGA Tour goes back to California this week to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of three host courses for the event along with Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course which replaces Poppy Hills for a third straight year as one of the three courses that had been part of this rotation. A traditional playing cut of the top 60 and ties will be made after 54 holes on Saturday giving players one extra day to make a move.
Although the Shore Course will play as a par 70 for the tournament, it will likely again replicate Poppy Hills in being the course where competitors feel they should post their best score of the week. It ranked as the sixth easiest of the 14 par 70 layouts last year. Two years ago the field was cut from 180 to 156 players to help alleviate snails pace of some of the rounds. Some foursomes took over six hours to complete their rounds and the lesser field helped alleviate some of that last year.
Pebble Beach is one of the players favorite stops on tour and for good reason. But it comes with a price. Hitting greens is essential to provide birdie opportunities and scoring on the par fives is also crucial. Experience has played a big role in this event for a good track record will take precedence over those who have not played much or played well here in the past. The 14th hole was once again the toughest par five in all of the non-majors last year.
Defending his championship will be D.A. Points (+4,000) who won last year's event by two strokes over Hunter Mahan. He scored a final round 67 and held on thanks to one of the best shots of the tournament. He holed out from the fairway at the aforementioned 14th hole for an eagle-two that ended up being the difference. He is coming off a T45 last week but does already have two top tens this year. Winning again will be tough.
The big story is the 2012 PGA Tour debut of Tiger Woods (+500). He is the overwhelming favorite despite not winning an official tour event since 2009. He had a T3 in Abu Dhabi in his only start this year and playing at Pebble is a rarity as he has not played here since 2002 and last won here in 2000. The short odds present no value even though he looks like he could be back to form.
Dustin Johnson (+2,000) is one of five players lumped into this line which is currently the second leading favorite. Johnson has not gotten off to a good start this year with a T43 being his best finish in three starts but this is definitely one of his favorite stops. He won this event in 2009 and 2010 and was a Sunday meltdown away from winning the U.S. Open here in 2010.
Nick Watney (+2,000) was forced to withdraw last week in Phoenix because of illness so if anything, he will be well rested this week. He opened the season with a T12 at the Hyundai and followed that up with a T60 at the Farmers Insurance Open. He has not been out of the top 25 in consecutive finishes since 2010 and his T6 last year here was his best finish ever in this event.
Bryce Molder (+2,500) is not a household name but he has been on top of his game. He has three finishes in the top 15 in four starts including a T7 at the opening Tournament of Champions. He won the Frys.com Open which got him the invite to Kapalua Resort. He has done very well here of late as he finished T10 in 2010 and T6 last year which was due to one bad round on Sunday.
Aaron Baddeley (+5,000) is getting a hefty number and he represents some excellent value here. His best finish in three starts this year is a T21 but he is coming off a very solid 2011 season where he had a win plus four other top tens. One of those came here where he finished T6 which was his best finish in four career starts. He was not playing that great coming into the event last year either.
As a longshot this week we will go with J.B. Holmes (+8,000). After missing the cut in his first event this year, he came back with a T45 last week so he is slowly coming back from his bout with brain surgery. He finished T13 here last year which was eight shots off the lead and that came after a T2 in 2010 as he finished one back of Dustin Johnson. This could be the place to get him his first win since 2008..
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (all for One Unit)
Dustin Johnson (+2,000)
Nick Watney (+2,000)
Bryce Molder (+2,500)
Aaron Baddeley (+5,000)
J.B. Holmes (+8,000)
Record to date after four events: +6 Units
Sony Open -5 Units
Humana Challenge -6 Units
Farmers Insurance Open +22 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units