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AT&T National Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 06/27/2012
The AT&T National was played at Congressional Country Club the first three years but two years ago it moved to Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, PA due to Congressional going through renovations and ultimately hosting the U.S. Open. Congressional is again the host and based on the low scores from last year's National Championship, it is possible that we see low scores this time around.
However, wet weather had a lot to do with the record setting scores at the U.S. Open and with the forecast looking dry, it will surprisingly be playing tougher than last year. Congressional has been lengthened by 314 yards since last hosting the AT&T National and while that isn't a huge difference, the early signs is that it is playing firm and fast this week so that added length could in fact make a difference.
With this event being played between two different courses the last few years, it makes it more difficult to look at past history to pull out the winner. Going back to the results from when Congressional last hosted in 2009 is a starting point but the layout has changed as have the surface of the greens so it is more favorable to look at current form as the biggest factor heading into this week.
Last year the field was a fairly light one but we are seeing some big names in play this year. There are only two players from the OWGR Top Ten, Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan but the field also includes Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, defending champion Nick Watney, Jason Day, Adam Scott and K.J. Choi to name a few. Nine tournament winners from this year and 11 Majors winners are in play this week.
Tiger Woods (+550) is the favorite this week which comes as no surprise. This is his first event since his weekend collapse at the U.S. Open so it will be interesting which Woods shows up, the one that dominated Thursday and Friday or the one that fell apart Saturday and Sunday. He won here in 2009 as he defeated a late charging Hunter Mahan by a stroke. The value in Woods is next to nothing.
Hunter Mahan (+1,200) finished second here behind Woods in 2009 as mentioned and he is coming off a great finish last week at the Travelers as he put up a Sunday 61 to finish T11. He has won twice this year and the momentum from last week should be in his favor this week. He finished T30 in the 2011 AT&T National after not playing in 2010 but those were played at Aronimink.
Adam Scott (+2,000) has not fared well in his last few stops at Congressional but he was not playing nearly as good as he is playing now coming into this tournament. He has only one top ten this year on the PGA Tour but is coming off a T15 at the U.S. Open which was his 13th top 15 since last year's U.S. Open. He has missed only one cut since then so while he has not won much, he is nearly always in the hunt.
Ryan Palmer (+3,000) is red hot as he has three straight top ten finishes including top fives in the last two. He has taken two weeks off but that could actually do more good than bad as it could get him even more focused. In his last two trips to Congressional, he finished T21 at the U.S. Open last year and in the 2009 AT&T National, he finished T22 and he comes in much better form this time around.
Nick Watney (+4,000) won the AT&T National as the favorite and now he is getting exceptional odds a year later. He has not had a good year as he has only two top tens but his last start at the U.S. Open was a good one as he finished T21. He has not missed the cut in his two starts in this event at Congressional and a watered down field could again bring him to the winner's circle.
Robert Garrigus (+5,000) will be the longshot take this week. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open which was his last event and while he has been all over the map this year, he does have two runner-up finishes on his card. At Congressional in last year's U.S. Open, he finished T3 and in his three starts here at the AT&T National, he has a T25, T27 and a T30 so this could be the time he gets into contention.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the AT&T National – (all for One Unit)
Hunter Mahan (+1,200)
Adam Scott (+2,000)
Ryan Palmer (+3,000)
Nick Watney (+4,000)
Robert Garrigus (+5,000)
Record to date after 23 events: +34.1 Units
Sony Open -5 Units
Humana Challenge -6 Units
Farmers Insurance Open +22 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
Accenture Match Play +7.1 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Transitions Championship +6 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -4 Units
Shell Houston Open +16 Units
The Masters -6 Units
RBC Heritage -5 Units
Valero Texas Open -4 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans +21 Units
Wells Fargo Championship +36 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial +11 Units
The Memorial -5 Units
FedEx St. Jude Classic -5 Units
U.S. Open -5 Units
Travelers Championship -5 Units