Overview and betting market
It's not everyone’s cup of ‘tee’ but the penultimate stop of the West Coast swing sees Pebble Beach host the second of this year's pro-am events. Pebble staged the 2010 US Open and is one of the iconic courses in the US, so many big names tee up regardless.
Monterey Peninsula and Spyglass Hill will also play their part at the AT&T National. The dynamic is one of players rotating around the three courses on Thursday through Saturday, with the top 60 (and ties) out on the host course Pebble Beach on Sunday. The top 25 pro-am teams will compete after the professional 54 hole cut. Jason Day - 11.00, Jordan Spieth - 10.00 - and course specialist and two-time winner Dustin Johnson - 8.00 - headline the field.
The courses, features and premiums - Pebble Beach, 6,816 yards, par 72 - Spyglass: 6,953 yards, par 72 - Monterey: 6958 yards, par 71
The trio of tracks average under the 7,000 yard mark and all are pretty forgiving from the tee. The challenge comes from approaches to some of the smaller greens on tour, and from the elements. Early forecasts suggest wind on the Friday so it may pay to avoid those teeing it up at Pebble that day which is the toughest course in strong winds. There's a strong theme of top scramblers, Poa Annua lovers, and West Coast specialists occurring on previous leaderboards. Poa Annua specialist Brandt Snedeker - 19.00 - led the field in scrambling en route to his tournament record low (265) in 2015. Only Monterey played under its par last year and scores can be made around that track. A course record 60 was shot here in 2016.
Those that grew up or reside in the California area will have an advantage. California native Hunter Mahan tends to excel here and he's regained a little bit of form - that the results don't necessarily show - at Torrey Pines and in Phoenix last week. Mahan - 301.0 - is one of those who thrives on the Poa at Pebble and his ball striking has never been in question. Nick Watney - 101.0 - is another Cali man that falls under the same category. They've amassed a myriad of top 20s here between them including a couple of runner ups. Being a pro-am format, the courses are set up for scoring on small greens with more accessible pin positions.
AT & T Pebble Beach Best Value Bets
I put up Jonas Blixt - 126.0 or 21.00 - here two years ago due to his ability on and around the greens. He missed the cut. He then went on to post a 3rd place finish last year at the AT&T National so there was obviously some method to my madness. Like Mahan, the Swede has also found his touch over the two events at Torrey Pines and in Phoenix last week but the results don't look too obvious, showing a 20th and 52nd place finish. Blixt was actually T5 and just two off the lead after 54 holes in the Farmers Insurance Open and then hit a -7 second round 64 to be T11 at halfway in Phoenix. He's trending into top form.
Ones to watch
I have a couple more players besides Mahan and Watney to watch mainly in the subsidiary markets this week and they are Greg Owen - 201.0 - and Sung Kang - 101.0. The aforementioned course record 60 at the Monterey course was actually shot by Sung Kang in 2016. This is a player who posted top 10s at Riviera and at the Honda Classic in 2016 and he also recorded a top 20 at the US Open. He bounced into form last week at TPC Scottsdale with rounds of 68-65-74-66 for T12.
Greg Owen will have limited starts this year and he seemed positive about making the most of them in a recent interview at the Career Builder where he recorded a top 20. He talked about a new perspective and giving it a real go and this is an event where Greg shines. He has a third and fourth and another top 10 finish to his name here down the years.
The shorter courses obviously suit the Englishman but some people just take to the pro-am formats. He could spring a surprise and grab a top 10 finish.