Phil Mickelson is gunning for his record sixth title when the PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach this week for a Pro-Am with a difference.
The Prince of Pebble Beach returns to the PGA Tour and is looking for his record sixth victory at the event while a trio of over-50 major winners – John Daly, Tom Lehman and Jim Furyk – will also be in the field.
Past FedExCup winners and previous winners here Jordan Spieth, will also tee it up on Thursday.
Course: Pebble Beach
Length: 7040 yards (Par 72)
Greens: Poa Annua
Architect: Jack Neville & Douglas Grant
After the free for all down the stretch last week most of the top players are taking the week off before Riviera next week and after the surprise withdraw from DJ early Tuesday morning this will be the weakest Pebble Beach field ever with only three of the top 20 players in the world.
This should give us some good value spots a little down the odds board and, due to Covid, we will see no amateurs in what is normally a pro-am and the number of courses is cut down to two; Pebble Beach (3 rounds) and Spyglass Hills (1 round).
With the easier Monterey course not making the cut this week, a rainy and somewhat windy forecast, and likely some more difficult pin placements due to no amateurs, I think we can see some higher scores than the normal -20 range may be as low as single digits if the wind really picks up.
Pebble Beach is a short par 72 coastal course where we often see players club down off the tee leaving a lot of wedges into some of the smallest poa annua greens on tour. So, since people will miss greens a strong short game is important and even more so this year if the forecast comes true.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Opportunities gained
- Proximity 100-125 and 125-150 yards
- Poa Annua putting
- Par 5 Scoring
- Par 4 scoring 400-450 yards
- Strokes gained around the green
Wagered: 91 units
Won: 133.62 units
Result: 42.62 units
Outright winners: Brooks Koepka 41-1 (Waste Management)
The Open champion was all out of sorts most of last year due to a hangover from an exceptional 2018 and start of 2019 before it all came crashing down on number 12 at Augusta.
We almost did not see him in 2020 as he spent his time moving his family from London to California (where we are this week) and it seems like the time off has done the Italian good.
He has started this year with an 8th at the American Express before following up with a 10th at the Farmers gaining strokes off the tee, on approach and around the green in both categories. If this is signs of a return to the form from a couple of years ago go we get some good value this week.
The Californian is back in his home state after being lights out with his irons (gaining 6 strokes) but not being able to capitalise with his putter in Phoenix last week.
This tournament should set up well for the guy who ranks 1st in opportunities gained, 2nd in par 5 scoring, 8th in proximity from 125-150 yards and 14th in strokes gained around the green over the last month.
And with back-to-back top 15 finishes over the past two years here the theory also seems to work in reality.
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