Pebble Beach Golf Links – Par 72, 6,816 yards and has three par 5’s and five Par 3’s.
Spyglass Hill – Par 72, 6,858 yards and has four par 5’s and four par 3’s.
Monterey Peninsula – Par 71, 6,838 yards and has four par 5’s and four par 3’s
This tournament is played on three courses which include Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula. This is a Pro-Am format and is the same as The Humana Challenge, taking place on all three courses over the first three rounds with everyone playing Pebble Beach on Sunday. All the courses measure less than 7,000 yards and all feature four par fives with Pebble beach and Spyglass Hill playing as par 71’s.
Monterey Peninsula is a par 72 because it has five par 3’s. Straight away we notice that length is not a huge issue here, but the main defence for these courses is the wind coming off the water on the Monterey Peninsula. The weather can be a factor with rain and wind being quite common in California this time of year.
There are a few different factors to consider. The first factor is grass type. The greens here are poa annua which is a grass that tends to be a bit bumpy. The greens are also quite small so be on the lookout for players with good GIR and scrambling stats. The grass type on the greens is the same as Torrey Pines and the setup of the tournament is similar to last week so players that had a good performance last week are also worth considering.
Previous winners here include Dustin Johnson (2010), DA Points (2011), Phil Mickelson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2013) and Jimmy Walker (2014). For some strange reason, this course tends to favour the bigger hitters. There are 16 par 5’s played here this week so par 5 scoring is worth checking out. As I said above, players with good GIR and scrambling are also worth looking at. Guys with good par 3 scoring stats that are good poa annua putters should also go well here this week.
Jimmy Walker 8/1
Jimmy Walker is on a great run of form at the moment and hasn’t finished worse than 15th in his last five events. He had a great performance at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he lost to Patrick Reed in a playoff finishing on 21 under par for the tournament. The following week, he successfully defended The Sony Open in Waialae shooting 62,63 in round three and four to secure the victory by nine strokes over Scott Piercy.
Walker also played well last week at Torrey Pines finishing T7 on seven under for the week. He seems to perform well here at Pebble Beach with three top 10’s and a win in his last four appearances. He finished T9 in 2011, T9 in 2012, T3 in 2013 and won last year finishing on 11 under par for the tournament. By looking through his record over the last few years, it appears that Walker plays well on poa annua greens judging by his past performances here at Pebble and his previous top 10’s at Torrey Pines.
There are many characteristics on these courses at Pebble that are very similar to Waialae Country Club, where the Sony Open is played. Both courses have small greens and are sometimes prone to wind coming off the sea, which will play into Walker’s favour in a big way given his previous record on both courses. Statswise he ranks 14th in driving distance, 29th in GIR and 10th in strokes gained putting. He also ranks 11th in par 4 scoring and 17th in par 5 scoring, which are two very strong stats for these courses. He successfully defended The Sony a couple of weeks and there is no reason why he shouldn’t do it again here at Pebble this week.
Patrick Reed 16/1
Patrick Reed has been playing steadily for the last six months and hasn’t missed a cut since The Open Championship back in July last year. He has been in great form over the last few weeks with two top 10’s and a win in his last five events. He played well at The Hero World Challenge back in December finishing T3 on 15 under par for the tournament. He then had another good performance at The Franklin Templeton Shootout finishing T10 with partner Brandnt Snedeker.
It was at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua where Reed had his first victory of 2015. He shot a final round 67 and forced Jimmy Walker into a playoff, which he went on to win on the first playoff hole. He has played well here in the past finishing T7 in 2013 and T13 last year.
Reed averages 294 off the tee and ranks 15th in strokes gained total. His approach stats are good for attacking the par 4’s and par 5’s ranking seventh in approaches from 100-125 and seventh in approaches from 175-200. He also ranks first in scrambling and first in putts from nine feet, which will be a plus on these small greens.
JB Holmes 40/1
I really thought JB was unlucky not to win last week in Torrey Pines, where he finished P2. Although I tipped Jason Day and was delighted to see him win, he was very lucky to get up and down on the 18th after chipping out of the rough and nearly into the water with his third shot. That being said, Holmes looked very threatening in the final round and played some great approach shots. With the exception of his second shot on the second playoff hole, which was buried in the deep rough, his short game looked in great shape for the whole week and he looks to be coming into some good form.
He has played well here over the years and has only missed the cut once since 2007. His best finish was coming second to Dustin Johnson in 2010. He also has two top 16’s finishing T16 in 2007 and T13 in 2011. JB is hitting it an average of 300 yards off the tee ranking 29th in driving distance. He also has good stats for approaching the par 4’s and par 5’s ranking fifth in approaches from 200-225 and 25th in approaches from 100-125. With good previous form on this course and a great week at Torrey Pines last week, JB could go well at a decent price.
Shane Lowry 50/1
It was great to see Shane Lowry play so well last week in Torrey Pines finishing in a very respectable T7 on seven under for the tournament, which included a final round 68. His form over the last few months has been superb and has four top 16’ in his last six events on the European Tour. It started back at The Volvo World Matchplay in October, where he finished T9 and followed that with a T16 at The BMW Masters.
Most recently, he had a great finish to The European Tour season with a solo 5th at The DP World Tour Championship and followed that with a solo 11th at The Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. Lowry has played well on windy courses in the past with a great performance at The Alfred Dunhill Links back in October, where he played well on Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews finishing T6, not to mention a T9 in Hoylake at The Open Championship in July.
Spencer Levin 66/1
Spencer played well last week in Torrey Pines finishing T11 and six under par for the tournament. He shot a 74 in the final round which could have been a lot better if it weren’t for a few too many bogeys on the front nine. However he fought back well and shot a level par 36 on the back nine. His season has been mixed with three top 20’s in his last seven events. He started the season well with a respectable T21 at The Frys.com back in November and followed that with a T11 at The Shriners Open in Vegas.
Since then he went a little off the boil missing two cuts in a row, but bounced back with a solid performance last week. He has played well here at Pebble in the past with two top 10’s and a top 15 in his last five appearances. He finished 14th in 2009, T4 in 2011 and T9 in 2012. Statswise Levin ranks 20th in driving accuracy, 26th in GIR, 21st in strokes gained total, 44th in scrambling and 16th in par 4 scoring. With a good record on this course and a solid performance last week, Levin could be another player that could go well at a big price.
Final Selections –
Jimmy Walker 2 pts EW
Patrick Reed 1 pt EW
JB Holmes 1 pt EW
Shane Lowry 1 pt EW
Spencer Levin 1 pt EW
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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