The TOUR stays in California and travels north to Carmel Bay for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Stars from all over will descend on the Monterey Peninsula and join the 156-golfer field across three courses for the second tournament this season. The rotation will feature Spyglass Hill Golf Course (SH), Monterey Peninsula Country Club (MP) and Pebble Beach Golf Links (PB). Both SH and PB will play as a par 72, with Pebble Beach measuring 6,972 yards and Spyglass Hill coming in at 7,041 yards. Monterey Peninsula will play as a Par 71 and measure 6,957. All courses will feature poa annua greens. The top 60 and ties will make the cut.
An equal number of amateurs as professionals are teeing it up in Northern California this week, making for another tournament where golfers will be subject to six-hour rounds. The field will play three rounds before a cut is made on Saturday, with the final round taking place on the historic Pebble Beach Golf Links. While the three courses are similar in length and layout, some differences set them apart. Monterey Peninsula sports five par 3s and four par 5s as a Par 71, with Spyglass and Pebble Beach carding a total of eight par 4s under 400 yards between the two of them.
Weather plays a massive role in scoring, which is true of any coastal course. With nine holes set along Carmel Bay, the tournament’s difficulty can shift year to year or at a moment’s notice. In 2014, Pebble Beach played as the seventh-most difficult course in scoring thanks to extremely windy conditions, with the following year playing as the eighth easiest with virtually no wind at all.
Consider golfers who perform well with their wedges, especially in proximity from 100 to 125 yards, and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green with Pebble Beach having some of the smallest greens on TOUR. Par-4 efficiency between 350 to 400 yards will also be important, with 11 measuring under 400 yards. Even though we only get shot tracker data from Pebble Beach, the priority metric to focus on every year at this tournament is Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green.
A golfer’s current form will usually trump course experience, but when previous winners (dating back to 2010) have an average of 7.45 appearances before their victory, we should take notice. Also, focus on golfers who play well during the West Coast Swing.
Maverick McNealy (+2500 to Win, $9,800 on DraftKings)
A final round debacle kept him out of contention at the Famers Insurance Open, but McNealy still managed to leave with some positives on Saturday, finishing birdie-eagle. A runner-up finish here last season, two rounds of 67 last week and success on the West Coast should give McNealy a boost of confidence heading into an event at a course where he’s finished no worse than top five in his two previous starts. McNealy will be chalk, and if you’re looking to pivot in DFS, consider Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+5000, $8,700), who may be overlooked with no course experience. Most golfers don’t play well here on debut, but we’ve seen other golfers coming in with good form serve as the exception to that rule. Bezuidenhout has two top 20s in his previous five starts and ranks 13th in approach and 11th in proximity from 100 to 125 yards. His poa annua putting wasn’t great at Torrey Pines; hopefully, he’s able to learn from it and get the flatstick right this week.
Lanto Griffin (+5500 to Win, $8,800 on DraftKings)
Griffin plays well on the West Coast, as evidenced by his third-place finish at The American Express a couple of weeks ago. A seventh at the Sony Open in 2020 and another seventh at last year’s Farmers Insurance Open, and you quickly start to realize Griffin enjoys when the schedule hits this part of the country. No one is better on par 4s measuring 350 to 400 yards than Lanto, ranking first over the last dozen rounds, and he’s also hitting it pure, ranking 20th in approach and 26th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over that same timeframe. The proverbial cherry on top of a “Lanto Sunday?” A top-10 finish here in 2020.
Matt Kuchar (+6000 to Win, $7,600 on DraftKings)
This week will be Kuchar’s 10th appearance and potentially his 10th career victory, a significant milestone. There’s a handful of tournaments where he has a legitimate opportunity to win, and this is one of them. Over the previous 50 rounds, only two golfers are better than him in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green on par 72s less than 7,200 yards, and just three golfers are ahead of him in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast poa annua greens. Kuchar’s made five-straight cuts and just finished with a top seven at the Sony Open.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
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