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Pebble Beach Pro-Am Odds: Justin Rose can bloom in Californian sun

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am Predictions: 5 against the field in California.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am Predictions: 5 against the field in California.

Whatever your thoughts on the lack of creativity at Torrey Pines, the South Course once again provided an exciting finish full of drama. We started the final round with 26 players within 5 of the lead and the final leaderboard was just as bunched, with the top 24 players separated by the 5 shots. 

Will Zalatoris was in control and in the lead for much of the final round, looking likely to pick up his first PGA Tour title. Only to be tied by Luke List after an excellent birdie on his final hole. List then going on to win the play-off, leading to his own breakthrough PGA Tour win.

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am Tips

We remain in California this week and it all feels a little familiar. As we once again have a pro-am event played over three courses, much like The AmEx a couple of weeks ago. With the tour heading to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. An event going as far back as the 1930s, though in its current form as a three-course, 72 hole event since 1958.

COURSES

As with The AmEx, players rotate between three courses for the first three rounds. Then following a 54-hole cut the remaining players return to the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links for the final round.

The three courses used in rotation are as follows:

Pebble Beach Golf Links: 6972 yards, Par 72 (1947-current) 

The most famous of the three courses, Pebble Beach is famed for it’s beauty and the glorious views of the Pacific Ocean it offers on many of it’s holes that are situated right on the cliff edges.

There are dramatic elevation changes throughout. Both off-the-tee into the generous fairways and even more so into the small poa annua greens. With poa once again on show at every course.

With so many holes situated right on the coast, it can be pretty treacherous here if the wind gets up. Though if benign, there are plenty of scoring opportunities to be had.

Spyglass Hill Golf Course: 7041 yards, Par 72 (1978-current)

Spyglass Hill is the most difficult course of the three if the wind doesn’t blow. Starting off on rugged, exposed terrain. It then advances into a more traditional, tree-lined parklands.

It’s the toughest driving course of the three, with narrow fairways and doglegs aplenty. Though the quirky, elevated greens aren’t as small as Pebble, they are very demanding and penal should you miss them.

Monterey Peninsula CC (Shore Course): 6957 yards, par 71 (1965-1966, 1977, 2010–2020, 2022-current)

The largely exposed Monterey Peninsula is the most open and forgiving course tee-to-green with its wide fairways and large undulating putting surfaces.

Everything is right there in front of you and it is usually the easiest course to score on if the wind doesn’t blow. Though due to the exposed nature of much of the course, will be much tougher if any wind should arrive.

Pebble Beach may have status as one of the courses on the US Open rota, which it’s hosted six times, as well as a PGA Championship, though it won’t be setup anywhere near as difficult as it would for a US Open. 

This is a pro-am event and it’s unfeasible to expect amateurs to be able to handle a course like this at its toughest. Fairways and greens will be slower, rough not as thick and barring some change in the weather forecast, this and the two other courses will produce birdies.

We’ve seen just one winning score of higher than -17 in the last ten years of the event, when Jimmy Walker won the 2014 edition with -11. Brandt Snedeker holds the event record, shooting -22 to win in 2015 and the event has an average winning score just shy of -18 over those last 10 renewals.

The only strokes-gained stats come from the two rounds players play at Pebble Beach, meaning they’re not exactly a reliable guide as to how players typically play across the three courses. Having said that, the small sample size of stats does at least give some assurance as to what you’d expect to be the case in this event. Which is that approach play and putting will be key.

WEATHER

Any hope of the wind toughening up the courses, particularly Pebble Beach will require a dramatic change in the forecast. As of now, conditions are predicted to be pretty benign throughout the week.

FIELD

Many of the top players have chosen to head off to the cash grab in the Middle East in the Saudi International this week. Though we do have the presence of the top two from last year, winner Daniel Berger and runner-up Patrick Cantlay, with Cantlay the highest ranked player in the field at #4. Jordan Spieth rounds off the group of three players from inside the world’s top 20 staying Stateside.

Golf betting tips
Justin Rose each-way (8 places)
28/1
Odds correct as of 2022-01-31 22:00 Odds subject to change.

Last year’s runner-up, Patrick Cantlay heads the market at 15/2 and is followed by the man who bested him in 2021, Daniel Berger at 14/1. Past champion, Jordan Spieth comes next at 20/1, though it’s a certain Englishman who showed some positive signs at the end of last year and has continued that form into 2022, Justin Rose who gets the nod as the headline selection.

After a couple of years of inconsistent ball-striking from Rose, he really seems to have turned a corner, particularly with his iron play, since the back end of 2021. 

Following a poor performance at the St Jude Invitational in August last year, he has managed to reel off 7 consecutive events (in which SG stats are recorded) of positive approach play. With last week’s excellent performance in the Farmers Insurance Open, that saw him finish 6th, his third best iron performance of the last two years.

Though not at the standard it used to be, he’s driving it well enough and more importantly for this week, he’s continuing to putt well, ranking 32nd on the greens this season. Also showing plenty of times in the past that he’s more than adept at putting on poa.

The upturn in his ball-striking has seen him make 11 straight cuts in a row, pick up 3 top 10s and threaten to win on more than one occasion. A run of form that means Rose is starting to look a danger again.

Surprisingly, he’s only played here twice before but possesses a strong record. Finishing 6th on debut in 2016 and following it by finishing 39th in 2017. Though he has won in this part of the world as recently as 2019, when picking up the Farmers Insurance Open. 

Rose is one of the most decorated players in the field and a major champion. With the quality he’s shown in approach and on the greens recently, particularly last week, this class act can improve on his short but strong record at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am by contending for his first title in three years.

Lanto Griffin each way (8 places)
45/1
Odds correct as of 2022-01-31 22:00 Odds subject to change.

Lanto Griffin ticks many boxes this week and after starting the year in strong fashion at the two previous events in California, can take advantage of that form to pick up his second PGA Tour title in his home state.

His strong start to this year is very much a case of picking up where he left off in 2021, as he finished the year with two top 10s in his final four starts. He kicked off 2022 in fine fashion two weeks ago in The AmEx, finishing 3rd and followed with a perfectly solid performance last week at Torrey Pines, finishing 30th.

His strong recent form is thanks to playing pretty solid all-round golf but rather attractively for this week, he’s excelling with his irons and putter. Ranking 12th for approach in each of his two starts this year and was 7th in putting at The AmEx over the two measured rounds. 

He ranks 45th and 48th for the season in approach and putting respectively. Not just a good putter but most important a strong poa annua putter, no surprise considering where he’s from. 

He’s played in this event twice, missing the cut on debut in 2018 but more than made up for that the next time he teed it up here in 2020, securing a top 10 with a 9th place finish. Once again showing his ability to putt these surfaces.

With one PGA Tour win to his name, the Houston Open in 2019, Griffin has threatened on a number of occasions to add to it. He can do just that this week, with the correct parts of his game firing and take advantage of the good form he’s showing in this early part of 2022.

Mackensie Hughes each way (8 places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2022-01-31 22:00 Odds subject to change.

Despite missing the cut last week, Mackenzie Hughes’ first start of 2022 was certainly an eventful one. A strange situation unfolded, as he received a two-stroke penalty in his first round on Wednesday, a punishment for hitting the wrong ball on the 9th hole. A costly error as he missed the cut by just one shot.

That aside it was an encouraging first start of the year for Hughes. As an excellent putter, with a strong record on poa greens and having recorded a previous top 10 here, he can redeem himself this week at Pebble Beach.

The Canadian signed off 2021 in really strong form. Making his last 13 cuts of the year and picking up 4th and 2nd place finishes in his final three events of the year.

We know Hughes to possess an excellent short game. Ranking 15th for putting and 74th around-the-greens for the 2020/21 season, he’s continued to show quality in the early stages of this season in those areas of his game, where he ranks 16th on the greens and 19th around them.

More pertinent for Hughes is the greater accuracy of his long game on show in this early part of the season, not always something we can associate with him. Which can also be said about the quality of his irons, though in his 2nd place finish at the RSM Classic on his final start of 2021, he produced essentially the best approach play performance of his career. Gaining over two strokes a round, seeing him sit as the 3rd best iron player of that week.

He’s played here four times, finishing 10th on debut in 2017 and though he’s missed the cut on three subsequent starts since, it’s fair to say his game was in nowhere near the shape it appears to be in now.

His solo PGA Tour win came in another coastal event, the seaside links of Sea Island for the RSM Classic in 2016. He’s also finished 2nd at the Honda Classic, further showing his liking for golf in similar settings to those he’ll find this week.

He was unfortunate to miss the cut at Torrey but played with promise. If able to find the type of approach performance that helped him finish 2nd at the RSM he can marry that with the quality he possesses with the flatstick and put in a performance more like that debut effort here in 2017.

Masters odds
Mito Pereira each way (8 places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2022-01-31 22:05 Odds subject to change.

Mito Pereira really looks like a player to watch on the PGA Tour in 2022. He first entered our consciousness on the Korn Ferry Tour, picking up three titles in the 2020/21 season and earning himself an instant upgrade to the main tour in 2021. 

He’s then taken everything in his stride since making that step up. Missing just 3 cuts in his 14 PGA Tour starts last year, hitting the top 6 on four occasions. He can go well this week after kicking off his 2022 in strong fashion at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, finishing 25th.

That 25th place finish at Torrey Pines was one built on quality approach play and putting. The former has been the standout part of his game since stepping up to the PGA Tour and he currently sits 7th on tour in approach this season, also ranking 27th for greens-in-regulation. 

He drives it well too and whilst putting hasn’t always been a strength for him since playing on the PGA Tour, he’s putted excellently in his last three starts. Even showing ability to putt poa annua.

He hasn’t played here before, though does possess a victory in a similar event on the Korn Ferry Tour. Winning the BMW Charity Pro-Am in 2021, which took place on two courses over four rounds last year. With his best PGA Tour performance to date, a 3rd place finish in the Fortinet Championship, an event that takes place in California on poa annua greens. Much like this week’s test.

Pereira has transformed himself from promising amateur to clinical winner over the last few years. With plenty of signs that he’s more than capable of continuing to win at this level, he can build on last week’s promising start to the year and birdie his way to a first PGA Tour success at Pebble Beach.

Wyndham Clark each way (8 places)
125/1
Odds correct as of 2022-01-31 22:05 Odds subject to change.

Wyndham Clark led the field on the greens at the Farmers Insurance Open last week. With other parts of his game starting to show more positive signs and a solid record here, he looks primed for a good week at Pebble Beach.

That field leading putting performance at Torrey Pines was only enough to see him finish 56th but that was actually a continuation of a solid start to the 2021/22 season. Following what had been a year to forget for Clark for much of 2021.

Starting the season with a 30th place finish in the Fortinet Championship, he has only missed one cut in his last 8 appearances and achieved his best start since February 2021, when he was 8th in the Genesis Invitational, by finishing 13th on his first start of 2022 in The AmEx.

The putter has engineered the majority of the quality golf Clark has played over recent years, which is still the case, shown by him ranking 9th on the PGA Tour this season and is a good poa annua putter. Though it’s the improvements in his ball-striking that make him appeal this week.

As a big hitter, he’s occasionally shone with the driver and amongst some solid performances this season there’s been a notable improvement in his driving accuracy. He should appreciate and be able to take advantage of the wider fairways of Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula this week

Further to that he’s shown small improvements with the irons, often the biggest weakness in his game and an area in which he can lose a large number of strokes. He‘s started to produce some more steady performances and in the two recorded rounds at The AmEx put up his best approach number since here at Pebble Beach in 2020.

Speaking of his performance here in 2020, he finished 18th that week, which was following a solid enough 61st on debut here the year previous. Also possessing other form in this part of the U.S, where he’s finished top 10 at the Genesis Invitational. 

Further to that is a number of quality performances on other coastal golf courses. His best PGA Tour finish to date was a 2nd at the 2020 Bermuda Championship. Also going well at the Honda Classic, Puerto Rico Open and Bahamas Abaco Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour, where he finished 4th in 2018. 

His ability to putt these surfaces looks the big plus with Clark this week but I really am buoyed by the small gains he’s making in his ball-striking. He should relish the more generous fairways on three of the four days here and if able to come away from Spyglass Hill unscathed, can get in contention on Sunday.

Golf odds
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