Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's AT&T Pebble Beach Tips 2021

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Xander Schauffele undoubtedly gave away another victory last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. 5 shots clear of Brooks Koepka going into the final round and with the target winning score pretty much already tucked away in his back pocket, you expect more from a World Number 4.

But you have to admire Brooks Koepka who, when bothered, smells blood and knows how to win. Well done if you were on-board at anything up to 50/1 (Unibet yet again!). Since the start of this PGA Tour season (mid-September), I’ve landed 6 runner-up places and another 3rd spot in 16 tournaments. You can lead a horse to water…

With January in the rear-view mirror, it’s well worth checking out our latest best golf additional each-way places analysis – to make sure you have all the golf additional each-way angles covered.

We move from the desert of Arizona to the beautiful Carmel Bay on the Pacific Coast for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which this year will be played over just 2 courses and thankfully will not feature amateurs. Naturally the host course is the star, as we saw at the 2019 U.S. Open won by Gary Woodland. Tournament regulars Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker are joined by the likes of Rickie Fowler, Si Woo Kim and Francesco Molinari to form a slightly under-par renewal of the AT&T.

Before we go into the detail surrounding my AT&T Pebble Beach tips, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System as the golfing year kicks off. Welcome to you all and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, 5,700+ strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

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Course Guide: Where we see the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am usually on a unique 3-course rotation, 2021 sees no Pro-Am format in play and the action will be restricted to Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hills GC.

3 rounds on the world famous Pebble Beach (Host Course) and a single Thursday/Friday round at Spyglass – if only they would keep this format ongoing! The tweak in format may well see a change in the winning score required this week, as 3 rounds at a classical U.S. Open venue with slightly more difficult pin positions can only strengthen the test, especially if the fickle North California Pacific coast weather kicks-in. In reality, both of these short courses are undoubtedly tricky with Pebble Beach invariably playing the hardest, but in effect they only play as tough as the weather conditions dictate with in-form players always able to shoot low scores on the Poa Annua greens.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California: Designer: Neville and Grant 1919 with Connor and Palmer 2007; Course Type: Coastal, Classical; Par: 72; Length: 7,051 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways: Perennial Rye; Rough: Perennial Rye 2″; Greens: 3,500 sq.ft average Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 10.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 71.86 (-0.14), Difficulty Rank 24 of 49 courses. 2013: 71.41 (-0.59), Difficulty Rank 29 of 43 courses. 2014: 73.39 (+1.39), Rank 7 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.24 (-1.76), Rank 45 of 52 courses. 2016: 72.50 (+0.5), Rank 16 of 50 courses. 2017: 71.90 (-0.10), Rank 26 of 50 courses. 2018: 72.02 (+0.02), Rank 16 of 51 courses. 2019: 72.13 (+0.13), Rank of 12 of 49 courses. 2020: 72.52 (+0.52), Rank 8 of 41 courses.

Spyglass Hill GC: Designer: Trent Jones Senior, 1966; Par: 72; Length: 7,041 yards; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 10ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 72.58 (+0.58), Difficulty Rank 18 of 49 courses. 2013: 72.64 (+0.64), Difficulty Rank 11 of 43 courses. 2014: 72.76 (+1.76), Rank 11 of 48 courses. 2015: 71.20 (-0.80), Rank 32 of 52 courses. 2016: 72.51 (+0.51), Rank 15 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.20 (+0.20), Rank 20 of 50 courses. 2018: 71.78 (-0.22), Rank 22 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.72 (-0.28), Rank 20 of 49 courses. 2020: 72.88 (+0.88), Rank 5 of 41 courses.

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Pebble Beach Golf Links and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.
  • Seaside Course: 250 yards from the tee: 42 yards wide; 275:40; 300:34; 325:31; 350:23.
  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.

Course Overview: This tournament is traditionally played across a 3-course rota over 72 holes because of the Pro-Am nature of the tournament. Things though have changed in 2021 with no Pro-Am (despite the tournament title) and a 2-course set-up. The odd course out is Monterey Peninsula, which tends to be the easiest track most years. Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Golf Club are the 2 active courses in 2021 and both are known quantities.

There’s an undoubted link between host course Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines South Course. Yes, Pebble may be over 800 yards shorter than Torrey, but the courses share coastal locations and Poa Annua seeded greens. Green complexes also vary in size with the 5,000 sq.ft. average greens at Torrey a fortnight ago replaced by postage stamp-sized 3,500 sq.ft. average greens at Pebble, which are the smallest on Tour. Spyglass Hill GC will ably assist the famous host course, which has hosted 7 Major Championships. Spyglass is similar to Pebble in the fact that it has real teeth if the weather is non-compliant. As per coastal golf in general, in tranquil conditions both courses are attackable.

Wide off the tee, where even the most wayward of drivers can hit over 1 in 2 fairways, host course Pebble Beach is a classical, second-shot golf course. The track is fairly unremarkable statistically unless the elements really close in. Fierce 2014-type conditions throughout are unlikely this year, but 15-20 mph winds look a feature, which will undoubtedly tighten the scoring just a little.

Key stats are that the green complexes at Pebble are traditionally some of the hardest to putt on from within 10 feet on the Tour. Miss the green and scrambling from distance becomes a real problem, as does making par from Pebble’s notorious bunkers. All, as ever, depends on the elements this week with regards target scoring; but with no amateurs in 2021, organisers could choose to stiffen the test just a tad.

pebble beach tips

Winners: 2020: Nick Taylor (-19); 2019: Phil Mickelson (-19); 2018: Ted Potter Jnr (-17); 2017: Jordan Spieth (-19); 2016: Vaughn Taylor (-17); 2015: Brandt Snedeker (-22); 2014: Jimmy Walker (-11); 2013: Brandt Snedeker (-19); 2012: Phil Mickelson (-17); 2011: D.A. Points (-15); 2010: Dustin Johnson (-16).

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2020: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -14; Round 3 -17; Round 4 -19.
  • 2019: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -15; Round 4 -19.
  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -14; Round 4 -17.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Patrick Cantlay, Si Woo Kim, Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Scott Stallings, Daniel Berger, Jim Furyk, Russell Knox, James Hahn and Jason Day.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Alfred Dunhill Championship (European Tour), which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Jim Furyk; 2) Ryan Moore; 3) Ryan Armour / Brice Garnett / Jim Herman; 6) Kramer Hickok; 7) Kevin Streelman / Brian Stuard; 9) Tim Wilkinson; 10) David Hearn; 11) Satoshi Kodaira; 12) Chris Baker; 13) Joel Dahmen; 14) Brandt Snedeker; 15) Brian Harman; 16) Tyler Duncan / Brendan Steele / Michael Thompson; 19) Cameron Percy; 20) Rory Sabbatini; 21) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Russell Knox / Henrik Norlander; 24) Paul Casey; 25) Vaughn Taylor.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Jim Herman; 3) Francesco Molinari / Cameron Percy / Kevin Streelman; 6) Kyle Stanley; 7) Cameron Tringale; 8) Stewart Cink / Si Woo Kim; 10) Russell Knox; 11) Akshay Bhatia; 12) Patrick Cantlay / Will Zalatoris; 14) Charley Hoffman / Michael Thompson / Sam Ryder; 17) Henrik Norlander; 18) Patton Kizzire; 19) Matthew NeSmith; 20) Harold Varner III; 21) Cameron Davis / Bo Hoag / Scott Stallings; 24) Matt Jones; 25) Rickie Fowler.
  • Scrambling: 1) Nick Taylor; 2) Michael Thompson; 3) Patrick Cantlay / Paul Casey / Jim Furyk; 6) Jordan Spieth; 7) Si Woo Kim; 8) Francesco Molinari; 9) Scott Stallings; 10) Branden Grace; 11) Kramer Hickok / Henrik Norlander / Davis Riley; 14) Will Zalatoris; 15) Stewart Cink / Bo Hoag / Sean O’Hair / Cameron Percy; 19) Austin Cook / Adam Long; 21) Daniel Berger; 22) Brian Harman / Pat Perez; 24) D.A. Points / Chase Seiffert.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Josh Teater; 2) Patrick Cantlay; 3) Max Homa; 4) Ryan Armour; 5) Ted Potter Jnr; 6) Brian Harman / Kristoffer Ventura; 8) Peter Malnati; 9) Matt Jones; 10) Rafa Cabrera-Bello; 11) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Paul Casey; 13) Ben Martin / Rory Sabbatini / Jimmy Walker; 16) Daniel Berger / Francesco Molinari; 18) D.A. Points; 19) Sam Burns / D.J. Trahan; 21) Beau Hossler / Patton Kizzire; 23) Joel Dahmen / Andy Ogletree; 24) Stewart Cink / Michael Thompson.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Alfred Dunhill Championship (European Tour), which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Paul Casey; 3) Cameron Davis; 4) Daniel Berger; 5) Brendan Steele; 6) Jim Herman / Francesco Molinari / Roger Sloan; 9) Kramer Hickok; 10) Chris Baker; 11) Ryan Brehm; 12) Rickie Fowler; 13) Jim Knous; 14) Keith Mitchell / Grayson Murray / Henrik Norlander; 17) Patton Kizzire / Adam Long; 19) Brian Harman; 20) Ryan Moore; 21) Rafael Campos / Andy Ogletree; 23) Bronson Burgoon / Bo Hoag; 25) Cameron Percy / Scott Stallings.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Francesco Molinari / Will Zalatoris; 4) Henrik Norlander; 5) Patrick Cantlay / Kyle Stanley; 7) Max Homa / Kelly Kraft; 9) D.J. Trahan; 10) Matt Jones / Si Woo Kim; 12) Cameron Davis; 13) Jordan Spieth; 14) Brendan Steele; 15) Akshay Bhatia / Harry Higgs / Sam Ryder; 18) Scott Stallings / Harold Varner III; 20) Rickie Fowler; 21) Hank Lebioda; 22) Kevin Streelman; 23) C.T. Pan / Rob Oppenheim; 25) Chris Kirk / Russell Knox / Cameron Tringale.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) David Riley; 2) Patrick Cantlay; 3) Will Zalatoris; 4) Francesco Molinari; 5) Xinjun Zhang; 6) Rickie Fowler; 7) K.H. Lee; 8) Ben Martin; 9) Andrew Putnam / Brendan Steele; 11) Si Woo Kim; 12) Michael Thompson; 13) Vaughn Taylor; 14) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Fabian Gomez / Nick Taylor; 17) J.B. Holmes; 18) Paul Casey / Jordan Spieth; 20) Josh Teater; 21) Wyndham Clark / Bill Haas / Seung-yul Noh; 24) Daniel Berger; 25) Brain Gay.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Cameron Davis; 2) Brendan Steele; 3) Paul Casey; 4) Patrick Cantlay / Francesco Molinari; 6) Will Zalatoris; 7) Rickie Fowler; 8) Scott Stallings; 9) Bronson Burgoon / Si Woo Kim; 11) Henrik Norlander; 12) Kyle Stanley; 13) Cameron Tringale; 14) Jordan Spieth; 15) Chris Baker; 16) Daniel Berger / Kramer Hickok; 18) Jim Herman; 19) Michael Thompson; 20) Matt Jones; 21) Rafa Cabrera Bello / Chris Kirk; 23) Akshay Bhatia; 24) Kevin Streelman; 25) Bo Hoag / Andrew Putnam / Nick Taylor.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Davis Riley; 3) Ryan Armour; 4) Daniel Berger / Ben Martin; 6) Rafa Cabrera Bello; 7) Mark Hubbard; 8) Matt Jones; 9) Stewart Cink; 10) Bill Haas; 11) Peter Malnati; 12) Kiradech Aphibarnrat / Brian Harman; 14) Chris Kirk; 15) Paul Casey / J.J. Spaun / Michael Thompson; 18) Sam Burns / Austin Cook / Jimmy Walker; 21) Doug Ghim; 22) Jordan Spieth; 23) Matt Every / Rhein Gibson / James Hahn.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Paul Casey; 2) Patrick Cantlay; 3) Francesco Molinari; 4) Will Zalatoris; 5) Cameron Davis; 6) Brendan Steele; 7) Daniel Berger; 8) Rafa Cabrera Bello; 9) Sam Burns / Matt Jones; 11) Henrik Norlander; 12) Mark Hubbard; 13) Ryan Armour; 14) Bo Hoag / Michael Thompson; 16) Brian Harman / Kramer Hickok; 18) Peter Malnati; 19) Jordan Spieth; 20) Chris Kirk; 21) Patton Kizzire; 22) Max Homa / Si Woo Kim; 24) Bronson Burgoon; 25) Nick Taylor.

Winners & Prices: 2020: N Taylor 160/1; 2019: Mickelson 25/1; 2018: Potter Jnr 500/1; 2017: Spieth 9/1; 2016: V Taylor 300/1; 2015: Snedeker 25/1; 2014: Walker 28/1; 2013: Snedeker 14/1; 2012: Mickelson 25/1; 2011: Points 80/1; 2010: Johnson 22/1. Past 7 Renewals Average: 150/1. Overall Average: 108/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2020: Thursday: Sunny, with a high of 62. Wind NW 6-12 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 63. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High of 61. Wind NW 10-20 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind NNE 15-25 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 54. Wind SW 8-12 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy with afternoon showers. High of 54. Wind SSE 10-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Play was suspended for the day at 2:11 p.m. PT due to heavy rain. Saturday: Mostly sunny in the morning with heavy afternoon showers. High of 48. Wind SSW 15-20 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Sunday: Due to wet conditions, the start of the final round was delayed for one hour. Rain and hail forced a suspension of play from 10:53 a.m.-1 p.m. Play was suspended due to darkness at 5:55 p.m., with two players left on the course. Mostly cloudy. High of 54. Wind NW 15-20 mph, with gusts to 27 mph. Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 54. Wind W 5-10 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Sunny. High of 70. Wind WNW 5-10 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 74. Wind WNW 8-16 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind NNW 12-22 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 64. Wind WNW 15-25 mph.
  • 2017: Thursday: Mostly cloudy in the morning with moderate to heavy rainfall in the afternoon. Wind S 10-15 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Due to unplayable conditions, play was suspended at 1:34 PST. Play was later called for the day with a resumption time Friday: Due to further rainfall and unplayable conditions Friday morning, the first round did not resume until 8:30 a.m. PST and was completed at 10:46 a.m. Rainy with a high of 60. Wind WSW 5-10 mph. The second round was suspended for the day due to fog at 4:21 p.m. Saturday: The second round resumed at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and was completed at 10:14 a.m. Third-round tee times began at 10 a.m. Partly cloudy with a high of 59. Wind NNW 10-15 mph. Sunday: Sunny with a high of 61. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Sunny, and warm with a high of 75 degrees. Wind W 5-10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 64 degrees. Wind NW 7-12 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high of 63 degrees. Wind WNW 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph. Due to fog, the start of round three was delayed 30 minutes. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 69. Wind NW 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Pebble Beach, California is here.

Conditions for the 2021 renewal of the AT&T Pebble Beach look very northern European in their nature. With temperatures reaching a maximum of 11-14 degrees Celsius across all 4 days, plenty in the field will find this pretty cold. Rain in the build-up will see the golf course play soft and it certainly won’t dry in such low temperatures. Wind-wise, Thursday looks calm, so expect good scoring. Friday could be challenging with a 20-25 mph north-westerly sorting out a few. Saturday looks like moving day, with a light breeze, but Sunday again could see 20-25 mph north westerly winds.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2020, Nick Taylor (-19). 292 yards (39th), 78.2% fairways (4th), 75.0% greens in regulation (3rd), 34’9″ proximity to hole (31st), 61.1 % scrambling (30th), 1.59 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2019,  Phil Mickelson (-19). 276 yards (25th), 60.0% fairways (48th), 79.2% greens in regulation (8th), 29’6″ proximity to hole (6th), 53.3 % scrambling (51st), 1.65 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2018, Ted Potter Jnr (-17). 283 yards (67th), 76.4% fairways (19th), 73.6% greens in regulation (9th), 26’1″ proximity to hole (2nd), 68.4 % scrambling (19th), 1.64 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2017, Jordan Spieth (-19). 284 yards (26th), 78.2% fairways (14th), 79.2% greens in regulation (3rd), 27’11” proximity to hole (10th), 73.3 % scrambling (8th), 1.67 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 2016, Vaughn Taylor (-17). 289 yards (40th), 69.1% fairways (38th), 75.0% greens in regulation (2nd), 25’3″ proximity to hole (3rd), 55.6 % scrambling (60th), 1.56 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2015, Brandt Snedeker (-22). 284 yards (48th), 70.9% fairways (38th), 81.9% greens in regulation (3rd), 27’11” proximity to hole (24th), 92.3 % scrambling (1st), 1.68 putts per GIR (16th).
  • 2014, Jimmy Walker (-11). 282 yards (22nd), 56.4% fairways (59th), 70.8% greens in regulation (6th), 35’6″ proximity to hole (26th), 81.0 % scrambling (2nd), 1.75 putts per GIR (14th).
  • 2013, Brandt Snedeker (-19). 277 yards (41st), 78.2% fairways (14th), 77.8% greens in regulation (6th), 27’10” proximity to hole (19th), 75.0% scrambling (6th), 1.64 putts per GIR (6th).
  • 2012, Phil Mickelson (-17). 273 yards (58th), 61.8% fairways (62nd), 75.0% greens in regulation (5th), 29’1″ proximity to hole (11th), 77.8% scrambling (2nd), 1.67 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2011, D.A. Points (-15). 286 yards (40th), 80.4% fairways (9th), 69.4% greens in regulation (19th), 30’11” proximity to hole (15th), 50.0% scrambling (47th), 1.60 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2010, Dustin Johnson (-16). 303 yards (1st), 75.0% fairways (15th), 80.6% greens in regulation (3rd), N/A proximity to hole, 35.7% scrambling (64th), 1.65 putts per GIR (7th).

Tournament Skill Averages:

Driving Distance: 41st, Driving Accuracy: 29th, Greens in Regulation: 6th, Proximity to Hole: 15th, Scrambling: 26th, Putting Average 6th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2020, Nick Taylor (-19). SG Off the Tee: 54th, SG Approach: 13th, SG Around the Green: 13th, SG Tee to Green: 19th, SG Putting: 2nd.
  • 2019, Phil Mickelson (-19). SG Off the Tee: 26th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 20th.
  • 2018, Ted Potter Jnr (-17). SG Off the Tee: 15th, SG Approach: 19th, SG Around the Green: 25th, SG Tee to Green: 7th, SG Putting: 24th.
  • 2017, Jordan Spieth (-19). SG Off the Tee: 45th, SG Approach: 12th, SG Around the Green: 33rd, SG Tee to Green: 22nd, SG Putting: 4th.
  • 2016, Vaughn Taylor (-17). SG Off the Tee: 40th, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 30th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 52nd.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 36th, SG Approach: 9th, SG Around the Green: 26th, SG Tee to Green: 10th, SG Putting: 20th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how the 2 courses and tournament format affects play:

Nick Taylor [on Spyglass]: That’s the No. 1 thought on the range in the morning, the first ball, don’t thin it. But yeah, I had the cart gloves on, I had a beanie on this morning just trying to keep your hands warm as well as possible. The ball’s going much shorter which you have to factor in. They added a few tees on the par-5s out at Spyglass, so for me they’re borderline reachable, which kind of I feel a strength of my game is driving it straight and my woods into the green. So when I can’t really reach those it took away maybe a couple opportunities there. But it was cold, once the fog kind of went away a little bit, or the overcast, it warmed up a little bit, which was nice, but it was definitely cold this morning. I definitely putted well this week, which I think if you talk to anybody who has had average weeks then all of a sudden in contention to win, that’s usually a big reason. I’ve been driving it well for a long time. And this course being a hair shorter, I think it just suits my game a little bit better. I’m definitely not bomber but just putt well.”

Phil Mickelson [on Pebble]: “Yeah, I actually thought it was a successful round. It was difficult out there, especially around the turn there, 9, 10 — 8, 9, 10, and that was really the only point where I had a couple of bogeys and it was very difficult, but I was able to come back with a few birdies when it cleared up. And I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a heck of a round, and I was one shy. I just enjoy it here and I think the challenging conditions oftentimes comes into play. I think the grass and the little half shots to get back to some of these pins, a lot of guys struggle with and it’s been a strength of my game, so I’ve been able to make a few more birdies on some of these holes.”

Ted Potter Jnr [on Pebble]: “I was just trying to take one shot at a time, pick a small target on the fairway, pick a small target on the middle of the green. I knew I had a couple shot lead going into the back nine, so I knew that they were going to have to make some birdies and the back nine’s tough, especially with the wind how it is right now. So I just wanted to give myself plenty of opportunities coming in. I just tried not to attack the pins, but give myself good 20-footers to have a chance to make birdie.

Jordan Spieth [on Pebble]: “Yeah, on this type of poa annua, it’s still going to be very soft and spinny. Even on this course I was hitting low 9-irons or 8-irons and they were coming backwards a few feet. Normally those skip five yards forward. So it’s very difficult to throw the ball with a lot of extra club and hit it low and land it back by the pin. It’s difficult to do because we almost never have to do it. So, very rarely do we actually practice it or can trust it in a tournament setting. Holes like number 4 today, when you’ve got to hit an 85 yard shot and you got to hit a gap wedge and fly it 85 when it’s normally just a perfect number for a 63 degree, it’s just an abnormal thing for us to do and to get our brains wrapped around. That’s going to stay that way. The course isn’t going to change much tomorrow, in my opinion. It’s just not getting hot enough, it’s still too early. But, yeah, so it will be kind of dart throwing contest again and who can make the putts. And Sneds has won here I think twice and I think we’re playing with him. He’s going to be somebody who can very easily, I mean, I say very easily, but he’s somebody who can go out there and shoot 7-, 8-under tomorrow. So, I’ve got to set a goal and stay real patient, try not to make many mistakes, hit a lot of greens in regulation.

Justin Rose [on Spyglass]: “That was actually my first look at Spyglass. I came out here the other day and went around a couple of holes checking it out, but I picked the wrong one not to play, because it’s a pretty tough course. There’s some strong holes on it. And I heard some strange reports about Spyglass, like the first few holes are great then it disappears into the hills and it’s not that good. That’s not what I saw. That’s a pretty stellar golf course to me and really enjoyed playing it. All the courses in the rotation have impressed me this year.

Brandt Snedeker: “I love the greens here, I love the golf courses, the greens are poa annua, which I’m a big fan of. And I love the format. I have played the last four years with a good friend. To come out here and play these golf courses, this year, you’re not going to get a better conditioned golf course, perfect weather, everything has been ideal and there’s not a better place to be in the country right now than right here and this tournament. So I have a lot of fun when I come out here and it’s a fun feeling when you’re playing good out on the West Coast.

Jordan Spieth: “I enjoy the pro am part of it. Even though it’s a long round, we get good food, it’s a nice change of pace, good food, you’re kind of laughing down the fairways. It’s like you’re playing around on the weekend. Some guys don’t like the pace of play or a lot of guys just don’t like poa annua greens, guys that grew up on Bermuda grew up in the south or even guys that grew up in the northeast are used to primarily bent grass or Bermuda grass and they, three different golf courses all with poa annua that maybe they think putt a little different. It’s just a tough adjustment when you get in Monday night or something to try and get to know the places that week really quickly. Whether it’s that, whether it’s the changing around a few golf courses or it’s the slow rounds, not sure. I certainly really like this golf course and a lot of the legends of the game have liked these courses.

Jimmy Walker: “I don’t mind the format. The format’s great. I’ve enjoyed all my partners I’ve ever had here. I think everybody that’s here is a good person. I’ve had some good players. We have done well in the past team wise, too. So, you know the rounds are going to be a little longer. But there’s no better place to hang out on a golf course for five and a half, six hours if the weather’s good it’s really nice. If it’s bad it’s a little dicey, but I think it’s a cool format. I enjoy playing golf with friends at home and I’ve made some pretty good friends out here doing the pro am stuff. You just got to get over the fact that it’s going to take awhile. A lot of guys don’t like it.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the winners of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am since 2010:

  • 2020 – Nick Taylor: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2019 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 3rd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2018 – Ted Potter Jnr: Round 1: 24th, Round 2: 35th, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2017 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2016 – Vaughn Taylor: Round 1: 48th, Round 2: 18th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2015 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2014 – Jimmy Walker: Round 1: 6th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2013 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 5th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 59th, Round 2: 4th, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2011 – D.A. Points: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 4th.
  • 2010 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: 1st, Round 2 1st, Round 3: 1st.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the shots from the lead during the tournament of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am since 2010:

  • 2020 – Nick Taylor: Round 1: 2 ahead, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 1 ahead.
  • 2019 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2018 – Ted Potter Jnr: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: Level.
  • 2017 – Jordan Spieth: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 6 ahead.
  • 2016 – Vaughn Taylor: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2015 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2014 – Jimmy Walker: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 6 ahead.
  • 2013 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: Level, Round 3: Level.
  • 2012 – Phil Mickelson: Round 1: 9 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2011 – D.A. Points: Round 1: 1 ahead, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2010 – Dustin Johnson: Round 1: Level, Round 2: Level, Round 3: Level.

Form of winners since 2010:

  • Nick Taylor: 49th TPC Scottsdale/MC PGA West/32nd Waialae/MC RSM Classic.
  • Phil Mickelson: MC TPC Scottsdale/2nd PGA West/17th Silverado/30th Tour Champ.
  • Ted Potter Jnr: 73rd Torrey/MC PGA West/MC Waialae/13th RSM Classic.
  • Jordan Spieth: 9th TPC Scottsdale/3rd Waialae/3rd Kapalua/3rd World Challenge.
  • Vaughn Taylor: MC Columbia/MC Sea Island/20th Sanderson/24th web.com TC.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 19th Torrey/10th TPC Scottsdale/MC PGA West/10th HSBC.
  • Jimmy Walker: MC Torrey/1st Waialae/21st Kapalua/46th HSBC.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 2nd TPC Scottsdale/2nd Torrey/23rd PGA West/3rd Kapalua.
  • Phil Mickelson: 26th TPC Scottsdale/MC Torrey/49th PGA West.
  • D.A. Points: 22nd TPC Scottsdale/8th Torrey/42nd PGA West.
  • Dustin Johnson: 3rd Riviera/MC Torrey/16th Waialae/16th Kapalua.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 3 – Jordon Spieth, Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Hunter Mahan, Scott Piercy, Brendan Steele, Nick Watney.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Patrick Cantlay, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Padraig Harrington, J.B. Holmes, Max Homa, Russell Knox, Nate Lashley, William McGirt, Sean O’Hair, D.A. Points, Ted Potter Jnr, Andrew Putnam, Chez Reavie, Scott Stallings, Nick Taylor, Vaughn Taylor, Kevin Tway, Bo Van Pelt.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is always a memorable tournament, although the coverage can be extremely painful to watch in normal years. Recent winners include Tiger Woods, Davis Love III (x2), Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (x5), Dustin Johnson (x2), Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker (x2) and Jordan Spieth with Matt Gogel, Aaron Oberholser, Steve Lowery, D.A. Points, Vaughn Taylor, Ted Potter Jnr and Nick Taylor thrown in for good measure.

My take on the tournament is that a number of elite players always seem to contend – as you’d expect – and in most cases quality vanquishes the lesser opposition, but in the case of Lowery, Points, Taylor (of the Vaughn variety), Potter Jnr, and Taylor (of the Nick variety), they defeated Vijay Singh, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson respectively to capture their career biggest tournament titles.

Experience at Pebble Beach is another key factor. Dustin Johnson’s win here in 2009 came on only his second appearance at the tournament, but his liking for the format was already plain to see as he’d finished 7th on debut the previous year. Johnson went on to defend his title in 2010 and since then players with 4, 16, 6, 6, 7, 8, 4, 3, 21 and 5 previous appearances have triumphed.

The specialist nature of golf here can be seen in the fact that every winner here since Aaron Oberholser (2006) had delivered a top-21 finish at Pebble prior to their victory. That link continued again with 160/1 shot Nick Taylor 12 months ago, who in his 6 AT&T visits had finished 10th plus generated 2 more top-30s, prior to capturing his 2nd PGA Tour title. The close association with Torrey Pines can’t be overlooked either or the liking for the west coast swing in general.

Taking that last statement a step further, going back to Dustin Johnson the 2009 and 2010 champion, he’d already finished 10th at Waialae, 12th at PGA West and 7th at Pebble Beach in his rookie season of 2008 before triumphing here in consecutive years. The 2010 victory came off a 3rd at Riviera.

D.A. Points had a liking for Torrey Pines with 2 top-9 finishes and an 8th in San Diego prior to winning this. Phil Mickelson in 2012 had won 17 times on the West Coast including 3 Pebble National titles. Brandt Snedeker had won at Torrey Pines and had a number of high West Coast finishes across Kapalua, PGA West, TPC Scottsdale and a top 10 in the U.S. Open here, whilst Jordan Spieth had won at Kapalua and had finished 4th and 7th here prior to his 2017 victory.

Even Vaughn Taylor had captured both of his 2 PGA Tour titles at Montreux in Nevada and had a strong profile of finishes across Kapalua, PGA West, TPC Scottsdale and a top-10 here at Pebble Beach, although anyone picking him out to win this at 300/1 hopefully bought a lottery ticket the same week! Ted Potter Jnr takes this to even more extremes, but look at his history and there are some West Coast positive results hidden away. 13th at Waialae (2012), 16th at Pebble Beach and 10th at Riviera (both in 2013).

Jordan Spieth 2pts EW 25/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfair

It’s not overly creative, but I’ll lead with Jordan Spieth this week at Pebble Beach.

A specialised tournament if ever there was one, Jordan sits third in this field for average score at the AT&T Pebble Pro-Am and a switch to 3 rounds on the famous U.S. Open venue host course should help the 27 year-old Texan.

And let’s put last week at TPC Scottsdale into some perspective, This golf course in general isn’t a great golf course for me historically,” were Jordan’s words post final round, so his performance in Arizona has to boost his confidence. 4th was his best ever finish at the Phoenix Open and was also his best finish since the 2019 PGA Championship where he was 3rd behind Brooks Koepka. His 3rd Round -10/61 was his lowest since the 2015 John Deere Classic. 77.78% Greens in Regulation was his best number with his consistent approach play since the 2018 BMW Championship. He topped Strokes Gained on Approach for the first time since Pebble Beach 12 months ago, and he only made 6 bogeys for the week – the last time he beat that was the 2017 BMW Championship where he finished 7th.

2017 was also the year he last won a tournament, winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Travelers Championship and the Open Championship to make it 11 PGA Tour wins. We forget, but like Reed and Koepka across previous weeks, Jordan knows how to convert contending performances.

Pebble Beach form is cast-iron: 22nd (2013), 4th (2014), 7th (2015), 21st (2016), 1st (2017), 20th (2018) and 9th (2020), Jordan simply loves his trips to Carmel-by-the-Sea. He’s also the sort who once he finds form holds it for a while. Cold temperatures and 2 days of significant wind should make this more of truer links challenge, more Open Championship if you like, and if the expected mid-score total materialises then I think it’s right in Jordan’s wheelhouse. RESULT: T3

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Francesco Molinari 2pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfair

Next up is the 2018 Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari who seems to be enjoying his United States odyssey and is undoubtedly gaining in confidence with every outing. 15th in Houston, 8th at PGA West and 10th at Torrey Pines across his last 3 domestic PGA Tour events, Frankie is finding form in Ryder Cup year, as 2021 is now the time to focus and deliver results.

With Molinari now settled in his new Los Angeles home, the PGA Tour will be his sole focus until the U.S. Open in June and I think Pebble Beach is a great addition to his schedule.

Francesco can undoubtedly mix it with the very best on United States Major Championship golf courses: 2 visits here both came in U.S. Open guise, with 16th here in 2019 being significant as he opened with a 68 and was never outside of the top 20.

A glance at Molinari’s result CV also highlights a player who’s comfortable with coastal golf: 2nd at the 2012 Scottish Open played at Castle Stuart, 10th (2012) and 11th (2019) at Royal Portrush, Francesco was 13th (2009) at Turnberry and 9th (2013) at Muirfield before hoisting the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 2018 – 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach champion Jordan Spieth was joint-leader heading out that particular Sunday.

And when we look at Molinari’s game-shape right now, it’s exceptionally good. 15th and 6th for Greens in Regulation over PGA West and Torrey Pines, he ranked 9th for Strokes Gained on Approach and 3rd for Tee to Green in La Jolla last time out. One shot shy (yet again!!) he almost sneaked that 70/1 each-way payout we aimed for last time at the Farmers Insurance Open, but where 7,700 yards at Torrey Pines South Course isn’t ideal, 7,100 yards at a cold and windy Pebble Beach should be much better suited. RESULT: 59th

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Henrik Norlander 1pt EW 60/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Henrik Norlander has been fairly regularly placed in my tips and I still think he’s the sort who could pop up and win on a coastal track.

Up into the OWGR top 100 for the first time ever, across the past 13 months the Swede has finished 9th at the Sony Open, 25th here at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, 12th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, 6th at The Memorial, 23rd at the 3M Open, 4th at the Sanderson Farms Championship, 12th at the American Express and 2nd at the Farmers Insurance Open. Those great performances at both Waialae Country Club and Torrey Pines transfer beautifully to this week at Pebble and you can also point to additional coastal form which comes through at Sea Island where he was 2nd in 2016 and 5th in 2019.

The 33 year-old is a bit of a late developer in terms of top-level golf, but the Augusta, Georgia-educated and residing Swede has been stellar from tee to green for a while. Very much a steady tee to green man, Norlander already sits 38th for Driving Accuracy and 19th for Greens in Regulation in season 2020/21, 2 skill-sets where he was 8th and 13th for the same marks across season 2019/20. He also ranks 23rd for Driving Accuracy, 18th for Greens in Regulation, 12th for Scrambling, 15th for SG Off the Tee, 5th for SG on Approach, 12th for SG Tee to Green and 12th for SG Current Form in this field across my 8-week trackers.

Ever improving here at the AT&T across 4 appearances, his 25th here last year was notable for a classy closing -1/71 in the very worst of the windy conditions on Sunday. With cold temperatures and 3 rounds on a U.S. Open venue this week, I can see Norlander re-kindling his performance from Torrey Pines 2 weeks ago. RESULT: T26

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Chris Kirk 1pt EW 90/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

I will close with somebody who’s been playing some outstanding stuff of late and really tugged on the heart strings at the Sony Open – Chris Kirk.

The story of Chris has been well covered by the golfing media – safe to say he’s tackled some serious demons and to both his and his family’s credit has come out the other side. After passing his Major Medical Extension in such fine style under intense pressure, Chris now finds himself in 45th spot on the FedEx Cup and in a position where he can look to pick the courses that suit and go for that 5th PGA Tour title.

That’s right, it’s easy to forget that Chris is a 4-time PGA Tour winner with the 2011 Viking Classic, being followed by the 2013 McGladrey Classic, the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship and the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational. Those last 2 victories were in deep fields and it’s well worth noting that Chris made the 2015 President’s Cup team and was as high as 20th in the World back in 2014.

Those lofty peaks might be a way off for the 35 year-old who lives in Athens, Georgia, and has used Sea Island, Georgia as a training space over spells of his career. But an experienced player like Chris will be viewing this week as a huge opportunity. It’s worth remembering that Chris won on the Korn Ferry Tour back in June – his 3rd Korn Ferry and 7th professional title – so he can undoubtedly get the job done when he’s playing well enough. And prior to TPC Scottsdale – never a hugely successful venue for Chris – he finished 18th at Sea Island, 46th at El Camaleon, 2nd at Waialae and 16th at PGA West.

His coastal body of work is mightily impressive with 7th (2012) at Kapalua; 5th (2013), 2nd (2014), 10th (2018) and 2nd (2021) at Waialae; 1st (2013), 4th (2014) and 4th (2017) at Sea Island; plus 7th (2016) at El Camaleon. And he also finished 2nd here at Pebble Beach in 2013 and won on the faux-links at TPC Boston, where many Pebble winners have featured.

20th for Bogey Avoidance season to date, Chris isn’t leaking a lot of oil so far this season and his Strokes Gained numbers have been excellent. 8th for Approach and 6th for Tee to Green at Waialae, he was also 8th for Approach, 16th for Tee to Green and 10th for Stokes Gained Total across his 3 rounds at PGA West. 19th on debut at the 2014 Open held at Hoylake highlights a player who can be competitive on links assignments and I would not be surprised to see the World Number 121 in the mix this week in California. RESULT: T16

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Odds an bookmaker offers correct at 17:00GMT 8.2.21 but naturally subject to fluctuation.