The PGA TOUR continues its West Coast swing with a trip to the Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. That’s a bit of a misnomer for this year’s tournament, though, since the amateur celebrities have been removed from the format this year due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving a more typical format with a 36-hole cut after each player logs a round at Pebble Beach Golf Links and a round at Spyglass Hill Golf Club. The final two rounds will take place at Pebble Beach, which should set up for a fun finish. While Spyglass Hill typically plays a little easier than Pebble Beach, three rounds on the same course can help more easily identify exactly what it will take to win this week.
The biggest story coming into the week was expected to be Dustin Johnson’s return, but the World No. 1-ranked golfer withdrew on Monday night after winning last week on the European Tour. He opened as the heavy favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook but was replaced by Patrick Cantlay atop the board at +750. With no players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings now in the field, the tournament now appears wide open and could give us an unexpected winner.
The two courses in play typically de-emphasize length off the tee with many tight turns and slopes, allowing players to make up shots with dialed-in iron play. Two of the last four winners here have actually lost shots off the tee but have made up for it with tight approaches, good work around the greens and a successful putting stroke on these Poa Annua surfaces. This will be the first tournament to feature only Poa greens on the PGA TOUR since the Safeway Open last fall.
Here are the bets we should be considering this week on DraftKings Sportsbook.
With Johnson out, Day arguably becomes the most widely known player in the field, so you do have to pay up a little bit for his name recognition. However, his course history at this event is outstanding and his game is starting to come around after injuries once again limited his effectiveness. Day has finished in the top five at Pebble Beach in five of the past six seasons with a T11 in 2016 as his worst showing of that run. He has finished in the top 15 in nine of his 11 career trips to this event and usually fares very well on Poa surfaces. His putter could use the jolt since last week he lost 2.16 strokes per round on the green while crashing out of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He has actually missed the cut in each of his two PGA TOUR events in 2021, but a return to his preferred surface and a familiar track should help him turn things around this week. His game has looked good aside from that disastrous putting, and he seems like a good play this week.
Streelman is a lot like Day in several aspects of his profile including his success in the past on Poa and his past success at this track. Streelman has finished in the top 20 in five straight trips to this event including last year’s runner-up finish. He closed with a pair of 68’s on the weekend but couldn’t quite track down eventual winner Nick Taylor. Streelman typically excels on shorter par-4s which is why his game is a good fit for this layout. Like Day, his iron game looks sharp but his putter is holding him back. Last week, he finished seventh in the field with 1.234 shots gained per round on approach. The PGA TOUR veteran hasn’t won since the Travelers Championship in 2014, but he comes in with a little more current form than Day after posting a top-25 finish last week.
If you’re looking for a longer shot to emerge and claim the victory this week, check out NeSmith, who comes in playing well and has the kind of game that seems to fit Pebble Beach perfectly. He finished T11 last year in his debut at this event and went flag-hunting last week on his way to a T7 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He had three top-20 finishes in the Fall Series as well and has climbed all the way to 12th on the PGA TOUR in SG: Approach. His putter can be inconsistent at times but last week he picked up .933 strokes per round on the green. If he can have a similar performance this week with the flat stick, NeSmith should be poised for another strong finish.
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