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DFS Picks For The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am February 04-07 2022

McNealy Playing DFS Golf
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 28: Maverick McNealy of the United States plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club on August 28, 2020 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

This year’s visit to the Monterey Peninsula is subtly different to those in the past. On the one hand, that divergence regards the schedule, which takes the players directly from Torrey Pines to this event (more commonly the route is via TPC Scottsdale). It means a solid fortnight of very similar golf: On the Californian cliff tops, great views of the Pacific Ocean, potentially blustery breezes, Poa Annua on the putting surfaces. The other distinction also regards scheduling: The fact the Saudi International, and its bottomless reserves of cash, has tempted so many to play there. It’s legitimate to say that around 10 of those in the Middle East would ordinarily have been in the Pebble field.

Last time out
In the thorny question of who to favor from the A list we called it right with Jon Rahm, and also, ultimately, in not going for Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. The latter two flirted with the lead, but ended the week achieving what they normally do at Torrey Pines (top 30s not top fives). We had solid returns from other picks and absolute value pick Dylan Frittelli flattered to deceive us, brilliant in round one, dreadful on the second lap.

Here’s are some entirely FREE suggestions for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)

A listD. Berger $10,500
ValueM. Kuchar $7,600
AvoidS. Power $9,400


Daniel Berger ($10,500): When he won this event last year even Berger himself wondered aloud why he hadn’t been a more consistent visitor to the tournament. His only other starts had been in 2015, when T–10, and 2020, when T–5, so it really is something of a puzzle because he seems like a really nice fit. He also made the cut at the 2019 U.S. Open. He was a neat T–20 last week at Torrey Pines and has been ultra-consistent since the start of 2020: 38 starts, just five failures to make the top 40 and a top 10 ratio of 45%.  

Matt Kuchar ($7,600)
 2021 was not kind to the veteran, but late in the campaign he found something with his swing and his form changed abruptly. He ended the year making five of six cuts, enjoyed himself at the QBE Shootout with Harris English (nearly winning again), and opened 2022 with T–7 at the Sony Open. He’s made 10 of his last 12 cuts at Pebble Beach (this event and the U.S. Open) and, now feeling chiper about his form, he can add another Sunday to that log book.


Seamus Power ($9,400) Let’s not overlook that the Irishman is one of the form horses on the PGA TOUR. He’s on a run of 15-for-17 with 13 top 15s among those weekend returns. He’s also finished top 15 in his last four events. He deserves to be feared. But is Poa Annua his kryptonite? His record on it in California reads: 13 starts, three cuts made, best of T–38. Save this salary for elsewhere (Scottsdale and PGA National appeal). 

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Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill GC and Monterey Peninsula CC

Last year’s edition was reduced to a two course format due to Covid restrictions, but this year the three layout system is restored. As ever, Pebble Beach is used once before the cut and then again in Sunday’s final round (that’s a bit of an in-joke by the way – this event has a bizarre history with finishes, often stretching into Monday, sometimes ending early).

Ahead of Saturday evening’s cut the event also sees the field play a lap at Spyglass Hill Golf Club, a par 72 at 6,858 yards, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club, a par 71 at 6,958 yards. The former is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. Design, the latter was created int he 1920s, but both own fundamental similarities with Pebble Beach: stunning views, proximity to the ocean, vulnerable to sea breezes, undulating fairways, and small (often very small) greens.

Pebble Beach is a par 72 at just over 7,000 yards but tends to play a little longer at this stage of the year with cold, damp air and soft fairways. Add that latter factor to the fact the fairways are wide to begin with (seventh widest on TOUR) and you’ll see that driving is not a huge factor this week. But the greens are not just small, they are tiny – the smallest on TOUR. They are also among the toughest to hole putts on.

Little wonder a smart brain like Jordan Spieth says: “I I lower my expectations on the greens, just accept hitting putts at the right speed and putting them around the right line. If they fall, they fall. If they don’t, move on and hit as many greens in regulation as possible.” Steve Stricker didn’t like it at all: “Soft bumpy greens, cold weather, not my cup of tea.”

Phil Mickelson appreciates that local knowledge can be a big benefit: “The greens being Poa Annua are what I grew up on, so it’s a grass I feel comfortable. Not just putting on, but chipping on, chipping into and hitting full shots into. It can be challenging for guys if they’re not used to it.”

Weather

The weather forecast for the Monterey Peninsula, California matters because, as mentioned above, it has provided problems for the organisers in the past. But the good news is that the forecast is currently set fair. Mostly sunny all week, no chance of rain, light breezes, but low temperatures (mid 50s).

Past Winners of The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am
At first glance, and even second really, this is an event that has been won by favorites and also absolute leftfield golfers. But in truth most winners have done something in the event, or at Pebble Beach, ahead of their win and they tend to know how to deal with Poa Annua.

Sticking to the 21st century, we see that Tiger Woods won this event and the U.S. Open in 2000, and that tournament specialists have racked up the wins: Phil Mickelson five, Brandt Snedeker, Davis Love III and Dustin Johnson two apiece. 

Matt Gogel won two years after being runner-up, Arron Oberholser knew the track inside out when he won, and Jimmy Walker was gun on Poa Annua around the time he triumphed. Even D.A. Points, Ted Potter Jr., Vaughn Taylor and Nick Taylor had good tournament finishes before winning.

Jordan Spieth was the winner in 2017 and Daniel Berger defends the trophy this week – they, along with Mickelson in 2019, represent the class winners of the last five years. 

Strategy

This is another week to focus on golfers who play Poa Annua well. Top finishers in this tournament almost always flag their potential either in the tournament in the past or in recent results on Poa Annua (Silverado, Torrey Pines, even Riviera the year before). Laid back types can cope with the tricky putting surfaces and the long rounds (the amateurs are hacking away as well remember). The capacity to hit small greens is another must.     

Here’s A Line-up of Core Picks For The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am

A listJ. Rose             $9,600
B listK. Streelman $9,100
B listM. Jones $8,000
ValueT. Merritt $7,200
ValueA. Cejka $6,400
AvoidD. McCarthy $8,200

Justin Rose ($9,600) In one sense the limey has the best credentials of all for hitting small greens – he won the U.S. Open at Merion, the championship golf equivalent of Olympic diving into a rain puddle. He also has a solid record at Harbour Town (small greens, coastal) and his Pebble Beach record is excellent: T–6 and T–39 in this event, T–6 in the 2019 U.S. Open. A past winner at Torrey Pines, he was T–6 there last week.

Kevin Streelman ($9,100) A standing dish in this event. He missed his first three cuts in it, but since then? 11 starts, 10 cuts made, seven top 20 finishes. Moreover, he hasn’t been outside the top 20 in his last half dozen starts. He must still be kicking himself he didn’t qualify for the 2019 U.S. Open. He’s also on a run of 15 of 19 weekends of golf (and also 10-of-12). Loves taking aim at small putting surfaces.

Other Player Options For The AT&T Pebble Beacn Pro Am

•  Jason Day was back to his best last week when finishing top three at Torrey Pines, but “back” is a key word with him. Problems with that part of his anatomy prompted a swing change late last year. This week he is priced on a stunning Pebble record (10 top 20 finishes in 13 starts), not two top 10s since this week last year.
•  Christiaan Bezuidenhout continues to play four rounds of golf a week for fun. He’s now done so in in 32 of his last 33 stroke play starts (just three were no cut events).

•   Maverick McNealy likes Poa. He’s logged T–15 and T–30 the last three years at Torrey, was second at Silverado last year, adn has two top five finishes in this event. Big salary though.

COVID-19 and Injury Warning:

Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup. 

Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that. 

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