California in February. Picture the scene: it’s warm, with endless waves, beautiful people everywhere, you’re full of cocktails, mingling with the great and good of the golfing world, and beyond? Can you see yourself there? No, nor us! But we can imagine we're there as our man previews the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am action and suggests a couple of tips that could well have us sipping a Pina Colada or two ourselves!
Don't forget, we're offering Six Places for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
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Favourite: Dustin Johnson | 11/2
TOURNAMENT & COURSE OVERVIEW
One of the more eagerly awaited competitions, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is played over three of the best golf courses in the States before the huge field of 156 professionals and 156 amateurs (each pro is paired with an amateur) is whittled on the 54-hole cut, with the final day played again at Pebble Beach.
Pebble Beach is a links-course designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant back in 1919. It is spectacularly beautiful, but beware, like an alluring woman she has her secrets, and many a man have been lost in her charms. A par-72, the course is 6,828 yards and demands concentration. With many of the holes facing the sea, one can find one becoming befuddled, a fact which often claims players at the short par-3 seventh, which sees players hitting out straight at the Pacific Ocean. Little wonder it is one of the most photographed holes in the world.
Next up is Spyglass Hill (pictured, right. Rated one of the toughest in the world, the 6,960 yard par-72 has a rating of 75.5 and a slope rating of 144. The first hole is called 'Treasure Island' and is one of the most iconic and photographed, but holes 6, 7, 8 and 16 are considered three of the toughest on the PGA Tour. Make no mistake, during the 1999 US Amateur the stroke average was 79. Playing pairs will fall away here!
Lastly, we have the Monterey Shore Course, which has undergone a facelift by Mike Strantz in 2003. A 6,867-yard par-71 beast the course maximises ocean vistas and the natural rock formations prove more than a ready obstacle for the players. The 'easier' of the three, the Shore Course is a beast in its own right and demands respect.
WEATHER: Thursday and Friday could be wet and windy and the players will struggle with the conditions before it dries up on Saturday and Sunday. Given the fact that the days are supposed to get easier, it may be worth considering later tee times when selecting players due to the conditions.
PRIZE POOL: $7,200, 000 - with $1,296,000 up top - Nice!
Harkins to ring the changes at the AT&T
A stellar field will be in attendance at the AT&T Pebble Beach as five of the world’s top-10 players cross clubs, including world number one Dustin Johnson (11/2), and the red-hot Jon Rahm (9/1). Last year’s champion Jordan Spieth (11/1) picked up his ninth PGA Tour title here, but arrives having missed his first cut in the best time of the year. So, who are we backing to win the AT&T this time round? Read on…
Our first pick is the 39-year-old Floridian Matt ‘Kooch’ Kuchar. He finished T5 at Scottsdale last week, posting 68-64-67 in his last three rounds. When he’s on his game he has the mettle to mix it with anyone and he’s showing signs that he’s getting back in the groove. He’s on point with his putter at the moment, and has good general GIR stats. If Kooch starts well, then he’s the type of player who remains consistent despite mounting pressure. StanJames are paying six places, so we’ll have a nibble at 28/1.*
Speaking of consistency, the 33-year-old Gary Woodland seems to have a far more solid mental approach to the game than before, which is evident in his results. He won last week at the Waste Management, was T12 at the Farmers, T7 at the Sony Open and T4 at the QBE Shootout. There’s nothing to suggest he cannot carry-on in that trajectory, and at 25/1 we’ll back the Woodland Express!*
Lastly, we’ll going deep in our quest for a long-shoot outsider. The 31-year-old local-(ish) lad Brandon Harkins ticks enough boxes for us to have a speculative each-way punt at 150/1. He won the Monterey Open and has shot 65 here in the past. Born in Layfayette, he enjoys playing in California. He missed the cut last week at the Waste Management, but finished T12 and T8 in the Farmers and CareerBuilder respectively. He need to bring his A+ game, without doubt, and we understand he’s a left-field shout, for sure, but what’s the phrase? You’ve got to speculate to accumulate?
Whomever you decide to back, don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@stanjames) as we mark your card with all the latest updates: it's just like being on the fairway yourself!
Please do bet responsibly, and the best of luck!
- 2017 - Jordan Spieth -19
- 2016 - Vaughn Taylor -17
- 2015 - Brandt Snedeker -22
- 2014 - Jimmy Walker -11
- 2013 - Brandt Snedeker -19
Whoever you're backing, don't forget StanJames are offering our famous ACCA Insurance on the ISPS / AT& T Pebble Beach
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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