Another spectacular course plays host on the PGA Tour this week as the iconic Pebble Beach takes centre stage for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The field isn’t quite as stacked as we’ve seen in previous weeks, but we’ve still got plenty of quality with Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jordan Spieth among those teeing up in California.
Here’s our preview ahead of Thursday’s opening round as we seek a third winning tip in a row!
Pebble Beach: South African chanced to return to his best
Spieth is the obvious one given his superb record in this tournament which has seen him finish inside the top-10 six times in 10 starts, including a win in 2017. He was second last year too, so it’s an event he usually goes very well in. He’s been out of form for a while though, and looks opposable based on that at 10/1.
This is a tournament that has gone to outsiders in the past, so it’s well worth having a swing at a couple at bigger prices and this week’s headline selection is Erik van Rooyen at 66/1. The South African has been in doldrums for a while now and has slipped outside the world’s top 100, though he did miss three months at the back end of 2022.
He didn’t do much in his native country over December, but he looked much more of the player that reached 40th in the world when finishing in a tie for sixth at the American Express on his first start of this year’s PGA Tour this season. He shot a 62 on Sunday – the joint-lowest round of the day – as he achieved his first top 10 on the PGA Tour since the RBC Heritage last April.
Interestingly, he led the field on strokes gained Tee-to-Green over the two rounds on the Stadium Course, so he’s clearly playing pretty solidly – an asset certainly required this week with the last seven winners being an average of eighth in that category.
He’s only played Pebble Beach once but was far from disgraced when 43rd in the 2019 U.S. Open and it’s a course that he should go well at as it’s one that tests all facets of a player’s game, so the fact he ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Total is very encouraging.
Todd gets the nod
The other one to consider is American Brendon Todd at 66/1.
Since a seventh-place finish at the CJ Cup, Todd’s form certainly isn’t anything to write home about, but that’s been said before Todd turns up in this event and it hasn’t made a difference. He has played this event nine times and has three top 25s, with a tie for ninth in 2012 his best result. On all of those decent finishes, he’s come into it on the back of a missed cut, so the fact he missed last time out isn’t a concern.
As we’ve seen in the past, some players can improve hand over fist when they return to a course they have good form at, and Todd certainly falls into that category so he could be worth a closer look.