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BlogWho will win at Pebble on Sunday

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

February 6 – 9, 2014

Pebble Beach G.L.

Pebble Beach, Ca.

Par: 72 / Yardage:6,816

Purse: $6.6 Million

with $1,188,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Brandt Snedeker

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know for Sunday’s final round at Pebble:

So what about this weather?

  • It’s really amazing, the Monterey Peninsula and all of California have not had any rain all year, but bring a big golf tournament to town and look what happens.  The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am has a reputation of always bringing rain, in the good old days of the old Bing Crosby pro-am it always seem to be plagued with nasty weather, so bad they called it “Crosby Weather”.  One year, 1996 it was so bad that they couldn’t get the tournament going and it was cancelled.  The next year rain fell and they couldn’t get the tournament finished until August, yes August.  Since 1997 three AT&T’s have only been played at 54 holes, the last in 2009 which is the last time this event had any weather delays.

So what happened, in my preview I said the weather was suppose to be good?  

  • On Monday the weather forecast was for a near perfect week but things changed late Tuesday with a phenomena called a “atmospheric river” or “the Pineapple Express” in which patterns changed bringing a concentrated band of moisture with rain and wind on Friday.  It shocked a lot of forecasters but was a big relief to city, county and state officials who were in the middle of formulating long term drought plans.  It’s a shame, it’s a very small amount of rain in the scheme of things for a area that needs a lot more but was enough to play havoc on this year’s AT&T.

So what’s the forecast for Sunday?

  • The same folks that didn’t see this problem are calling for a poor day on Sunday with a lot of rain and some winds.  But in looking at some of the radar maps, they may be wrong, it looks to me like the worst will be over by noon with the sun popping up for the afternoon.

So who is leading?

  • The good news is most of the players completed the third round, but there are still 12 players that need to finish up early on Sunday before the final round is started.  No matter what Jimmy Walker will lead by at least six shots at 13 under going into the final round after shooting 66 at Pebble, 69 at Spyglass and 67 at Monterey Peninsula.  Over the course of 54 holes Walker has only made one bogey all week, that coming on Saturday on the 5th hole.
  • In second place at 7 under is Hunter Mahan and Hunter Mahan, Wilkinson shot 67-72-69 while Mahan shot 68-68-72.  In fourth place at 6 under is Richard H. Lee who had rounds of 65-72-72.

So what did the top-three have in common?

  • In our preview we said how much luck of the draw plays an important role in this tournament and you can see it with the leaders, the top-three played on Thursday, which was a calm day at Pebble Beach, then played at Spyglass on Friday, which produced a lot of wind and rain while on Saturday it was really blowing.  So for Walker, Wilkinson and Mahan they played on Friday starting on the 10th tee at Spyglass. So the three had the advantage of playing inbetween thick trees which protected them from the winds that plagued those playing at Pebble and Monterey Peninsula.  The same with Saturday, the three were lucky to be on the tree protected holes of Monterey Peninsula at the height of the wind and by the time they got to the ocean holes the wind had subsided.  So we can say that Walker, Mahan and Wilkinson got the best of the pairings.

So who got the worst?

  • Those that played at Spyglass on Thursday, followed by Monterey Peninsula on Friday and Pebble on Saturday.  Look at the players in the top-eleven that had to play at Pebble on Saturday.  The closets to Walker is Blake Adams and Ryan Palmer who are 8 back, they shot 72 on Saturday at Pebble.  Those T11th, 9 back, Dustin Johnson shot 70 the best round on Saturday at Pebble.  Michael Thompson shot 72 and Brendon Todd shot 73.  Also at 4 under that played at Pebble was Jordan Spieth.  Now when CBS signed off at 6PM (east coast time), Spieth just made bogey at 6 and at 8 under was just three back of Walker who was at 11 under.  Walker played his back nine at Monterey Peninsula at 2 under while Spieth had to play the tough ocean holes of Pebble in the wind.  He bogeyed 8, then double bogeyed 9, bogeyed 13 and 14 before ending his day with a birdie at 15.  But the damage was done, Spieth comes back on Sunday with three holes to play at Pebble and is nine shots back of Walker with no chance at winning.

So do we just give the trophy to Walker?

  • Just about, he’s had a great year and I can’t see him blowing a 6 shot lead.  Of course anything can happen, even in the wind and Walker was the first to amount that six times he has played the AT&T he has never encountered bad weather at Pebble.  So who knows, maybe if the weather is not that great he could have a problem.  Remember the U.S. Open in 2010 at Pebble when Dustin Johnson led by three.  He had won the AT&T that year and in 2009 and many thought that he would have a walk in the park.  On a windy afternoon Johnson had problems starting on the second hole making a triple bogey, he double three and bogey four and was out of it.  He went on to shot 82 and finished T8th.
  • To show you how anything can happen in the final round, the first AT&T I ever attended was in 1976.  Jack Nicklaus went into the final round with a one shot lead.  I remember going off to dinner in Carmel and everyone was wondering why they just didn’t give Nicklaus the trophy with his great record at Pebble.  On Sunday Nicklaus got off to a terrible start, shot 82 his highest round with the third round lead and finished T18th 10 shots back of Ben Crenshaw.  I will never forget after the round, Nicklaus did his interviews and took a cart to the 17th tee where he was to meet a helicopter to take him to San Francisco to catch a flight to Japan.  It was just outside of the ABC trucks, I was working for them that week and I got to talk with Nicklaus.  He great, I couldn’t believe he was so nice for a man who just shot 82 to blow a tournament but even with the poor final round he was great to the half dozen of us that joined him for the wait for the copter to come.  He told us “that’s why you play 72 holes, you don’t win a tournament based on 54 holes, you have to finish it off.”  How right he was.

So who can make life tough for Walker in the final round?

  • You have to think that if it’s just raining and no wind, someone could shot a 63 on Thursday.  I have to think that’s on the minds of Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan.  They along with Kevin Na and Pat Perez could do that, if they post a number it could make things tough on Walker.  Still I think if Walker can cruise around in 70 it’s his to win.

Below is a list of the top-17 players on the leader board going to 3 under showing how they have done of late to see who has played the best:

 

Of the top-17 on the leaderboard, who’s playing the best:

Player Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of Champions
Pat Perez
(172.33 pts)
11
(39)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(102 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(97.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T21
(19.33)
Jordan Spieth
(91 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
Hunter Mahan
(83 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brendon Todd
(73 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(69.67 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(65.67 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Michael Thompson
(47 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(22.67)
Dustin Johnson
(40 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
Robert Garrigus
(15.33 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brice Garnett
(9.33 pts)
DNP DNP T75
(0)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP
Blake Adams
(0 pts)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not playing good coming into this week:

Player Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of Champions
Richard H. Lee
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Renner
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Tim Wilkinson
(-14 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(-3.67 pts)
DNP DNP T47
(3)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Blake Adams
(0 pts)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

  • The PGA Tour forecast is for Mostly cloudy with scattered showers possible in the morning. A steady light rain is forecast in the afternoon.
  • Chance of rain is 80%.
  • Total rainfall is expected around a quarter inch.
  • Low: 55F  High: 60F

I think the worst will be in the morning but we will have to wait to see.

  • As for Jimmy Walker both of his wins came when he was behind going into the final round.
  • A better chart since Walker has never had a third shot lead, look at this when Walker was within five of the leaders.
  • The last three years has been pretty good, on a hole he is ok when he has been in contention so I have to think that he will do the job on Sunday.
  • As for the others, I think Walker will worry about Mahan and Phil Mickelson, if any of the two get going early they could put pressure on him.  The first seven holes are very scoreable, I could see someone playing them in three or four under.  Only problem, you have to play the next three holes which are dubbed the “Cliffs of Doom” and anything can happen on them, just ask Jordan Spieth who saw the worst part of these holes today.

Who should win at Pebble on Sunday:

Best Bet:

Jimmy Walker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T3 T9 T9 CUT T55 CUT

Has built up a lot of experience in the last couple of months, he first has a great record in this event and should know what to do on Sunday, I can’t see him blowing this. Sorry I can’t see anyone else winning this.

Who could shot a final round 63 to put the pressure on Walker:

Hunter Mahan

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T16 T15 2 T64 T69 CUT T16 T14 T39 CUT

Playing great right now, remember he shot a pair of 65s to finish Phoenix last week, I can see him doing a 63. Remember in 2011, he finished 2nd shooting a final round 66, those conditions were a lot tougher.

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T60 Win T9 T8 T55 CUT Win T38 Win 3 64 CUT

A four time winner, he knows what it takes to win. His last win in 2012 he shot 64 in the final round, playing with Tiger so he knows what it takes. If that’s not enough Phil shot 66 in the final round in his 2007 victory. We will know early, if he is three under for the day when CBS signs on at 3pm, watch out for him.

Guys I can’t see doing the deed on Sunday:

Tim Wilkinson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT

Only played this event once and missed the cut. In his career only played in 82 events and only has five top-tens, the last back in 2009. I can see him as a deer looking into the headlights.

Richard H. Lee

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T12 T15

This is his first AT&T Pebble so I can’t see him doing it. In 56 tournaments his career round is 65, that won’t do the deed on Sunday so I think he is just looking for a top-three and a big payday.

Blake Adams

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T10

This is his 100th PGA Tour start, he has experienced a final round in the lead at the Byron Nelson in 2010 but still it’s been a while since he was last in this position. Another player I can’t see doing it.

Could they go low enough to be a factor:

Pat Perez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T50 T58 CUT T35 T39 T24 T57 T14 CUT T47 2

Does he have the chops to shot a final round 63? Yes he can, but he has never broken 70 in eight final rounds at the AT&T. Still I can see him win this event, he should of won in 2002 and folded down the stretch, he is owned one.

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T5 T55 Win Win T7

Did shot a tough 70 under poor conditions at Pebble on Saturday, still he has no track record for a great final round at Pebble so I can’t see it happening with him.

Jordan Speith

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

I can’t see him doing it, he still has the experience of knowing how tough Pebble can be in the wind so look for good things in the future, not this year.

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