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BlogWho will win at Pebble on Sunday

AT&T Pebble Beach

February 12 – 15, 2015

Pebble Beach G.L.

Pebble Beach, Ca.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,816

Purse: $6.8 million

with $1,224,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jimmy Walker

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Who will win on Sunday?

What a spectacular week it’s been at Pebble Beach.  We have heard and seen the stories of poor weather at Pebble we have even seen years in which the weather was good.  But nothing could compare to this year, I guess this is all part of the great drought in California to have such great weather on the Monterey Peninsula.  We have seen events at Pebble Beach that saw good weather, but this year was not only sunny and bright, but the wind that plays havoc most of the time at Pebble never materialized this week.

With the lack of wind, it has brought on record scores and if you see the all-time low 72 hole scores at Pebble you can see this will probably be broken tomorrow.  All Jim Furyk has to do is shot 69 on Sunday to break the record.  Many will say that 69 is not easy at a course like Pebble, but that isn’t true.  With the lack of wind, Pebble becomes very vulnerable as we can see it’s scoring average being 70.192 for the week.  I am a bit worried, Furyk, who leads by a shot over Matt Jones and Brandt Snedeker, could shoot 69 and not win.  On Saturday Furyk and Marcel Siem shot 63, and we can see that shot again on Sunday.

So what’s the deal with Furyk, last time we heard he was struggling with a sore back?  That’s true, in the first week of December Furyk had some pain in his back and decided not to play in Tiger’s Hero Challenge.  Furyk hasn’t seen competitive golf since the Ryder Cup, and his last tournament round was exactly four months ago.  Furyk started getting ready last week, and his practice sessions weren’t very good, but you would never know with his rounds of 64-70-63 this week.  Furyk may be 44, but he seems to still show improvement in his game.  For instance, going back to last year’s British Open, this is his ninth event and in 35 rounds he has shot under par in 32 if those rounds and in the last nine events he is 98 under par.

Could Furyk be the best player who hasn’t won in the last four years?  Absolutely, since winning the Tour Championship in 2010, Furyk has played in 97 events.  He has been a runner-up seven times, been in the top-ten 30 times and earned $14.3 million dollars.

So why hasn’t Furyk won?  That’s a very good question, in his 21-year career on the PGA Tour Furyk has gone into the final round with the lead or co-lead 24 times.  Of those, he has converted nine of them into wins but since winning the 2010 Tour Championship he is 0 for 8 in converting the third round lead.  Going a step further to show how much Furyk has been in contention, look at this chart of Furyk with the lead or within five of the lead.  Since winning the 2010 Tour Championship Furyk has been on this list 21 times, a quarter of his starts so it just shows that Furyk always is knocking on the door.

So the big question, will his bad run of luck continue?  That’s a loaded question, it’s very easy to say yes because he just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to win in the clutch.  Even in the Ryder Cup, Furyk seemed to lack that killer instinct that many think is lacking.  Yes, he has won 16 times including a U.S. Open and a FedEx Cup title.  This list should be double, that’s how good of a career he has had.  Let’s look at it in another way, Furyk is playing in his 20th AT&T and has come close to winning it in 1997, ’98, 2003 and 2007 so maybe it will be his time.

So who does Furyk have to worry about the most on Sunday?  A lot of folks.  First look at Brandt Snedeker, he has a great record at Pebble.  In 2013, he won it by shooting a final round 65, so he knows how to do it.  For Snedeker 2014 was a very lean, year to the point that over the summer he switched coaches from Todd Anderson to Butch Harmon.  So this week is showing off that the decision was good in working with Butch. You also have to like Matt Jones.  Reason his putting, it’s been great and it showed in his round on Saturday when he made all his putts inside 8 feet.  When Jones won at the Shell Houston Open last year, he did it with some great putting, making 61 of 62 putts inside ten feet.  If he does that on Sunday he could be very hard to beat.

Could someone steal this event?  Absolutely, we have seen some low scoring at Pebble and with no wind and sunny skies someone could shoot 61 or 62.  Davis Love did it in 2001 when he shot a final round 63 to win.  Tiger Woods in 2000 and Phil Mickelson in 2012 shot 64 and won, Brandt Snedeker shot 65 in 2013 so there could be a big comeback.

So let’s be real, what will it take for Furyk to win?  Have to think at least a 68, could be 67.  One thing in his favor, there are only four guys within four of Furyk, four guys five shots back and seven guys six shots back.  If Furyk shots 68 that only leaves Jones, Snedeker, and Nick Watney with any chance.  So the bottom line, Furyk needs to win it on Sunday.

Last week’s winner Jason Day and Jordan Spieth are at 12 under, six back.  Do they have a chance?  But again it’s going to take either a 62 or at worst 63.  So the smart money says it’s in the hands of Furyk.

Below is a list of the top-16 players on the leader board going to 12 under which is six shots back of Jim Furyk.

Who’s hot and who isn’t this week:

Of the top-16 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the AT&T Pebble Beach

Player Farmers Insurance Malaysian Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Humana Challenge Qatar Masters Sony Open Abu Dhabi Hyundai T of C South African Nedbank
Jason Day
(214 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(84 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nick Watney
(69 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Shane Lowry
(68 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 11
(13)
Brandt Snedeker
(64.33 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Alex Prugh
(63.33 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Pat Perez
(59.33 pts)
74
(0)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matt Jones
(32 pts)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP
Brian Stuard
(26.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-16 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the AT&T Pebble Beach

Player Farmers Insurance Malaysian Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Humana Challenge Qatar Masters Sony Open Abu Dhabi Hyundai T of C South African Nedbank
Jon Curran
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charlie Beljan
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Chappell
(10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marcel Siem
(10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
Andres Gonzales
(16.33 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brian Stuard
(26.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Very simple, Jim Furyk still needs a good final round.  He goes out and shot 71, 72 he will be beaten.  If he shots 69 or lower he will be in the driver seat.  In his 19 visits to Pebble he has shot 69 in the final round three times, the last in 2013.  The question will be can he tack on a good final round after a great 63 on Saturday?  The big question will be if those little demons again pop up and prevent Furyk from winning.  He has had many chances in the last four years; this is just another of them.  I think that Furyk is older and wiser; he knows that this is the sunset of his career.  He would love to win finally at Pebble; he would love to win another major.  Have to think Furyk would love to end his career with 20 wins, that figure is the bookmark of a really great career.  He can start off getting close to that with a great round on Sunday.

 

Who to watch for at the AT&T Pebble Beach

Best Bet:

Jim Furyk

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
leads by 1 T35 T30 T40 CUT T35 T33 T14 T6 T27 T39 T5

It’s in his hands, 68 or better and he is a winner. He has played well at Pebble, he knows the course and he is a Hall of Famer so you would think that he can do the deed on Sunday. Forget the past and those other slips, 2015 is a brand new year and he can start off on the right foot.

Best of the rest:

Brandt Snedeker

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2 (1 SB) CUT Win CUT T21 CUT T58 T36

He shot 65 and won this event in 2013, could lightning strike twice? If Furyk doesn’t do the deed Snedeker will be there to pass him up and win this again

Matt Jones

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2 (1 SB) T45 T30 CUT T15 T10 T55 T61

Dangerous guy with the putter, if he does what he did at the Shell Houston Open, including those incredible chip-ins on the final hole nobody will beat him. The reality is he hasn’t played well since Houston, may show on Sunday.

Solid contenders

Nick Watney

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
4 (2 SB) CUT CUT T40 T6 T27 T22 T58 T42 T7 T65 CUT

Fighting hard to regain his lost game, Watney could surprise a lot of folks but it will take a 65 to do it.

Pat Perez

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T6 (5 SB) T7 T50 T58 CUT T35 T39 T24 T57 T14 CUT T47

One of those you least expect, he came close to winning here 14 years ago so Pebble owes him one.

Long shots that could come through:

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10 (6 SB) T64 6 T46 T14 6

Played great golf the last couple of weeks, just wondering if he has that one 63 left in the bag?

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10 (6 SB) T4 T22

Another looking for that low score, he could do it and steal this event

Alex Prugh

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T10 (6 SB) CUT T21 T27

Put together a great final round last week, can he go low on Sunday?

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T17 (7 SB) T2 CUT T5 T55 Win Win T7

Know he is seven back but he is very explosive and if I was to choose one person to shot 62 at Pebble, it would be Dustin.

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