Written by: Ian Robins
Review of Last Week:
Last weekend turned in a fantastic tournament and a great overall result for us despite not having an outright winner. Luke List took the championship in a playoff over Will Zalatoris. List ends a very long winless streak on the PGA Tour. List was a strong player and has been in great form, used one of his best putting days to take home the trophy. World number 1, Jon Rahm finished tied for 3rd, he struggled to make putts when they mattered most over the last 2 rounds and ultimately fell short. Another strong performance to take away was Taylor Pendrith. The rookie Canadien finished inside the top 20 and continued a strong run on the tour. He easily cashed his top Canadien ticket. Another strong performer from one of our favorites, Aaron Rai, found himself in the final group in the final round and continues a strong run.
Photo Credit: Pebble Beach Golf Course
The course stays in California and moves to historic Pebble Beach. This is a very unique tournament set up, played on 3 different courses along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and played as a Pro Am event. We will see 3 courses, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey. Each course is very short, with very small greens. The Championship round on Sunday will be played at Pebble Beach. The biggest defense for this course will be wind, so the forecast on different days will be telling. This will also be played as a Pro Am, where each golfer will be matched with an amauer, and typically at this tournament it is a celebrity or athlete. This causes longer rounds and could cause some impatience from some players. This is a big reason some of the top names are not in the field. As a course, Pebble Beach is known for a couple things, very short, very small greens, and forced landing areas off the tee. This means you need to be accurate with your second shot, good as a scrambler and a good putter.
There is a large separation between the top two players and the rest of the field in terms of current form and world ranking. Patrick Cantlay leads the field and is priced accordingly. Cantlay does his best work in California and is the best player in this field. He has played extremely well at Pebble in the past and a deserved favorite. He will be a pass pre-tourney play for me but definitely a play in DFS. Defending champ, Daniel Berger is the other player off the top and class player in the field. It makes sense that he is priced at the top as defending champion and very strong in all the metrics. The big concern from Berger is he was dealing with a back injury at the end of last week. Jordan SPieth is the player we are going to take a shot with in this range. This is purely a numbers play for the talented Speith. He is a former champion here, one of the top 3 players in the field, but is struggling with his form. If he finds some form, he is priced higher than he is for some majors, too much to not jump on.
(Image credit: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images)
The most popular play of the week will be Maverick McNealy. Maverick grew up on Pebble Beach, he was top 5 the last two years and has been in tremendous form during the California swing. He will likely be the highest owned player in Draft Kings, but it should be warranted. The other player I will be looking at in the middle range is Brian Harman. Harman is a very talented short game player and a player that works well on coastal, short courses. He fits a similar profile to former champions, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth. Harman finished inside the top 5 in the last time out and good enough to win.
Maverick McNealy tees off on the PGA Tour | PGA Tour photo by Stan Badz
In this category, I will just highlight some of our favorite players that we will continue to back in the young PGA season. Aaron Rai continues a strong run through the PGA tour and is still underpriced. This course fits his strengths much better, look for Rai to be strong again. Christiaan Bezendenhout is another favorite who is a top putter, top scrambler, and top wedge player. Sahith Theegela continues to play extremely well as he works to earn a PGA Tour card. Sahith is from California and very talented. We will continue to be with him. Finally, my favorite of these longshots is Taylor Pendrith. Fresh off a top 20, Pendrith continues his great play. Despite being a long hitter, I will look for him to duplicate his exceptional runner up performance at Bermuda, which is a short coastal course to translate his top play to Pebble.