The Back 9: 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Picks

Francesco Molinari of Italy plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 15, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Last week on the PGA Tour, Brooks Koepka (50-1) returned to his winning ways, claiming victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Brooks used a late Sunday charge to shoot 19-under on the week and beat out Xander Schauffele and Kyoung-Hoon Lee, who both shot 18-under. It was only a matter of time before Koepka, one of the world’s best players, returned to form. It just so happened to be at the venue where he secured his first-ever PGA Tour win. How poetic. As we say goodbye to the Waste Management, one of the Tour’s most beloved tournaments, we look forward to what’s next at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The Course(s):

The AT&T Pebble Pro-Am is typically played on a rotation of three courses. This year we will see three major changes to the tournament format: first, because of Covid concerns, the tournament is not a Pro-Am; second, the tournament will only be played on two courses, Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill; and third, the cut will be made after 36 holes instead of 54. Both Pebble and Spyglass Hill are par-72’s that measure in at around 7,000 yards and have Poa annua greens. Due to their short length, both courses allow for shorter hitters to compete here. We will also be on the lookout for players who can handle the wind, as the coastal courses are often subject to strong ocean gusts. Now, let’s get into the picks.

Outrights:

Kevin Streelman of the United States lines up a putt on the 17th green during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 28, 2020 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Franceso Molinari (22-1)

After Dustin Johnson’s withdrawal from the tournament earlier in the week, a bunch of the top contenders saw their odds slashed. One, however, still has my attention. After a relatively dreadful 2020 campaign, Molinari has regained a bit of form, finishing inside the top ten at both the American Express and Torrey Pines. While he’s never played this event before, Pebble is often referred to as a shorter Torrey Pines. Because of both the weak field and Molinari’s pedigree, I’ll take a shot on him at 22-1.

Kevin Streelman (35-1)

Perhaps the ultimate course horse, Kevin Streelman has finished inside the top twenty at this event the past five years, including three top ten’s in his last three trips. Course record aside, Streelman is playing some great golf, having just finished 22nd at the Waste Management where he gained 4.9 strokes on his approach per Fantasynational.com. Maybe it’s too good to be true, but with arguably the weakest field this tournament has ever seen, Streelman feels like an auto bet this week.

Peter Malnati (66-1)

The so-called “happiest guy on tour” always seems to pop-up on the leaderboard at shorter courses. His game lends itself to success at smaller venues as he’s become synonymous with stellar iron play and spectacular putting. Malnati also seems to be trending in the right direction after recording a tenth-place finish at the Farmers and a personal best, eleventh-place, finish at this event last year. It seems like he’s due every week, so why should our expectations be any different this week?

Longshot/Cheek of the Week:

Branden Grace of South Africa celebrates on the 18th green after winning the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club on January 30, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Branden Grace (80-1)

I want to start this section by first sending my condolences to Branden Grace and his family. Grace recently lost his father a few weeks back and has been sidelined because of it. This will mark his first event back on Tour since his loss. I could go into detail on why I like Grace at this course, but instead I’ll just leave it at this – some things are just bigger than sports. I couldn’t think of a more meaningful time for Grace to get his second Tour win. Even if you don’t bet him, we should all be Grace fans this week.

All PGA odds taken from BetMGM Sportsbook

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