Pebble Beach Pro-Am In-Tournament Picks: Look for Merritt, Buckley to Make a Run
AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am In-Tournament Picks: Look for Merritt, Buckley to make a run
- Current Leader: Seamus Power (-16)
- Round 3 Start Time: 11:30 AM E.T.
- Course: Pebble Beach, Monterrey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill
- Purse: $8,700,000
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Predictions
For the last time this year, I write this column amidst a tournament with a three-course rotation. I cannot contain my excitement for this short segment of the PGA Tour schedule to end. This will be the third tournament in a row to feature multiple courses, with at least one of those courses not providing shot-tracker data. I am of course referring to the AT & T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where players rotate the first three days between the iconic Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterrey Peninsula Country Club. The low 60 players and ties will all play their final round at Pebble Beach, the one course that does feature shot-tracking data.
While there is only so much we can gather from Spyglass Hill and Monterrey Peninsula Country Club, we do at least have a somewhat clear picture of how the courses rank in terms of difficulty. Through two rounds, Spyglass Hill has played to a scoring average of 72.067 (+0.067 strokes over par), making it the most difficult of the three courses by over a shot. Spoiler alert, if you are making in-tournament wagers, it's likely best to the play the numbers and avoid those who will be playing Spyglass Hill tomorrow. I am sure this fact is somewhat baked into the odds, but I had a difficult time making a case for any player with Spyglass left on the docket given their current position on the leaderboard and corresponding price.
Monterrey Peninsula and Pebble Beach both played nearly equally difficult, with Pebble yielding a scoring average of 70.535 (-1.465 strokes under par), and Monterrey Peninsula yielding a scoring average of 69.712 (-1.288 strokes under par). While it does not seem like there is a much of a difference in difficulty between these two courses, I would actually prefer my players to have a go at Monterrey Peninsula tomorrow. The reason for this is simple: Pebble Beach features the largest plurality of holes exposed to the wind, and tomorrow is supposed to be the windier than both Thursday and Friday, with gusts reaching up to 10 mph in the early afternoon. For context, conditions have been pretty benign across the first two days, as today's gusts only reached 6 mph. Is there a massive difference between gusts of 6 mph and gusts of 10 mph? Probably not, but small edges like this are always worth accounting for.
A glance at the odds board suggest that Seamus Power is likely to run away with this tournament, and one could argue he already has. After back-to-back rounds of 64, Power sits at 16-under par, a full five shots clear of Andrew Putnam, Tom Hoge, and Adam Svensson. The scariest part is that Power has yet to play Monterrey Peninsula. He can currently be found as high as +110 on DraftKings SportsBook via the OddsChecker golf grid.
There is a very high likelihood that Seamus Power wins this tournament, but if you are a weekly reader of this column you are aware that I cannot endorse a bet on him at +110. There's far too much variance in golf to bet anyone at nearly even money with 36 holes of golf to go, even if they possess a five-stroke lead. This is Power's first 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour, and he has still yet to win a full-field event. We saw Russell Henley lose a five-stroke lead with nine holes to play just a few weeks ago, so my hope is that we can mine some value with a few players that are in striking distance.
My first endorsement would be Troy Merritt, who can be found as high as 35/1 on DraftKings sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid. Merritt fired an opening round 68 at Spyglass Hill, and backed it up with a 67 today at Pebble Beach to sit at nine-under par. The first thing that Merritt has going for him is that he has yet to play Monterrey Peninsula Country Club. Normally known for his ability to catch a hot flat-stick, Merritt gained a robust 1.82 strokes on approach today at Pebble Beach. The two-time PGA Tour winner is no stranger to success on the Monterrey Peninsula, as he came into this week with three consecutive top-25 finishes at this event. There are seven players at nine-under par, and over a large sample size, Merritt is the best putter of this pack. When trying to track down a player with a seven-stroke advantage, I feel most comfortable backing a player I know is capable of going nuclear on the greens. Merritt has seen significant putting spikes three times in his last eleven starts. Two out of those three came on Poa greens, which has also historically been his best surface. I'll hope that Merritt can catch fire again and put together a low one at Monterrey Peninsula.
Another player at nine-under par that I firmly believe is capable of making a run over the weekend is Hayden Buckley, who can be found as high as 46/1 on FanDuel sportsbook via the OddsChecker golf grid. Buckley is another player who will be taking on Monterrey Peninsula Country Club tomorrow, and I was thoroughly impressed with his eight-under par 64 today at Pebble Beach, which saw him gain 0.83 strokes off the tee and 1.78 strokes on approach. My biggest concern with Buckley is that it is incredibly difficult to follow up a really low round with another one, but the fact that he now gets a crack at the easiest course leads me to believe he can still improve his position on the leaderboard. Unlike Troy Merrit, there is an element of unknown with Hayden Buckley. Merritt has been competing on Tour for over a decade. At this point, we know exactly who he is as a golfer. Buckley, on the other hand, is a completely undeveloped product. This tournament is his only his 12th start ever on the PGA Tour. Buckley might turn out to be just another guy, or we could look back in a few months and be shocked that a player of his caliber was so mis-priced. I'm not sure how good Hayden Buckley is, but a fourth at the Sanderson, an eighth at the Shriners, and a 12th at the Sony Open, might be the most impressive resume of all the rookies. I'll gladly take my chances with Hayden Buckley at an appealing number, and hope that Power comes back to the pack.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Predictions
- Troy Merritt @ +3500 DraftKings (Bet 100 to win $3,500)
- Hayden Buckley @ +4600 FanDuel (Bet 100 to win $4,600)
Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.