AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament Matchups: Sticking With Lefty
Rob Schumacher, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Phil Mickelson
With three guaranteed rounds around the Monterey Peninsula, expect some extremely close matchup bets that won’t be determined until Sunday afternoon.
I’ve identified three of them that should have some value, taking players with experience and/or form who can each be had at even-money or better.
Here are my three tournament matchups for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am:
Phil Mickelson over Matt Kuchar (Even)
No, it wasn’t a strong performance for Mickelson last week, who was working on a local driving range not long after missing the Waste Management Phoenix Open cut on Friday afternoon.
But I do love the fact that he immediately went back to work in search of finding his swing for this one. For a guy who’s won at Pebble four times (and should’ve won a fifth in 2016), it’s hard to believe he’ll post back-to-back stinkers. Meanwhile, you could almost see the magic evaporating off Kuchar’s clubs down the stretch in Phoenix.
After getting himself into contention for a third title this season, he lost some mojo in a hurry. And this doesn’t feel like the place he’d regain it: Following a six-year absence at this event, he’s finished MC-62 the last two years.
Chez Reavie over Paul Casey (Even)
Already solidifying his place on the PGA Tour’s West Coast All-Star team, Reavie chases last week’s T-4 with a return trip to a trio of courses on which he finished T-2 a year ago.
With recent rain turning these tracks soggy, this could turn into target golf – good news for a guy who ranks 10th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained on approach shots.
Like Kuchar, Casey is one of those names you see in this week’s field and wonder, “Does he usually play here?” Well, he did last year, finishing in a share of eighth place, but that was his first trip in more than a decade. He’s obviously good enough to play well anyplace, anytime, yet this matchup calls for a fade against the hotter player.
Michael Thompson over Talor Gooch (+110)
I’ll admit it: I didn’t see a Thompson resurgence coming after he posted just a single top-10 on the PGA Tour from mid-2015 through the end of last year. Three events into 2019, though, he’s compiled results of 69-9-13, thanks largely in part to a putter that’s always been a bit dangerous.
This matchup is essentially a battle of the early-year upticks, but it’s worth pondering what to expect from Gooch moving forward. Were his two top-five results the outliers or were the missed cuts that sandwiched them?
I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Gooch on the leaderboard, but I do think he’ll find it difficult to replicate that early success. At plus-money, I like Thompson in this one.