DRAFTKINGS PGA: Pebble Beach Pro-Am Feb. 12-15 Lineup Picks
This week the PGA tour heads to beautiful Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event.
Unlike most events, this Pro-Am event means every tour pro is paired with an amateur to play with for the first three rounds. As a result of the added players, the event is also played over three different courses: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula. Of the three courses, Spyglass Hill is generally regarded as the toughest with Pebble and Monterey being much easier for scoring.
The other large difference in this event is that the cut format is quite different. Every player and their amateur gets to play three rounds of golf (once at every course) but only the top 60 and ties will move onto the final round held at Pebble Beach.
For scoring purposes, our goal remains the same. DraftKings lineups features 6 player rosters and those who get all 6 players through all four rounds will have a large advantage over the field. Unlike last week where driving distance and power off the tee was of primary importance, the courses this week are much shorter and a mix of local knowledge, good putting and the ability to score (lots of birdies) will be key.
To help me narrow down my picks this week I’ve looked at birdie average, overall putting statistics and recent course form at this event—with added attention given to those players who have performed well at other Pro-am events.
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DraftKings PGA Picks: Pebble Beach Pro Am
Top Shelf (over 10k)
Jimmy Walker (17,400): Even though I hate his price, it’s pretty much impossible for me to leave Jimmy Walker out of my choices this week. Walker is the defending champion at Pebble and has shown cracking form so far this year with a win already in Hawaii and another near miss last week at Torrey Pines. Walker’s history at this event is fantastic as he has numerous top-tens here to go with his win last year. Walker is very expensive compared to the rest of the field, but I think there is still enough value below him—in what is an overall weak field this week—to create decent lineups around him.
Jordan Spieth (13,200): Given the monstrous difference in price between Walker and Spieth, Spieth is de facto best value pick from the top tier of players. Spieth has already played twice here in his very young career but finished in the top 30 in 2013 and the top 5 last year (2014). Spieth ranked 6th on tour in birdie average last year making him a prime candidate to take home the overall win this week and one of our best overall plays.
Ryan Palmer (10,000): Ryan Palmer makes the perfect upper tier gpp play this week as he comes into this event playing great golf but with not such a flashy record at this event as some of the other favorites. Palmer already ranks 6th in birdie average on the young season and ranked 9th overall last year. I expect him to be lower owned than most of the picks in this range and like him a lot for gpp purposes for the upside and savings he brings to the table.
2nd Tier (8k-9900)
J.B. Holmes (8,600): Normally I would not have earmarked Holmes for use at this event given his propensity for long-drives and not so great short game. However, Holmes showed some great prowess on the greens at Torrey Pines last week and his move to a new putter may have been the key to his strong finish. Holmes has a very decent record at Pebble and could follow the path of other notorious long drivers, such as Dustin Johnson, who have had success here. I like Holmes for his price this week as he should be hungry after his near miss the week prior.
Kevin Na (8,300): Kevin Na fits into almost all the statistical categories we are looking at this week. Na is a great putter who makes a lot of birdies and has a great record of finishes at this event. Na finished 22nd at Pebble in 2013 and then 4th last year. Last year he finished in the top 40 in both total putting and birdie average. Na is one of my favorite plays this week under 9k on Draftkings and he will have a great chance of paying off for you if you choose to use him.
Jason Kokrak (8,200): Kokrak is another long driver of the golf ball who has had very good success at Pebble over the past few years. Kokrak is a very solid tee to green player who kills the ball off the tee but also ranks top 40 in both strokes gained putting and birdie average this year too. His success at this event coupled with his decent recent play makes me like him as an outside choice to win this week.
3rd Tier (6k to 7900)
Spencer Levin (7500): Before missing the cut at this event last year, Levin had made four consecutive cuts in his last four visits to Pebble, which included a 9th and a 4th place finish. Levin has really found his game again after a bad 2014 and his record at Pebble, coupled with his recent strong play, makes him a good bet for your teams this week. He’s a streaky player but one that could pay off with a high finish at a course that plays to his strengths.
Michael Thompson (6800): Thompson is not a huge driver of the ball but someone who makes his living with his putter. He ranks 22nd in birdie average and 19th in strokes gained putting. In short, he can roll the rock and score when he is on, a perfect combo for this week. Thompson has improved at this event every time he’s played here with his best finish being a top 20 result last year. I really like the fact he played so well on a course that doesn’t suit his game last week and think he offers good upside for his price.
James Hahn (6300): Hahn’s had a remarkably solid start to the year and offers you great savings as far as price goes. Hahn’s reason for being included in my picks stems from the fact he has had some of his best results at the Pro-am events on tour, and the nature of the Pro-ams likely suit his laid back style. Hahn was 3rd here in 2013 and has fared well at the Humana Pro-am as well. He’s now made 4 cuts in a row and played remarkably solid at a tough test last week. I think he’s a great value pick to make the cut at his price.
Bottom Feeders (6k and under):
Michael Putnum (5900): Putnam is being included here for one reason only, he makes cuts. Putnam plays a lot of events and even though he lacks many high finishes he has an excellent record of making the cut and getting four rounds of play in. Putnam comes into Pebble off the back of a rare missed cut which is not necessarily a bad thing since it has dropped his price down. In the 2014 PGA season Putnam never once missed two cuts in a row and in three trips to Pebble he’s made the cut all three times.
Blayne Barber (5400): Barber is an up and coming player who played last season on the Web.com tour. Barber ranked very high last season in birdie average and putting and has a game I think sets up nicely for this week. Barber’s been very consistent so far in his PGA tour career missing only one cut—last week at the tough Farmer’s Open. I think this week sets up much better for Barber who made the cut at the Humana, the other large Pro-am on tour.
Brice Garnett (4800): Garnett is another consistent golfer who sets up much better for this week than he did the previous at the tough Torrey Pines course. Even though he comes into Pebble having missed his past two cuts, Garnett has not missed more than two cuts in a row in his PGA career. He finished a solid top 20 here last year and is a solid bet to make the cut. There’s simply not many players under Garnett’s price who offer the same consistency.
It’s expensive at the top this week on Draftkings and making teams around high priced players like Walker or Spieth will be difficult. Look to supplement your top players with cheaper ones who have a high propensity for playing the weekend and getting in four rounds. The fact the players are playing on three different courses may mean it is harder to predict a winner this week, but also remember you are only missing out on one round if one of your players happens to miss a cut this week (as opposed to the usually two). Good Luck!