Gaining Strokes: 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – PGA DFS Picks and Preview

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The 6th event of 2019 takes us to one of the most iconic venues in all of golf – Pebble Beach – for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Ted Potter Jr. is back to defend his improbable victory from a year ago in which he held off the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson to claim a 3-shot victory. This tournament is actually played on 3 different golf courses (Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula) with all golfers playing one round at each before the final round taking place back at Pebble Beach. Do to the fact that everyone is guaranteed 3 rounds this week (barring an unfortunate mid-event WD) the cut will take place Saturday night after 54 holes rather than the traditional 36-hole cut that we see at most PGA Tour events. In addition, another anomaly as far as the cut is concerned is that the Saturday cut will trim the field down to the top 60 players (and ties), making a smaller post-cut field than we normally see on Tour (which generally cuts to the top 70 players, plus ties, for the weekend.) This change, while seemingly minimal, can play heavily into your lineup decisions this week, as it may not be quite as difficult to simply cash in events with a less than perfect 6-of-6 lineup because of the limited post-cut number of holes being played. In my opinion, this event is a little more conducive to GPP play as opposed to cash game play, and at least for me will garner a smaller percentage of my bankroll in general than other tournaments.

As a more traditional golf fan, I find this event to be one of the more aggravating to watch of the season, and I think many Tour players will agree. With every professional being paired with an amateur celebrity for the event – rounds can be miserably long here, sometimes taking 7+ hours to complete. The telecast also proves to be directed more at the casual fan at this event as we will undoubtedly have to listen to Peter Kostis breakdown the driver swing of Larry the Cable Guy or get the all-important update on the status of Ray Romano’s golf game. All while we are trying to track the players in our DFS lineups! By Sunday afternoon we will all be begging for Riviera next week for sure!

But enough about what’s wrong with this tournament – let’s try to focus in on what can make it right for us. For this week’s stats model I’ve pulled six stats that have consistently shown up amongst players that have finished in the Top 10 over the last 6 years. As always, the stats I use are powered by Fantasy National, hands down the best data site available for DFS golf. Here are the stats I’m using this week:

Strokes Gained: Par 4s (30%)

Birdie or Better Gained (25%)

Strokes Gained: Tee To Green (15%)

Strokes Gained: Putting (15%)

Strokes Gained: Approach (10%)

Greens In Regulation Gained (5%)

While stats are extremely important to me in choosing the players I like each week I will use the stats model slightly less this week than information like Course History and Current Form simply because we do not get as accurate information each year from Spyglass Hill and Monterrey Peninsula as we do at Pebble Beach (there is no ShotLink data available from Spyglass and Monterey) so the stats model is a little less reliable here than at most events that are played on only a single course. All that being said, let’s start to get into this week’s field and DFS selections for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am!

Jason Day is a favorite choice among the high-priced options this weekend.

$10,000 Range

The toughest decisions in all of DFS on a weekly basis are often times trying to narrow down the top-end options available and deciding which studs in the field you are going to take a stand on (or against) for the week. Dustin Johnson is the course horse at this event, boasting 7 Top-5 finishes in his last 11 starts here and is coming fresh off of a win in Saudi Arabia last week on the European Tour. As tough as it is to go against him, I’m going to play Jason Day ($10,900 DK, $11,700 FD) this week more heavily than DJ. Day’s course history is nothing to scoff at here either, posting 5 Top-11 finishes in his last 6 starts at this event as well as a 5th place finish two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open. The small greens that all three courses possess at this event require a tremendous short game if you do happen to miss a green in regulation, and few players in the world are more reliable around the greens than Day. In my stats model he is trending in the right direction, ranking 17th in this field over his past 8 rounds and 8th in this field over his last 4 rounds. I’ll take the small price savings with Day over DJ this week up top.

It is seems almost impossible to get away from Matt Kuchar ($10,000 DK, $11,400 FD) these days as well as he has proven to be one of the hottest players in the world right now. Previously known as a cut maker that can’t win, Kuchar has notched two victories already this season and has not placed worse than 23rd in any of his last five starts, including a 4th place finish last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kuchar is the only guy in my stats model to rank in the Top 10 in this field over his past 50, 24, 12, 8 and 4 rounds, making his consistency something that can not be ignored when building cash lineups this week.

If you are looking for a GPP pivot option in this top range, I think Tony Finau ($10,600 DK, $11,200 FD) could be your guy. Coming off a week where he missed the cut in Phoenix I think his ownership will be down this week, making him a good option in those large field GPP events. While Finau’s long-term stats are certainly better than his recent form numbers he does still rank #1 in this field in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds – if he can find some magic with the putter he could be dangerous this week at lower-than-usual ownership.

$9,000 Range

The first guy in this range that I will undoubtedly be playing in my cash game lineups this week is Chez Reavie ($9,000 DK, $10,500 FD). I’m willing to eat the chalk in cash with him this week as he is the perfect combination of all the things I’m looking at – coming off of a runner-up finish last year, he has 2 Top-4s in his last 3 starts on Tour and ranks #1 in my overall stats model over the last 24 rounds in this field. Reavie excels as a long iron player and Par 4 scorer, which I have weighed heavily in my stats model and will serve him well this week, hopefully leading to another great finish. Another viable cash option for me in this range is Patrick Reed ($9,300 DK, $10,700 FD). Reed has only missed 1 cut in his last 17 worldwide starts and has a really good course history at Pebble Beach, making 5 straight cuts, all with Top-30 finishes, before missing the cut last year. 3 straight Top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour to open 2019 make him a good option in the lower end of the $9,000 range.

Paul Casey ($9,100 DK, $11,100 FD) is a guy that should be a great ownership pivot in this $9,000 range this week as well, as he is sandwiched between some of the more popular players ownership-wise. Casey has posted 6 Top-18 finishes in his last 7 worldwide starts, but his one poor event was a missed cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii this year, an event in which many DFS players relied on him to help carry their teams. I feel that his ownership will be down based on that performance despite posting a 2nd place finish in his last start in Singapore two weeks ago.

$8,000 Range

This range is probably my least favorite this week, which is worrisome if you are planning on making cash lineups that include one of the big boys up top. One name that does stand out, but admittedly makes me a little bit nervous, is Sungjae Im ($8,400 DK, $9,300 FD) only because you have to wonder when the 20-year old Web.com Tour rookie’s magic is going to run out. He has picked up right where he left off after a huge season on the Web Tour last year in which he won twice and finished 2nd three times. He has played a ton of golf since securing his PGA Tour card but he has made 8 out of 10 cuts since graduating from the Web Tour, including a 7th place finish last week in Phoenix. His stats check the box also this week, as he ranks 10th in this field over the last 24 rounds, relying heavily on his great Tee To Green (4th in this field) and Par 4 Scoring (14th) numbers. I’ll probably bite the bullet and take my chances with him again this week, but will be a bit more hesitant with him than I have in week’s past.

The sleeper GPP option this week in this range is Shane Lowry ($8,800 DK, $10,000 FD). American golf fans have not seen him play on US soil since missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship last August, but he has kept himself very busy on the European Tour since then. 9 out of 10 made cuts, including a win in Abu Dhabi only two weeks ago to go along with four other Top-14 finishes has him entering this event in sneaky good form. Because most players here have not seen him recently I think he is a great GPP option in this range at Pebble.

$7,000 Range

Lucas Glover ($7,700 DK, $9,600 FD) absolutely crushed a lot of people’s lineups last week, including mine, when he missed his first cut of the 2019 season last week in Phoenix. Prior to that performance he had made 5 straight cuts on the PGA Tour finishing no worse than 17th in any of those events. Last week’s event in Phoenix was the only event so far in 2019 that he lost strokes to the field Tee To Green as well – I willing to chalk that up as an outlier and give him another shot here at Pebble Beach, where he finished 11th in his last start back in 2016. Ryan Palmer ($7,200 DK, $9,100 FD) ranks #12 in my stats model over the last 24 rounds in this field, and with good reason as he has made 4 of his last 5 cuts, finishing 13th or better 3 times in that stretch. While his history at this event is a little rocky (3 missed cuts in his last 6 starts) I feel like he is playing much better now than he has for much of his career. I would be willing to plug him in to a couple of spots this week with confidence that he will be around Sunday.

My GPP Flyer of the Week comes from this range and is Michael Thompson ($7,400 DK, $8,500 FD). His course history is terrible (3 straight missed cuts) but he is coming off of Top-15 finishes in each of his last two starts on Tour and ranks a respectable 26th in my overall stats model over the last 24 rounds. Despite his poor results here in year’s past he has gained strokes putting for 4 consecutive appearances here – now that he is striking the ball much better if he can use some of that knowledge of the greens in tandem with his improved approach game I think he could be a surprise on the leaderboard come Sunday.

$6,000 Range

If you are planning on using Dustin Johnson or Jason Day this week, dipping into this $6,000 range is probably unavoidable. One guy that I feel could be a cash-viable option is Brian Gay ($6,800 DK, $9,600 FD). Coming off of an 8th place finish last year, Gay has made the cut 4 of the last 5 times he has played this event and has made an amazing 13 of his last 14 cuts on Tour. While he ranks 80th overall in my stats model he excels in the two stat areas that I have weighed the heaviest, SG: Par 4s and Birdies or Better Gained, as well as being #2 in this field over the last 24 rounds in SG: Putting.  For a steady guy that has proven he can make cuts and play deep into the weekend I have a lot of confidence in Gay this week.

As far as GPP options go there are a few guys that are options if you are in a pinch and need a little salary relief.  Dominic Bozzelli ($6,800 DK, $8,100 FD) stats are great heading into this week, ranking #24 overall in my model and ranking Top 10 in SG: Putting, SG: Par 4s, and Birdies or Better Gained. He had made 5 straight cuts before missing two weeks about at the Farmers, but has missed the cut at Pebble Beach in each of his two previous starts. If he can keep his current form trending the way it is now he could be a factor on Sunday. The last time the US Open was played at Pebble Beach your winner was Graeme McDowell ($6,800 DK, $8,300 FD). If the winds kick up McDowell could be a factor again despite playing for the first time in almost three months. Cameron Davis ($6,600 DK, $8,000 FD) is a young Web Tour graduate that is loaded with talent making his debut here at Pebble Beach. He’s made 5 of 7 cuts in his early PGA Tour career by making a ton of birdies en route to 3 Top-30 finishes since the start of the Fall Swing Season. He is going to break out at some point this season, and an event that has seen so many relative no-name winners over the years could prove to be the exact spot to do it.

As I wrap up my first article here as a member of the Daily Play Action team I’d like to thank you for giving my article a read. I’m very appreciative of everyone at Daily Play Action for giving me the opportunity to write and chat about the sport that I love the most and I hope that I’m able to help you make some winning selections moving forward. Please reach out to me any time via Twitter (@CoachKrallDFS) if you have any more questions relating to DFS golf or basically anything in the golf world – I’m always available to continue the conversation there! Until next time, enjoy Pebble Beach (and try to block Toby Keith’s golf swing from entering your memory if possible!)