WE DID IT!!!!!!! That’s right my putty people, after a Max Homa come-from-behind victory at Torrey Pines, we got ourselves a winner. And I believe streaks of one exists in two places, your undies and golfing… so were streaking. Now we look to continue this streak at another major course (and two non-major courses), Pebble Beach. This tournament features the second 3rd round cut in three weeks and is highlighted by defending champion Tom Hoge, U.S Open champion, Matt Fitzpatrick, and 3 time major winner Jordan Spieth. With three relatively short courses in play this week, approach play will play a strong part for this year’s winner. In fact, you could see a lot of players going, not for distance off the tee, but deciding to lay up to be in better spots around the courses. This week we will be looking at Matt Fitzpatrick, Tom Hoge, Taylor Pendrith, and Robby Shelton and seeing how their profiles work for this weekend.
A Quick Aside
Real Quick about two of the favorites. Jordan Spieth is a phenomenal golfer, but too volatile so I avoid him. I won’t bet him, nor will I bet directly against him. I don’t want to talk about Viktor Hovland because I don’t like him. Fine golfer, I’m sure he’s a fine human being, just don’t like him.
Tom Hoge +2200 to win
Best Bet: Top 5 +450
Besides finishing T3 and the Sentry Tournament of Champions to kick off the year, Hollywood Hoge has been a bit off recently, with 2 missed cuts only the one top 30 since the CJ Cup. Yet, he returns to the place where he won last year and looks to be in contention again. Hoge fits these course to a tee (more to a wedge but I digress) and he has a real opportunity to bounce back in an approach players paradise. Hoge hasn’t lost strokes in his approach play since August and leads the field this week in strokes gained approach per round at 0.78. With the tiny greens at Pebble, Hoge has the ability to create extra scoring opportunities by putting it on green more consistently than the other players. I am concerned about his around the green numbers, so if the approach play is not there he could run into problems but his comfort around here should see a big bounce back week from Hoge. I always love taking Hoge to lead after one (a 90-1 Hoge to lead after one at the 2022 PLAYERS was the first best bet I ever gave out to people and the last golf recommendation my brother didn’t take) but love the +450 to top 5 at a course that he’s had success at and that suits his game so well.
Matt Fitzpatrick +1100
Best Bet: Winner +1100
After a few weeks of heavy Jon Rahm favorites, it is nice to see Matty Fitzpatty leading the way this week at odds in the double digits to one. Fitzpatrick comes in as a justifiable favorite even with the other two big guns here. While not elite at anything, Fitzpatrick is great at everything, leading the field in strokes gained total despite not leading in any singular stroke gained category. I expect Fitz to continue showing solid improvement in every aspect of his game and I think that starts with a win at Pebble.
Matt Fitzpatrick said he was dealing with a neck injury. He will play but does not have full swing speed. I’m going to pivot to Seamus power at +2200 to win.
Taylor Pendrith +5000
Best Bet: To miss the cut +150
Welcome to hater corner. Still salty about last weeks subpar performance at Torrey Pines, a course that was a much better fit for Pendrith, I am telling you to fade this man at a course that was not designed for him. Pendrith is a distance and putter kinda guy, not a wedge man, so he could be in for a long 3 rounds. Not only has Pendrith been bad in approach, losing stroked in 3 of his last 4, he has struggled off he tee recently as well, losing as many as 3.13 stroked off the tee when he missed the cut at the Amex. When Pendrith approach play is positive, he competes, but the approach play has not been positive lately. You can fade Pendrith in matchups, where his potential usually makes him a favorite but I think missing the cut is a better play. In late or no cut tournaments, talent usually rises to the top and I think Pendrith is talented, but the late cut will accentuate those approach struggles more than it will give him the chance to shine.
Robby Shelton +8000
Best Bet: Top American +4500
Back-to-back weeks with rookie as a top American bet makes the column, but this time it’ll hit. Shelton’s is relatively short off the tee, but he is an excellent approach player and an overall well rounded player. He gains strokes in every category except off the tee, but his driving accuracy ranks in the top 25 and as I have reiterated multiple times now, accuracy is more important than distance this week. His recent approach play has been excellent as well, gaining 3.5 and 5 strokes, in his last two tournaments. If he can be positive with the putter he will have a very good week. Shelton won twice on the Korn Ferry tour this year and has two top 10s since graduating to the PGA earlier this year and while I think his first PGA tour will have to wait, I think he gets his first taste of a PGA Tour final pairing.
The Jesster’s laughably good pick of the week
0-2 in this category but that changes this week. We’re going to do this in three easy steps. 1) take all of your money out of bitcoin 2) Go to your local family owned sportsbook (buy local) and put it all on Satoshi Kodaira to make a Hole-in-one 3) retire when he sinks on Friday. No research, just vibes on that one.
About the Author
Thank you for reading… you’re doing great.
Cody “The Jesster” Jess