Tour News

In form Mickelson defends at Pebble

(Photo: Bruce Young)
The PGA Tour heads back to arguably its most iconic venue this week for the AT&T National Pro Am Championship at Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula.

First played in 1937 when the great Sam Snead won at Rancho Santa Fe, Pebble Beach became part of the scene in 1947 and has remained so since although the supporting courses in what has been a three course event have changed on several occasions.

The three courses in this year's line-up have been a constant since 2010 when the Monterey Peninsula Golf Club replaced Poppy Hills. Pebble Beach though remains the host course with those making the cut and qualifying pro am teams returning to Pebble Beach for the fourth and final round on Sunday.

Phil Mickelson defeated Charlie Wi by two shots in 2012 and following his emphatic victory last week in Arizona he will be hard to beat again in an event he has now won on four occasions.

Dustin Johnson is another who has regularly performed well at Pebble Beach. Two wins and two other top tens in five starts in the event suggests this is a place he really thrives on. Johnson won the first event of the year in Hawaii but was off colour and forced to withdraw the following week at the Sony before a very average week at Torrey Pines. If he is right then his love affair with this region, which also included him leading the 2010 US Open into the final round, will take him a long way.

Brandt Snedeker is the hottest golfer on the PGA Tour this season having twice finished runner-up and third on one occasion. Working against Snedeker this week will be his ordinary record in this event. He has never finished better than 21st in five attempts. He is playing beautifully no doubt but his record is a real concern.

Lee Westwood played very well on his 2013 debut last week in Dubai where he finished 5th. Westwood has played the event on only one previous occasion and that was hardly fruitful as he finished well back in the field. He does seem to enjoy the Pro-Am format and could improve and it should be remembered that he played the US Open well on both occasions it was played at Pebble Beach.

Nick Watney has made eight of nine cuts in the event although he has only two top tens in that time. Prior to an indifferent week in Phoenix he had been playing well and could do ok again.

Padraig Harrington seems to be approaching his best once again after a long time in the golfing wilderness. Harrington finished 7th in this event last year, certainly one of his better efforts at a time when his game was not as good as it is becoming. Now that he is playing as well as he is (9th last week) then a good tournament this week is very much expected.

Aaron Baddeley was disappointing last week in Scottsdale but he was 6th a week earlier and has been inside the top ten in each of his last two starts in this event. His chances look good of another solid week.

Another eleven Australians are in the field including Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, Rod Pampling, Cameron Percy, Alistair Presnell, Scott Gardiner, Matt Jones, Steve Bowditch, Nick O'Hern and Nathan Green.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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