If you thought multi-course events were done for the year, then think again!
The TOUR hops over to California for this week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am. It's a similar setup as we saw a few weeks ago with The American Express. Similar in that it's a pro-am format with a 54-hole cut with three courses being used over the first three rounds.
The big attraction for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the celebrities, thought.
With three courses in use, gamers will only have the luxury of ShotLink tracking on one course this week, the host venue which is Pebble Beach Golf Links.
When looking to build DFS lineups this week we should make note that all golfers will play 54 holes this week, and the cutline will be just top 60 and ties instead of the top 65 and ties. Technically, cut is still top 65 in terms of paying out dollars and FedExCup Points, but only the top 60 will play the final round which is what we really care about.
That puts a little less emphasis on getting 6-of-6 through the cut line but that should always be a target because that is how you reach the top of the leaderboard. It just means that we can take a few chances on value this week.
Let's have a look for some of that value, glancing at the weather and performance on poa annua greens along the way.
Thursday (R1): Partly sunny with a high of 57 degrees. Winds at 6 to 8 MPH.
Friday (R2): Sunny with a high of 58 degrees. Winds at 6 to 8 MPH.
Saturday (R3): Mostly sunny with a high of 57 degrees. Winds pick up at 10 to 15 MPH.
The temps are a bit cool but it's a relief to see no rain in the forecast. Especially after last year's slogfest. As of now, Saturday is the only day before the 54-hole cut with any wind concerns. Winds at 10 to 15 MPH don't sound terrible but that can get amplified when you're playing right on the coast.
I am going to focus on some recent results in this section to highlight what golfers may be trending in the right direction.
Tom Hoge -- He appeared here last week and he didn't slow down much in Phoenix. Hoge rattled off a T25 at the People's Open. He now has four straight top 25s for the first time in his career. He's bettered the field average in 13-of-16 rounds, with six of those shattering the field average by three or more shots. This red-hot run will end at some point but will it be this week? He is 2-for-5 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a T39 in 2017 being his best.
Branden Grace -- Just like Hoge, he was in this section last week and did nothing to get him off the form board. He posted four straight under-par rounds to collect a T9 finish by week's end at the WM Phoenix Open. He's now finished WIN, T17, and T9 over his last three worldwide starts as he heads to a seaside venue which has historically been a good spot for him to thrive. At this event specifically, he finished T20 in his 2018 debut and returned to card a T28 last year.
Russell Knox -- Last week Sean Martin of PGATOUR.com pointed out that Knox has been working with a former Long Drive Champ to pick up more speed. The results are promising so far as the Scot has now pieced together four straight top 40s including back-to-back top 25s. He has bettered the field average by at least a shot and a half in 10 of his last 16 rounds. Most importantly, the increased distance hasn't impacted his iron play as he's gained strokes on approach in all four of those recent starts.
A return to California means we have poa annua greens on our hands for the next two weeks. Let's see which golfers in the field play well on the bumpy surface.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in rounds played on poa annua greens since 2018 (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on poa annua greens (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Some pretty big names on the overlap list this week. All of them are worth a long look this week but we also need to consider the current state of their game.
Vaughn Taylor: It's a somewhat spotty record at this event for Taylor (5 missed cuts in 12 tries) but his resume does include a T14 (2009), a T10 (2015), and a WIN (2016). In fact, he's gained at least two strokes over the field in 8 of his last 15 rounds played at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Pretty steady upside. More recently, he's accomplished that feat in 9 of his last 17 rounds so he arrives with some steady form, as well. Those converging trends make him a nice value target this week across the DFS industry.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!