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Tiger Woods is a two-time winner at this course and also holds the 72 hole record at 272 in 2000 so it’s a course he knows well and after the fireworks from Mcilroy last week and Koepka on for a hat-trick the most successful player in the field looks to have flown under the radar somewhat. Many questioned whether Woods would ever win another major, a doubt Tiger quashed on his way to winning the Masters in April. Tiger is a 15 times major champion so it’s fair to say he knows better than anyone how to get the job done.
The greens here at Pebble Beach are small and as always on major weeks accurate iron play is a must. Woods is arguably the greatest iron player of all time and is still performing to date, as he is top of the 2019 Greens in Regulation statistic on the US Tour and also leads the par-3 scoring average, another key factor here this week. Tiger’s excellent iron play is what makes up his disadvantage off the tee however Pebble Beach is a much shorter course and that lessens the disadvantage he will face.
Woods is back to full health now and playing some excellent golf and whilst Mcilroy heads the betting and has been taking the plaudits from his monumental victory last week Tiger will be setting his sights on a 16th major title.
The greatest danger to Woods may not be the 3 players ahead of him in the better but in fact fellow Californian Patrick Cantlay who is very comfortable on this type of track. He won the memorial last time out shooting a final round 64 and this win could finally see Cantlay rake in the trophies. Patrick is a cool customer when it comes to the majors, finishing 12th at the Open last year, 9th at the Masters in April and 3rd at the USPGA last month showing that the Californian is really starting to take his game to a new level and compete with the elite.
Cantlay’s Pebble Beach form is 9-48-35 and with the course being set up even tougher for this year’s US Open it should play into his hands. He’s riding a wave of good performances at the moment and with improving performances in majors don’t be surprised to see Patrick Cantlay be victorious come Sunday.
Xander finally gets to play a major in his home state here this week and the hugely talented 25 year old will definitely fancy his chances of walking away with the trophy and hefty pay cheque. His two previous US Open appearances have been largely encouraging with finishes of 5th and 6th and has also had second placed finishes at The Open and the Masters showing the Xander has the pedigree and has got what it takes to win a major championship.
Brandt shown his scoring abilities are still in good nick after a second round 60 in Canada last week eventually ending the tournament in 4th place. Snedeker is a two-time champion at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and it’s time for him to step forward and win here this week. Four of Snedeker’s nine US Tour titles have come in California, he has five top 10 finishes at the US Open and the 2012 FedEx Cup Champion is expected to put in a big performance this week at a juicy price.
Mickleson’s problem is his driving and it’s his driver that get’s him into trouble however he can leave the big stick in the bag this week. Only one US Open venue has played shorter than this week in the last 9 years, and that was Merion where Phil finished runner up. Mickleson is an excellent shot maker and with it being likely he will find more fairways without the Driver off the tee most holes, Phil will have a great chance of shooting low here this week.
Grace finished runner up at the Phoenix Open in February and the Pebble Beach layout suits him well this week. His only US Tour title came on the Harbour Town links course and his record on links style courses has been excellent. Branden has competed in 6 US Open’s and that has seen him record two top five finishes. The price on offer for Grace here is too good to turn down.