Stephen Gallacher played one of the best nine holes in the history of the European Tour in the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic last Saturday. Not only did that run of scoring help him become the first player to successfully defend the tournament for the first time in it’s 25 year history it rewarded followers of the OnParProfits service with a 40-1 winner. After the first month of the season the service is showing a healthy return on investment of almost 38%.
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The service gives outright and 72 match bet tips for the European and US PGA Tours. However, this week is rare in that the Joburg Open in Europe will not be covered. This is basically a South Africa Sunshine Tour tournament and we feel there is not enough form to warrant viable selections.
Therefore, the service will focus on the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour, with a selection of outright tips and several matchbets. We are looking to build on a great start to the season which could have been even better but for schoolboy typing error from the tipster behind OnParProfits. We wanted to advise Charley Hoffman to finish in the top 10 of the Farmers Insurance Open. He duly made those payout places but the bet appeared as a top 5 finish so we have to stand by what was posted.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is played on three courses in the Pebble Beach area of California. Pebble Beach itself is short by modern standards at under 6900 yards while Spyglass Hill also measures less than 7000 yards. The Monterey Peninsula course is of a similar length but the only one of the three courses with a par of 72 while the others are par 70 tracks. Rarely for a pro-am the courses are not set up to provide an easy challenge for the amateurs. In the last six yeas the average winning score has been 15 under.
The event is a pro-am in which 180 professionals play each of the courses with an amateur partner over the first three days. The top 60 professionals and the top 20 teams then play Pebble Beach on Sunday. Rounds can take up to six hours and players must feel relaxed with the format in order to contend. The amateur element will always get most media attention but this is still a regular Tour event that carries a two exemption for the winner.
Pebble Beach, the host course for this event, has staged five US Opens, most recent in 2010. Clearly the set up is nothing like as difficult for this event but when the pins are hidden on Sunday it still represents a significant test. Pebble Beach has a spectacular setting with 9 holes running along the Pacific Ocean, so weather can be a huge factor. It has generally wide fairways but the greens are the smallest on Tour. The other two courses generally play easier but all three demand accuracy to the greens.
There is a definite weather warning with this event. It was abandoned completely in 1996 and has been reduced to 54 holes several times and as recently as 2009. The Pebble Beach course in particular is an entirely different proposition in windy conditions so is advisable to check the weather forecast before placing your bets. In good weather form usually prevails but storms can cause upsets as everybody is faced with the same daunting test.
Benign conditions mean the draw has little impact on scores so there no advantage to playing the three courses in a particular order. The average scores for each course are fairly similar, totalling about 216 strokes over the first three days for the last three years. Bad weather brings about changes in the degree of difficulty for each course and hence bigger variances for average scoring at each venue. The 10 day weather forecast for Pebble Beach points to cloudy conditions but only moderate winds so we can assume this year the weather will not be a major factor.
A proven record in the mentally demanding pro-am format is an important pointer to potential winners. Phil Mickelson is one player that relishes the format as he has the temperament to keep his focus even when the amateurs are distracting him. Padraig Harrington seems an intense character but he is another player that can keep his form in the context of playing alongside two amateurs.
Pat Perez has built up a decent bank of course for in this event. He has a reputation for being something of a hot head on the course, which suggests the mental exertion of four long rounds in a pro-am would find him out. However, he has often done well in this tournament and his solid iron play and putting brings him into the mix. However, OnParProfits is ignoring the claims of these three players but will be highlighting other players that represent better betting opportunities at the relative odds on offer.