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Casey among Pebble Beach contenders

Casey among Pebble Beach contenders

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This week the PGA Tour stops off at the most iconic golfing location in North America, Pebble Beach Golf Links on the spectacular Monterrey Peninsula.

This event is one of the most sought after on the Tour, outside of the majors, and will be even more fiercely contested this year as Pebble Beach is also going to host the US Open in just a few months’ time.

Of course, this early spring stage is much different to what we’ll see come June and there’s also the fact this event is a Pro-Am, with four rounds taking place across three courses at a stunning piece of golfing real estate.

Luck of the draw can be massive, depending on where the bias is for players playing the sequential opening three days on different courses before the final round on Sunday at Pebble. Also adding to the difficulty this week is the forecast for wind and rain, putting some uncertainty in the mix.

Dustin Johnson, last weeks’ European Tour winner in Saudi Arabia and two-time winner of this event, is the 5/1 pre-tournament favourite, and rightly so. ‘DJ’ is renowned for his ability to follow up a win with another big effort and, with his record in the event, should be right in the mix.

But here are some value picks from the field trying to stop him.

Jason Day top rest of world player @ 2/1

The Aussie boasts a superb record at Pebble, with five top-six finishes amongst his nine-for-nine cuts made in the event. It is somewhat surprising that Day hasn’t managed to get a win on the board, but that may only be a matter of time.

He comes in here having shown up well at another favoured early-season test, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines where he was tied-fifth, and can lead home the Rest of the World field in an event where Americans boast a stellar record and will be hard to topple.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello each-way @ 50/1

The Spaniard took advantage of the par-fives here last year as he finished just outside the top 20, ranking third in par-five scoring. He has been a model of consistency lately, with nine top-20 finishes from his last 13 starts across the Tours.

Cabrera-Bello is clearly up for the challenge this week and showed himself on social media out practicing hard at Pebble on Monday amid a torrential downpour.

Paul Casey each-way @ 33/1

The Englishman is amongst the most solid and consistent performers in the world these days and already has four top-five finishes in just five starts this season.

It seems Casey is in the mix wherever and whatever the test in front of him. He shared second spot in Singapore three weeks ago and has taken a break since, earning some kudos amongst many observers on his decision to sit out the Saudi International last week.

He was inside the top-10 here last year but a third PGA Tour win could be his during 2019 – so why not get it done early?

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Warren Ashurst Warren has been a sports journalist for over 25 years, both written and broadcast. Having worked as a radio commentator, he has a wealth of experience of seeing top-level sport first hand and specialises in football, golf and cricket.