Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Weather forecast for Thursday: It’s a chilly start and doesn’t get much warmer (peaking in the high 50s in the early afternoon). Winds are light, gradually picking up from 4mph (09:00) to 8mph (14:00).
2020 -8 Nick Taylor (Spyglass), -6 Chase Seiffert (Pebble)
2019 -6 Si Woo Kim (Pebble), -6 Cody Gribble (Spyglass)
2018 -7 Beau Hossler (Pebble), -7 Kevin Streelman (Spyglass)
2019 US Open -6 Justin Rose, -5 Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Aaron Wise, -4 Nate Lashley, Scott Piercy
Strategy: With just two courses in play this year instead of the normal three, half the field tees off at Pebble Beach Golf Links and the other half at Spyglass Hill. For the last three years I’ve listed the top respective scorers at Pebble and Spyglass while also noting the top six after 18 holes of the 2019 US Open staged at Pebble. Tee-times (three-balls from 1st and 10th) run from 08:30 to 10:42 so are cramped. With more info available from Pebble, I’ll make that my focus.
Look to Lashley
Defending champion Nick Taylor made the comment in his pre-round press conference that, due to the lack of amateurs this year, a number of tees from the 2019 US Open would be used.
It means there’s merit in looking at who started well in those tougher conditions in June 2019.
One interesting name that pops up is Nate Lashley. The experienced American was tied sixth after 18 holes of that event thanks to a 67. And he did well to go on and finish tied 28th, his best finish in four major starts.
If Lashley’s name rings a bell due to something in recent times it’s perhaps because he opened with a 64 in last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. He eventually finished T17.
Fast starts are starting to become a recent trend. He posted a 63 to lie second after day one at the Shriners in Las Vegas and was also in the top five following Thursday’s action at the Mayakoba thanks to a 67.
It means, as well as his Pebble Beach FRL history, he’s landed the each-way cash for first-round leader punters in three of his last eight starts.
He’s a 09:03 starter from Pebble’s 1st tee. Take the 55/1.
Home in Hossler
Beau Hossler shot the lowest first-round score at Pebble in the 2018 edition of this event and is worth a look at 80s to repeat the feat.
The 25-year-old is a California kid and finished tied ninth in the Farmers Insurance Open along the coast at Torrey Pines in 2020.
He’s made two of his last three cuts in this event but a stretch of six missed cuts from November to February initially looks very off-putting.
However, this is all about first-round scoring and at the Farmers two weeks ago he was fourth after day one thanks to a 66 at the North Course.
Add in his first-round 65 at Pebble from a couple of years ago and he has potential to go low again.
Hossler starts from the 10th at 09:14.
Don’t doubt Doug
There’s a separate R1 market for Spyglass Hill but I’ll continue my focus on Pebble Beach.
And my third pick is Doug Ghim at 40/1.
As plenty will know, the 24-year-old was runner-up in the 2017 US Amateur and finished the 2018 Masters as Low Amateur.
He’s had some solid results since turning pro but Ghim has done his best work on day one. That statement particularly applies to his recent play.
Ghim was second after the first round at the Bermuda Championship, third after R1 at the RSM Classic and, most recently, fifth following lap one at The American Express. Wind back to 2019 and he sat second after an opening 63 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Three of those four were in multi-course events which is probably a coincidence but playing so well at nearby Torrey Pines is worth something.
The main point, though, is that he’s ended round one in the top six in three of his last six tournaments.
Take Ghim – an 08:41 starter at Pebble’s 10th – at 40/1.