Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #17
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When it comes to sports predictions I don’t have a very good track record, but when I predicted last week that Spieth could win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am if he made his mid range putts, I proved to be right.
Once again like in Phoenix this tournament was Jordan’s to win as he took a 2 shot lead into the final round. It was Deja vu all over again and just like last week another player shot a 65 in the final round to win the tournament, this time it was the underrated Daniel Berger. And just so there were no questions, he hit the shot of his life on the famed 18th hole, a 253 yard 3 wood to 20 feet. He then proceeded to sink the putt for an exclamation point eagle 3. Meanwhile Spieth was missing putts in the 8 foot range, and he was spraying his driver which gave him less of a chance to make birdie from the wet gnarly rough. He finally got his act together on the 17th hole, he made birdie on 17 and 18 but it was too late. His 15 under total was good for a tie for 3rd. He was averaging just under 68 going into the final round and shot 70 on the last day, so he needs to figure out how to play a little more aggressively and keep the pedal down so others don’t climb past him at the finish line.
Honorable mention goes to 25 year old Maverick McNealy who grew up on the property at Pebble Beach. McNealy was unflappable and gave Berger a run for his money, McNealy closed with a 5 under 31 on the more difficult back 9 at Pebble, and watched hoping for a Berger 3 putt for a playoff, but Daniel calmly stroked in the 20 footer for the 2 shot win.
Another player that had a chance at catching Berger was Nate Lashley. Lashley was playing like a man on a mission. He started the day 2 off the lead and toured the front 9 in 32 to gain 4 shots on par, after 6 straight pars on the back he was still within striking distance until the incident on 16, when he apparently lost his concentration on the green. He took 4 putts, had a meltdown for triple bogie. His par birdie finish gave him a 69 for the day, and a tie for 5th a 14 under.
So now the focus switches to Riviera Country Club in LA. Do I dare say I like Spieth’s chances? Well I do. Tiger Woods will serve as host of the tournament, but will not play because of back issues. World #1 Dustin Johnson is defending champion Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau will be in the field along with Adam Scott and the world #2 Jon Rahm. Two time winner at Riviera Bubba Watson will also tee it up. Justin Thomas with his slurs hopefully behind him could be considered a favorite. I’m going with Spieth though, 3 times a charm.