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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

The PGA Tour -- hopefully with everyone fully activated -- moves on to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Played over three courses the first three days: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula, the key to this week may well be a player's ability to make the necessary adjustments between courses in the fastest possible time to maximize scoring opportunities. Here's our stats preview:

History Lesson

The defending champion is Jimmy Walker, who beat Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner by one. In 2013, Brandt Snedeker beat Chris Kirk, and in 2012 Phil Mickelson beat Charlie Wi by two shots. Mickelson is not in the field this week.

Walker is the obvious recommendation, with his win earlier this year at the Sony Open, his trip into contention last week at Torrey Pines and his 13th-place rank in strokes gained-tee to green, 10th in strokes gained-putting and fourth in strokes gained-total for the 2014-15 PGA Tour season.

Johnson, meanwhile, missed the cut last week at the Farmers Insurance Open and said he had a bit of rust. Start him if you want, but if you want to give him more time to get back in the groove -- he is in the midst of playing five consecutive weeks -- that's totally understandable as well.

Who Is Playing

The field includes Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Jonas Blixt, John Daly, Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney.

Day is an obvious pick as he won last week and did it in strong style, winning a four-man playoff while displaying clutch shotmaking under the highest of pressure. He finished the week T8 in greens in regulation.

This is Els' first week out in 2015 -- he last played at the HSBC Champions last fall (he finished T46) -- so it may be best to wait on him and see how he performs before putting him into your fantasy lineup. Rust could be a factor.

We recommend Holmes, who lost last week not because of any physical miscues -- showing his game is strong -- but instead from a potential mental mistake when he chose not to go for the par-5 18th green at Torrey Pines in two. Instead he laid up, made par and eventually lost in a playoff. For the week he was second in strokes gained-tee to green and T3 in strokes gained-total.

Sunday Surgers

These players' rounds on Sunday could help your fantasy team this week:

Shane Lowry, +25 -
Lowry's Sunday 68 gave him a T7 finish for the week. He ranked 10th in strokes gained-tee to green.

Zac Blair, +21 -
Blair's final-round 69 gave him a much-needed T11 finish; he's quietly 41st in the FedEx Cup standings. He was first in strokes gained-putting last week.

Chad Collins, +38 -
Collins shot an extremely solid Sunday 67 in tough playing conditions to move up to a T17 finish. He was T6 in putts per green in regulation at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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