AT&T Pro-Am: Players Who Will Be in Contention on Sunday
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Every year, it seems like the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is filled with drama on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson dominated Tiger Woods by 11 shots in 2012 by firing a bogey-free 64. D.A. Points holed out for eagle on the demanding par-five 14th hole to edge out Hunter Mahan in 2011. Dustin Johnson won the tournament for a second year in a row in 2010 by making birdie on the 18th hole.
This year should provide the same entertainment.
Golf fans may be disappointed that Tiger won't be a part of the Pro-Am this week, but several of the hottest golfers on Tour will be a part of the journey along the Monterey Peninsula.
These are the names to watch out for on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson strolls down the 18th fairway to a two-shot win at the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.
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This is a no-brainer. Phil Mickelson is the defending champion and a four-time winner of the Pro-Am.
Starting six shots off of the lead on Sunday last year (and playing with Tiger Woods nonetheless), Mickelson owned Pebble. He took away Charlie Wi's lead on the front nine with an eagle at the sixth hole and never let up.
Momentum this year is also on Mickelson's side. Lefty was on fire last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, as he fired a total score of 28-under for the win, including an opening-round 60.
Mickelson will be seeking his 42nd win on the Tour on Thursday when he tees off at 9:50 a.m. PST at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. He will play at Spyglass Hill on Friday before closing out the final 36 holes at Pebble Beach, assuming that he makes the cut after Saturday's round.
Behind his resume and experience, it's pretty tough to imagine that Phil won't be in the mix on Sunday.
Dustin Johnson stares down a shot at the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am. He's won the event twice.
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Some people will think that Phil Mickelson is the favorite as defending champion, but VegasInsider.com says otherwise. According to the odds, Dustin Johnson is the favorite at 13-to-2 while Mickelson is just behind at 8-to-1.
Johnson has found a tremendous amount of success at Pebble Beach in his career.
Not only has the long-ball hitter won the Pro-Am twice, Johnson has placed in the top 10 in four out of the five times that he has participated. Additionally, when the 2010 U.S. Open was played at Pebble, Johnson was in the driver's seat before falling apart on Sunday with an 82.
Johnson, who ranks fourth in eagle frequency (per USA Today), started 2013 off with a bang at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He finished at 16-under in just 54 holes of play due to poor weather conditions and took the title by four shots.
All signs point to an excellent week for Dustin.
Brandt Snedeker reads a putt at the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
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He's arguably the hottest player on the PGA Tour.
Ranking second in scoring average at 69.3 strokes per round, Brandt Snedeker has already finished in the top three in three of the four events that he has entered.
If it wasn't for the dominance of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods over the last two weeks, the 2012 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner might have turned his two runner-up finishes into victories.
Either way, Snedeker leads the Tour in 2013 earnings with just under $1.7 million (via ESPN). Recognized as one of the best putters on Tour and leading the PGA with 5.67 birdies per round (via USA Today), Snedeker is as dangerous as anyone.
Charlie Wi tips his hat to the crowd after a second-place finish in the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.
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Charlie Wi was the talk of Pebble Beach going into Sunday's round in 2012, as an opening-round 61 and back-to-back 69s on Friday and Saturday helped him secure a three-shot lead to start the final round.
But the nerves kicked in on Sunday's first hole, as he four-putted for double bogey, and despite a late comeback and almost holing out for eagle on the 18th, Wi took second place.
Moving to 2013, Wi hasn't caught the highlight reel too often this season, but he's done some damage. In his four events, Wii had made the cut in each tournament behind his 1.665 putts per hole (eighth on the PGA Tour).
He has a hot putter right now, and after letting one get away in 2012, expect Wi to be in the hunt.
Aaron Baddeley tees off on the 18th hole in the final round of the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.
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Aaron Baddeley is another player who has played solid golf at the Pro-Am in recent memory.
After finishing tied for sixth in 2011 and fourth in 2012, is it Baddeley's time?
He hasn't won a PGA event since the 2011 Northern Trust Open but has made all three cuts so far in 2013.
Most notably, the Aussie played his best at another course on the Pacific Ocean—Torrey Pines. Baddeley posted closing rounds of 68 and 69 at the Farmers Insurance Open to give him a share of sixth place.
Combining recent success at Pebble Beach, an urge for a win and a good start to 2013, Baddeley will be right there on Sunday.
Robert Garrigus will look to improve on his 20th place finish at the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.
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If you haven't heard the name Robert Garrigus before, you will this week.
He's 35 years old, has only played in eight major championships and has one PGA win—the Children's Miracle Network Classic in 2010.
So where did this guy come from?
Two years ago, according to an interview between Garrigus and Golf Digest (via ESPN), Garrigus admitted that he and others on the Nationwide Tour were smoking marijuana during tournaments in the 2002 season. Garrigus went into rehab in 2003.
Now, who is this guy?
Someone who is ranked in the top 10 in scoring average, driving distance and greens in regulation for 2013.
In Garrigus' three PGA events in 2013, he has finished no worse than 16th, including tying for sixth place at Torrey Pines with Baddeley.
If you are looking for a good story on Sunday, are a Detroit Tigers fan (Justin Verlander is his celebrity partner) or just want to root for a guy with an awesome last name, this is your man.
Ryan Palmer plays a shot from the sand at the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am. He finished tied for 20th.
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He might only be 5'11" and 175 pounds (per Yahoo! Sports), but his drive surely doesn't represent that.
Ryan Palmer uses his distance of 312.4 yards off of the tee (first on the PGA Tour) to card 5.25 birdies a round (tied for seventh).
By posting that many red numbers, Palmer's 69.53 scoring average (sixth) has given him top-six finishes in his last two tournaments.
If Palmer is in contention on Sunday, he has an advantage on most of the field with his length. On the par-fives, he should have no problem reaching No. 2, No. 6 and No. 18 in two shots as long as he finds the fairway off of the tee. He also has the potential of driving No. 4, pending the conditions and where the tee markers are placed.
Mickelson and Johnson have used their length to win at Pebble Beach before. With the way Palmer is playing, he should have a great chance as well.