After wind stamped out most of the low scoring from leaders on Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the stage is set for what should be a compelling finale on Sunday. Conditions are expected to ease a bit as Jordan Spieth tries to steer his first victory in nearly four years into the harbor, but his battle will be less with Mother Nature and more with Daniel Berger and Patrick Cantlay.
Spieth has struggled in the last few years on Saturdays and Sundays, but he stayed steady in this third round with a 71 that saw him surge into the final group on Sunday after a late hole-out erased several early bogeys (see below). And while Spieth shooting a 66 on Sunday to win this thing would be the most exciting outcome by a wide margin, there are other good ones as well.
Let’s rank the top of the board by who is most favored to win on Sunday — according to our friends at William Hill — and see what’s at stake for all of them.
Jordan Spieth (-13 +188): Spieth’s Saturday seemed stalled until he banged home a 160-yarder for eagle at the 16th to tie Berger for the lead. Berger has to loathe going heads up against the three-time major champ, too. At the 2017 Travelers Championship, Spieth holed out from a bunker against him for the win in a playoff right before winning his Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. A Spieth win on Sunday would be monumental for both his season and the sport as a whole. And “I have no idea how he’s leading by two going into Sunday” is as good a baromter as we have for whether Spieth is back.
Patrick Cantlay (-11, +350): In doing a bit of Cantlay research earlier in the week, I had the epiphany that he and Xander Schauffele are more or less the same player. They do the same things well and have won and top 10ed at the exact same clip through, roughly, the first 100 tournaments of their careers. I’m not sure we talk about them in the same way, though. Sometimes I think Xander gets more attention and more headlines, which might be fair, but a win here for Cantlay would be yet another step in his evolution.
Daniel Berger (-11, +550): Dating back to last year’s event at Pebble, Berger has eight top 10s in 18 events, and he’ll almost certainly make it nine in 19 this week. He’s been (by far) the best driver in the field thus far, but his biggest problem might be keeping the guy who will be playing behind of him out of his head. Either that or the 18th hole, which he doubled on Saturday to fall out of a co-lead with Spieth and out of the final group on Sunday.
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Russell Knox (-11, 12-1): Knox has been hitting it beautifully all week, but his big problem right now is the quality of player either tied with him or ahead of him. It’s an issue, and that 12-1 number is not long enough.
Jason Day (-10, 12-1): Day has been quiet so far this week, and he’s probably a good fade on Sunday. He’s one of just two players in the current top 10 to lose strokes on his approach shots. Still, the pedigree is immense, so he’s always a threat, but there’s enough star power ahead of him that he doesn’t seem super appealing at 12-1.
Paul Casey (-10, 12-1): I actually prefer Casey chasing from behind and like the number at 12-1. He’s had a lot of success on this course but isn’t hitting it as well as I would like. Still he’s the deeper chaser I like the most in the final round, and I don’t think anybody deeper than this can pull off the win.