Slowly but surely, the big names have begun climbing the leaderboard at the 2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. While the 36-hole lead belongs to two-time DP World Tour winner Kurt Kitayama at 9 under, it is both the names below his on the leaderboard and the ensuing weekend weather that will determine the outcome of this tournament.
Viktor Hovland made a noticeable move in his second round with a 4-under 67 at the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Reaching 5 under for the week, he is now set to take on Pebble Beach over the final 36 holes. The Norwegian will be joined by Jordan Spieth at 4 under and Matt Fitzpatrick at 2 under at this week’s main golf course. Keith Mitchell and Seamus Power, who stand at 8 under and 7 under, respectively, will also take to Pebble Beach on Saturday, beginning the latter stages of this tournament a bit closer to Kitayama.
For Kitayama and the rest of the field, the most difficult of the weather conditions have yet to be seen. With winds projected to reach up to 40 mph on Saturday and heavy rainfall predicted for Sunday’s round, players will not only need to keep their nerve, but battle the elements at Pebble Beach.
1. Kurt Kitayama (-9)
Twice a winner on the DP World Tour, Kitayama looks to add his first trophy on the PGA Tour. The lack of hardware is not for lack of trying; he grabbed a third-place finish at the Honda Classic before runner-up results came at the Mexico Open and Scottish Open in 2022. Kitayama’s familiarity with not only windy conditions, but this area, could propel him to the winner’s circle.
“Yeah, I grew up in northern California,” said Kitayama. “So I got to play Spyglass quite a bit. Not so much here [Pebble Beach] and Monterey. But I’ve seen it before and definitely feeling a lot more comfortable this time around. It’s always nice playing here. It’s nice being here.”
T2. Hank Lebioda, Keith Mitchell, Brandon Wu, Joseph Bramlett (-8)
T6. Seamus Power, Satoshi Kodaira, Scott Stallings, Garrick Higgo, Eric Cole, Ryan Moore (-7)
T12. Denny McCarthy, Justin Rose, Viktor Hovland, Kevin Yu, Harry Higgs, Andrew Novak, Peter Malnati, Martin Trainer, Brent Grant, Richy Werenski (-6)
Hovland returns to Pebble Beach on Saturday for the first time since 2020. Winning his U.S. Amateur title here in 2018, Hovland will have fond memories as he enters the weekend on the outskirts of contention. With a victory under his belt just two starts ago at the Hero World Challenge, the blustery and potentially downright miserable conditions over the final 36 holes should favor the man from Norway.
“Just got to keep hitting it like I have been,” said Hovland. “Hopefully try to get the ball a little bit closer. I need to start to see some putts go in. I haven’t made a whole lot. The greens especially here at Monterey, they got a little bouncy towards the end there. So just got to know that. But it would be nice to roll in a few.”
The turn in the weather near the end of Round 1 persisted into Friday. As such, Pebble Beach played much more difficult for competitors as the exposed nature of the golf course was unable to defend itself. Below are the scoring averages in relation to par for all three courses in Round 2:
- Monterey Peninsula: -1.27
- Pebble Beach: +0.57
- Spyglass Hill: +1.04
Power’s round of 7 under at Monterey Peninsula went for the round of the day from a strokes-gained perspective. While there were others to card rounds of 5 under on the same golf course, a pair of 4 unders at Spyglass Hill from Satoshi Kodaira and Robby Shelton allowed them to gain more than five strokes on the field and made for the second-best round on Friday.
Brace yourselves, weather is coming
Between the amateurs and impending weather, the golf will be very slow over the weekend at Pebble Beach. Starting at 10 a.m. PST, winds are expected to reach 15 mph and increase as the day progresses. At 1 p.m., they will sustain at 20-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.
The good news for competitors is there shouldn’t be any rain on Saturday. The bad news is there will be some on Sunday. As much as a half-inch of rainfall is expected during the final round in unison with 20-25 mph winds. With the forecast, there is certainly the potential for delays — and maybe even a Monday finish — which would be less than ideal given the first full-field elevated event begins next week at the Phoenix Open.
2023 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am updated odds and picks
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
- Seamus Power: 27/4
- Keith Mitchell: 8-1
- Scott Stallings: 9-1
- Kurt Kitayama: 10-1
- Viktor Hovland: 10-1
- Joseph Bramlett: 11-1
- Justin Rose: 11-1
- Brandon Wu: 14-1
- Denny McCarthy: 16-1
- Satoshi Kodaira: 22-1
- Garrick Higgo: 25-1
- Jordan Spieth: 28-1
- Tom Hoge: 30-1
- Kevin Yu: 30-1
Those on Spyglass Hill may actually receive a reprieve from the weather thanks to some trees that can protect players on the inward nine. With Monterey and Pebble Beach out in the open, players such as Jordan Spieth at 28-1 and Matt Fitzpatrick at 100-1 still present some intrigue. Both will play on Pebble on Saturday and have proven to thrive in difficult, windy conditions. The winning score could be as high as 10 under due to the conditions. If either are able to post a red figure on Saturday, this momentum may snowball into a victory come Sunday.