2009 AT&T National Preview and Picks

AT&T National Preview and Picks
Thur. Jul 2 – Sun. Jul 5, 2009
Congressional Country Club – Bethesda, MD
The Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of Predictem.com

The dog days of summer are about to officially begin and the PGA Tour will celebrate the 4th of July weekend with the AT&T National from Bethesda, Maryland. This will be the third installment of the AT&T at Congressional Country Club with Anthony Kim earning his first PGA victory last year. Tiger Woods highlights a strong field out to make some fireworks of their own on the way toa win. The Golf Channel brings you the opening rounds with CBS picking up the weekend finish.

Congressional County Club will test the players with it’s 7,255 yard, par-70 layout thatranked right in the middle in terms of difficulty from ’08 play. Along with the two previous AT&T events, Congressional has hosted two U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship. The course seems to favor the control player versus the bombers as precise irons are needed to navigate the 102 bunkers that dot the track. Along with Anthony Kim, K.J. Choi and Steve Stricker have fared well here and all three are excellent ballstrikers. The greens are fair but fast, rolling somewhere around 12 on the stimpmeter. The winning scores have been 9-under and 12-under so look for the players that can put four solid rounds together to have a chance to win on Sunday.

Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and breakdown a few players that could contend. We make three picks to win, one each from a short, middle and long odds standpoint and make some head to head match picks as well. Here are our picks to win the AT&T National with odds to win and line info courtesy of the board at Superbook.

Short: Hunter Mahan (15 to 1 to win)
Tiger will always be the favorite when he is entered, but Mahan has put together a great 2009 in which he has made every one of his 16 cuts and notched four top-10 finishes. Hunter followed up his T6 at the U.S. Open with a T4 last week and is among the most accurate players on Tour, ranking 7th in total ballstriking. Mahan is 7th in driving and 17th in greens hit while cashing in 4.28 birdies per round. Our favorite is 9th in scoring average so far and is 2nd in total birdies.

Middle: Sean O’Hair (25 to 1)
O’Hair has missed four of fifteen cuts this year, but has finished in the top-25 in all eleven made cuts, highlighted by a Quail Hollow win. 21st in total driving and 2nd in GIR% have Sean ranked 6th in ballstriking with the 7th best scoring average. O’Hair records the fourth most birdies per 18 holes and a strong overall game produces the number 1 rank in the all around stat.

Longshot: Steve Marino (50 to 1)
We’ve been closing in on hitting our longshots and Marino looks good this week ranking inside the top-20 in total driving, greens in regulation and scoring average. Steve has shook off a rough start to the year and is currently 11th in total birdies and 9th in ballstriking. Looking at value, you can’t get much better than Marino as his stat sheet compares favorably with just about anybody above him, but he’ll pay off a lot more.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)
*all matches are for entire tournament..check with your favorite sportsbook for single round matches, updated daily.

Robert Allenby (-115) v. Vijay Singh (-115) (Allenby)
The books do a good job of matching similiar players and this is no exception. Both players drive the ball well, hit a lot of greens and struggle with the putter. All that being equal, Allenby has the 19th best scoring average with Singh a long way back 118, so Allenby gets the nod here.

Davis Love III (-115) v. Boo Weekley (-115) (Weekley)
Here’s another one where there is little statistical difference between the players. Both mid-average in greens and scoring, but Weekley has the big advantage off the tee, ranking 35th in fairways with Love at 143rd. Always favor the guy that hits more fairways.

Good Luck!