AT&T National 2013 Preview

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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This week the PGA Tour heads to Bethesda, Maryland for the AT&T National which is being played on the Blue Course at the Congressional Country Club.

The tournament was established in 2007 and has been played at Congressional from 2007-2009. It was moved to the Aronimink Golf Club in 2010 and 2011 due to the US Open being played at Congressional in 2011 when Rory McIlroy won by a staggering 8 shots. Last year it returned to its home at Congressional.

Blue Course is a Par 71, 7574 yard test of patience and precision. It has 96 sand bunkers and 5 water hazards. There are also three Par 5’s and the greens are bentgrass. The course has hosted three US Opens and a PGA Championship.

The Blue Course at Congressional plays much like a US Open where hitting greens will be a premium. A player will need to have patience and be a good putter as the greens are undulating and will be slick and fast.

According to many players this week the rough is high and thick which will mean hitting lots of fairways will take you a long way to winning. Due to the rough expect to see good scrambling stats being a big factor too.

The bookies Top 5 in betting are 12/1 Adam Scott, 14/1 Jason Day, 15/1 Hunter Mahan, 18/1 Brandt Snedeker and 22/1 Billy Horschel.

So apart from the five favourites already mentioned, who else is in the field this week?

There are twelve current 2013 winners which includes the likes of Russell Henley, John Merrick and Martin Laird.

Two Past Champions are teeing it up this week, Nick Watney (2011) and KJ Choi (2007). They will be joined by players of the calibre of Rickie Fowler, Bo Van Pelt, Ryan Palmer, Jim Furyk, Scott Stallings and Bill Haas.

The field is also full of International players like Fredrik Jacobson, Martin Laird, Angel Cabrera,  Nicolas Colsaerts, Brendon De Jonge and John Senden.

There are two players I expect to see up there challenging over the weekend.

John Huh 66/1

Last year was John’s rookie season on the tour. And what a year. He won the Mayakoba Golf Classic after enduring eight play off holes against Aussie Robert Allenby. That win showed his true grit and nerves of steel. Huh also finished 2nd in the Valero Texas Open.

This season he has made 12 cuts from 19 starts. He has managed five Top 25’s from those starts. What stands out is that three of those Top 25’s have come in his last five outings.

If you look closer at John’s results you will notice how well he has played on the big  stage. T17th in the US Open and T11th Masters Tournament.

When it comes to bentgrass greens he has also showed signs of enjoying the fast pace of the greens like Augusta. T8th at the Byron Nelson Championship proves this point.

Last year in this tournament Huh finished T17th which will have him in good spirits this week.

John Huh is a player who I have been watching closely since arriving on the scene last year. It will not be long before he records his second PGA Tour victory.

Marc Leishman 66/1

Much like John Huh, Leishman is the perfect man for this tournament.

He loves Bentgrass greens. Look at his results. T4th at his first Masters Tournament and T12th at the Byron Nelson Championship (T3rd in 2012). The faster the better for Marc.

Leishman has had four Top 10’s this season from 17 starts. They include T9th Sony Open, T4th Masters, T9th RBC Heritage and T8th Players Championship. So it looks like he players the tough courses well.

Last year Marc finished 32nd at this tournament while he was also 25th in 2009.

He is coming off a T30th at the Travelers Championship where he was defending his title after winning it in 2012.

Expect to see Marc playing this tough course well over the weekend. It fits his style of play very well.

Good luck and good punting.


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