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Michael Taylor 10th Feb 2009 - 16:59

Mickelson has the stones for Pebble Beach success

Phil Mickelson can prove he is the best player in the world when it comes to playing at the best golf club in the world if he manages to win his third AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title in the space of five years.

Mickelson, the world number five, has a great track record at the famous Californian Pebble Beach resort and if he can manage to get into stride he looks great value at the 12/1 he is currently quoted at to win.

However, he will need to find a big improvement on recent form if he has hopes of claiming what would be his fourth National Pro-Am championship, in fact 'Lefty' has gone winless since May 2008.

But contrary to a recent advert, Mickelson isn't just a pencil pusher and surely it is only a matter of time before the triple major winner comes good again - and what better place to start than his home-state resort?

Even if he does find form though it is unlikely to be a one horse race, and as last year's winner Steve Lowery can testify, there are plenty of professionals capable of stepping up their game.

Veteran Lowery came from nowhere last year to defeat Vijay Singh in a play-off and take home the bumper first prize of $1.08 million, yet a repeat does not look on the cards with a price of 125/1.

A more realistic rival for Mickelson could be last year's runner-up Vijay Singh as the Fijian is another one to have thrived in the beautiful settings of the tournament's three courses - Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills.

Singh is the joint favourite at 12/1 and should be seen as a real threat to add to the success he managed back in 2004 when he blew away the opposition en route to replacing Tiger Woods as the best golfer in the world.

Another name to watch out for is Kenny Perry as the 48-year-old has defied his age to take an early lead in the 2009 PGA money list.

Perry enjoyed a spectacular 2008 taking three tournament victories and he doesn't seem content to stop there after taking the FBR Open title in January - Perry is 20/1 shot to win at Pebble Beach.

Looking away from the favourites, American Ryder Cup star J.B. Holmes looks a great each way chance at 66/1 if he can recreate the events that made him an instant legend at Valhalla back in September 2008.

Big hitting Holmes shone in 2008 as he managed to control his driving enough to put him in contention for several tournaments and that is exactly what he will need to do this week if he wants to avoid the multitude of hazards laying in wait.

There is no question though that Holmes can rip any course to shreds on his day and he will need to be in that sort of form if he wants to challenge Mickelson and co.

Recommendation:

Phil Mickelson to win - 12/1

J.B. Holmes to finish in top five - 66/1 E/W

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