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Expert Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

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This week the PGA Tour heads to scenic Pebble Beach, where Phil Mickelson returns to defend his title after a dominating performance in Phoenix. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Brandt Snedeker: The second-highest ranked American has been the game's best (non-living legend division) the last two weeks, and he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Group 2: Rafael Cabrera-Bello: Spaniard joins a growing number of Europeans testing the PGA Tour waters this year, and given his recent record (he hasn't missed a cut anywhere since last October), American galleries shouldn't be surprised.

Group 3: Charlie Beljan: Despite a slow start to 2013 for the Disney champion (three missed cuts in four starts), the laid-back atmosphere at the 'Clambake' should be a perfect fit for him.

Group 4: James Driscoll: It's been feast or famine for Driscoll at Pebble Beach (seven starts, four missed cuts, two top-25 finishes), but following last year's three-round MDF (54-hole cut) he seems due for a solid week.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Hunter Mahan: Everyone else is going to take Dustin Johnson here (right? right), so I'll zig when they zag and go with another long hitter instead.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: After looking good on the weekend in Phoenix, Palmer was still talking about reaching the Match Play, which may mean he needs to win this week.

Group 3: James Hahn: Gangnam Style dancing notwithstanding, Hahn's final-round 62 should give him good vibes heading back to his NorCal home.

Group 4: Steve Marino: Still severely under-ranked based on missing most of last year; gotta jump on him before he jumps into another category.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: With a win under his belt this season and two wins at Pebble Beach, he's the surest bet for the week, despite his W/D at Sony and T-51 finish a couple weeks ago at Torrey Pines.

Group 2: Tim Clark: He opened his season strong with a runner-up finish at the Sony Open, and on the Monterey Peninsula he has three top 10s and five top 25s since 2003.

Group 3: Ricky Barnes: He hasn't played on the weekend in his last two starts, but prior to that he had back-to-back top-20 finishes. Barnes shines at high-profile venues like Pebble Beach, where he finished third last year.

Group 4: Steve Marino: Playing this season on a major medical extension, he has earned more than $100,000 in three starts on his quest to keep his playing privileges. The last time he teed it up here, he finished T-4 in 2011 following a solo fourth-place finish in 2010.  


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: Has already won this season, and he returns to an event that he has won twice.

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: Hasn't missed a cut since July, and was T-9 here in back-to-back years.

Group 3: Billy Horschel: Has posted a pair of top-11 finishes in four starts this season, pushing his made-cuts streak to 15.

Group 4: Steve Marino: Was T-15 in his last start, and had fourth-place finishes here in both 2010 and 2011.


Randall Mell

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: Johnson wins for the third time at Pebble Beach, his West Coast home away from home.

Group 2: Aaron Baddeley: A pretty good record at Pebble Beach, wiht a fourth and T-6 in his last two starts there.

Group 3: Ken Duke: There are good memories to build upon from his T-7 finish at Pebble Beach last year.

Group 4: Steve Marino: Coming off good play in San Diego, with a pair of fourth-place finishes at Pebble Beach to build upon.


Norm Macdonald (Celebrity guest)

Group 1: Webb Simpson

Group 2: Brendon de Jonge

Group 3: Luke List

Group 4: Jeff Maggert