Californian Bertoni a Big Hit in San Fran

The Tour heads west for the Stonebrae Classic from the TPC Stonebrae in California. The event started in 2009, but wasn't held in 2013, and the winner last year was big hitting Tony Finau. It starts fairly soon and will be underway at 3pm UK Time on Thursday 16th July.

The Course

TPC Stonebrae is situated in the hillside above Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco. It's an open, links-esque, course winding its way up and down the hillside for 7,100 yards and it's a par 70. It was previously held in April prior to last year
I also note that big hitter Tony Finau did well here last year, whilst my pick last year and in 2011 was Luke List another big hitter.
The winners of event here have been:
Year Player Score Players Under Par Winning Margin
Tony Finau
No Event
Alex Aragon
Daniel Chopra
Kevin Chappell
Michael Sim
With the change of date from April to early August last year the event played easier, although that may also be as it played 76 yards shorter. So mixed scoring really, 2 easy year, last year and 2010, and tougher in the other years, Sim won by 6 in 2009 so scoring was tougher than his winning score suggested. Whilst 2011 was weather affected and only 54 holes played.

The Contenders

No player in the field has more than one top ten here and Alex Aragon is the only past winner, on his only appearance in 2012. Although that was in tougher scoring and so he averages 67.50 which is 12th best in the fiel, and 75% (3/4) rounds under par is in a big tie for 6th. He started the season well with two top ten's in his first five events, but since then has been poor, missing 6 of his last 7 cuts and 36th in the Rust Oleum Championship four events ago. Went to nearby Stanford Uni.
With the best average here having not played last year is Jamie Lovemark who was 5th in 2010 when the course also played slightly easier. His average round of 67.25 is 8th best, and another with 75% of rounds under par. In good form with 14th, 8th, 18th, 10th & 23rd last week, and the standout performance there is the 18th which was at the US Open, a performance which makes him the favourite this week.
Also in good form is Michael Kim who has been 8th, 3rd when I backed him at the Rust-Oleum Championship, 34th, & 5th last week. He was 14th on debut here last year and one of two in the field to have 4 from 4 rounds under par, at 66.50 he also has the 4th best average round.
Tying Kim in 14th last year was Travis Bertoni, with the California native also 19th in 2011. The rain affected event in 2011 means he has 5 from 7 rounds under par at 71% and an average round of 67.43 which is 11th best in the field. Form has been ok with 5 top 25's in his last 8 events including 3rd & 23rd in the last two weeks, although that was off the back of a missed cut in Wichita.
I guess I can't ignore my old favourite here in Luke List who was 12th on debut in 2010, I backed him in 2011 and he sat 2nd at 100-1 after three rounds before the final one was cancelled. However has missed the cut in his last two visits in 2012 & last year. Averages 68.55 which is 2th best and 73% (8/11) rounds under par. Does not arrive in great form with a missed cut last week and 57th & 56th before that, 18th in the Rust Oleum was ok, and a best of 6th in Mexico earlier in the year.

My Selection

Time has got the better of me and so as tempting as Kim & Lovemark are with their good records and recent form, I think I am going to go with Travis Bertoni. In good form in recent weeks and a couple of good results in his two visits here, without hitting the heights. Also a Californian so home support as well.