The first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is in the books and there are some very interesting developments.
First of all, in order of difficulty from hardest to easiest, the three courses shake out like this: Spyglass, Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula. So as in the Humana Challenge in Palm Springs which is also played on three courses, you can’t really tell how the horse race is going until everybody has played all three courses.
At Spyglass, these are the best scores:
Nick Watney, Kevin Na, -6
Bob Estes -5
Tiger Woods, Russell Knox, Sang-Moon Bae, Greg Owen, -4
It is no surprise that two solid players like Watney and Na are leading at Spyglass. With its opening ocean holes, heavy air and tree-lined fairways once you get up into the trees at the 6th, that course is unbelievably hard and 6-under is great score. It is a measure of just how good Tour players are.
Bob Estes turned in another great round at 5-under, but most notably, Tiger Woods is just two back on the Spyglass leaderboard. On the tournament leaderboard, he is T15 and way down the board because he was the last of the 4-unders on the page. Quite a different portrayal than just looking at Spyglass. He’s in great shape.
At Pebble Beach:
Dustin Johnson, Danny Lee, -9
Ken Duke, Brian Harman, -8
Graham DeLaet, -6
Brendon Todd, -5
Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner of the AT&T and as the leader on both the Big board and the Pebble board, he looks like he’s serious about winning a third one. Danny Lee just graduated from the Nationwide Tour with a T8 in the Championship and finishing 6th on the money list.
But my favorite surprise on the Pebble board is Ken Duke because I just did an interview and story on him last week in Phoenix. He really impressed me with his steadiness on the course and his tenacity in pursuing his career. I liked him and I liked the story. His front nine was a little spotty, but on the back nine he shot a course record 28, two strokes better than the old record.
At Monterey Peninsula:
Charlie Wi, -9
Josh Teater, -6
Daniel Summerhays, Richard H. Lee, Hunter Mahan, -5
Joseph Bramlett, Aaron Baddeley, Nathan Green, -4
For as easy as Monterey Peninsula was supposed to be, there was only one really low score by Charlie Wi at 9-under, only Teater at -6 and very few -5s and -4s.
Of particular note is Hunter Mahan tucked in there at 5-under. He didn’t get a lot of ink this week, but there he sits. He’s only played in La Jolla this year where he finished T6 (and in 2011 too) and it is more than a little interesting that he finished 2nd in last year’s AT&T.
So this is a much more illuminating way to look at the tournament when you have multiple venues and it tells us a lot: it’s only Day 1 and, ladies and gentlemen, we do indeed have a horse race.
With cool weather coming in Saturday along with possible showers, Friday would be a real good day to throw another low number up on the board.
The Spyglass players move on to Monterey Peninsula, who move on to Pebble, who move on to Spyglass.