Other than a bit of fog at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago, the weather has not been a huge factor in the early 2014 season. That has changed as the PGA Tour reached The Monterrey Peninsula for The Pebble Beach Pro Am this week. There was a three-hour rain-delay on Thursday that forced a Friday finish, and Friday was full of rain and wind. There’s more of the nasty stuff forecasted for the weekend. Professional golfers can deal with rain, but wind, especially the kind that blows in the Carmel Bay can turn easy par three’s into missed cuts at the end of the day.
If you have to play in a tough wind, what is better than having a couple of Texans sharing the lead. Two-time winner in 2014, Jimmy Walker, and 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth are both from Texas, played different courses on Friday, but ended up at the same place. At the top of the leaderboard at -9 under par.
Walker shot a bogey-free -3 under par 69 at Spyglass Hill, and Spieth a -4 under 67 at the easier, Monterrey Peninsula Country Club. Both players have a one-shot lead over Hunter Mahan who also played Spyglass and got in the clubhouse carding a 68. Mahan is alone in second place at -8 under par.
Jimmy Walker has a slight advantage when they get underway on Saturday. He moves to the easier Monterrey Peninsula course, and Jordan will have to take on the links at Pebble Beach.
Walker made some tough par saves and wound up bogey-free at Spyglass Hill with a 3-under 69. Spieth was down the coast at Monterey Peninsula, where he called the birdie on his final hole the best of his life. He’s only 20, but it was a proud moment.
“Today was very difficult,” Spieth said. “We started out in the rain and wind, and we finished in rainier and windier,” he said.
Three-time Pro Am winner, Phil Mickelson hit the ball well on Friday, but was frustrated with his putter. He even went to the claw at one point while playing at Pebble Beach. He three-putted from five feet on the second hole for a double bogey, and it didn’t get any better throughout the day.
His day ended with a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole, and a one over par 73 total on the round. His 66 on Thursday at the MPCC course has him at -4 under par, and still within striking range. Unfortunately, there is a 75% chance of more rain and wind on Saturday when he moves to Spyglass Hill.
“Tee to green, I’m playing very well, but I haven’t putted this poorly in a year,” he said. “For the way I’m hitting it, it’s a little disappointing because I should have a really good opportunity. And I’ll have to turn it around. It’s not too late, but I’ve got to get it turned around here.”
“What’s the forecast tomorrow? More of this? Cool,” Mickelson said with a deadpan delivery. “We’ve had a great run of weather … so we certainly can’t complain. It’s sometimes a fun challenge to play out here as the reigning Scottish and British Open champion. I don’t really mind the elements, but I do have to get this putter worked out.”
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