Hank Lebioda has early lead at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Hank Lebioda has early lead at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH — Changes in weather and fortunes can happen without notice in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which seems to suit Hank Lebioda just fine these days.

Playing his sixth different course in his last six rounds on the PGA Tour, Lebioda ran off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch for an 8-under 63 on the Shore course at Monterey Peninsula and a one-shot lead after the opening round Thursday.

His big advantage was finishing before a pleasant day of mostly sunny, relatively calm conditions gave way to wind strong enough to bend flagsticks and force players to remove caps before they putted so they wouldn’t blow off.

Lebioda was among six players from the leading 12 scores who have yet to win on the PGA Tour. He doesn’t have a good recipe for success in tournaments with multiple courses except to be prepared for anything.

“This would be eight courses in three weeks for us,” said Lebioda, who missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and The American Express. “Three courses in Palm Springs, two last week in San Diego, and three this week. So the best thing you can do is take care of yourself, relax, and make sure you’re good to go.”

Three of the top four scores to par were at Monterey Peninsula. Kurt Kitayama made four straight birdies around the turn and had a bogey-free 64, while Harry Hall made five straight birdies and was tied for the lead until a late bogey on No. 8. He also had 64.

“The birdie streak on the front was pretty cool because I think I went bogey and then had a par on the second hole and then had five in a row. So it was really good,” Hall said. “Coming down the last two holes it started to blow 45 miles an hour. It was crazy. Happy to get in at 7 under today.”

Chad Ramey had a 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach. He was tied for the lead until going into the front bunker on the par-3 17th and taking bogey.

The best score at Spyglass Hill belonged to Keith Mitchell at 5-under 67. It was the only course where the average score was over par. Mitchell was alongside a pair of NFL quarterbacks. His amateur partner is Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, whose caddie for the week is Kyle Allen of the Houston Texans.

The change in weather was not terribly severe — it’s not like it snowed. Even so, it caused havoc among those trying to finish at Pebble Beach, the most exposed of the courses.

Will Gordon was tied for the lead to par at 8 under with three holes to play. From the middle of the 16th fairway into a strengthening wind, he came up 35 yards short of the back pin and made bogey. Dead into the wind on the par-3 17th to a right pin — the easiest location for three days to account for amateurs — he was some 30 yards short and dropped another shot.

He finished with a triple bogey, driving into the ocean rocks left of the fairway and having to reload. His approach into a strong wind coming off the ocean left him behind a tree, and he hit that over the green into a bunker.

In three holes, he went from tied for the lead to a tie for 24th.

The celebrity rotation was at Spyglass Hill, regarded as the toughest of the three in calm conditions. U.S Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and three-time major champion Jordan Spieth each managed a 71, while Viktor Hovland had a 70.

Hovland is playing the tournament for the first time, though he won the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach and was low amateur at Pebble in the 2019 U.S. Open.

Spieth, who won this event in 2017, was mixture of birdies and bogeys, and then had to hang on for dear life over the final hour when temperatures plunged and the wind began whipping.

Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/02/02/att-pebble-beach-pro-am-from-low-scores-to-bizarre-conditions-in-opening-round/

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