|Tim Herron, watching his tee shot on Poppy Hills' No. 8, shot a 3-under 69 for the lead. (BEN MARGOT/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Tim Herron was so frustrated that he changed putters for the first time in seven years at a tournament renowned for having some of the most unpredictable greens on the PGA Tour.
Desperation slowly gave way to satisfaction yesterday in the AT&T Pebble Beach (Calif.) National Pro-Am when Herron shot a 3-under-par 69 at Poppy Hills and emerged with a one-shot lead in a tournament loaded with possibilities.
"Everyone who makes the cut is going to be right in the tournament," said Herron, who was at 7-under 137.
The cut won't be made until after today, when the 180-man field has played all three courses in the rotation, but one look at the muddled leaderboard makes it perfectly clear what Herron is talking about.
A 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Poppy gave him a one-shot lead over FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes, Robert Floyd, Michael Allen, and Nicholas Thompson, who was tied for the lead until missing a 20-inch putt on Pebble Beach's No. 8, his 17th hole.
Holmes was fortunate to stay one shot behind after his tee shot on the 18th at Pebble Beach dropped into that big water hazard left of the fairway known as the Pacific Ocean. He took a drop, belted a fairway metal onto the green, and two-putted for par.
Jason Day, the 20-year-old Australian and youngest member of the PGA Tour, had a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was among a half-dozen players at 5-under 139.
Three dozen players were within four shots of the lead.
That group did not include defending champion Phil Mickelson, who played his final 11 holes at Spyglass with no birdies and three bogeys for a 72, although he still was in range at 1-under 143.
"This is the round that could've been," Mickelson said. "I really could have had it going. I had a number of birdie opportunities to be well under par and just gave it away."
Mickelson joins the movie stars and corporate VIPs at Pebble Beach today, when the tournament might finally take shape.
"If I shoot a good round tomorrow . . . at Pebble, you can shoot 6 or 7 under and get back in it, and that's what I need to do," he said.
But those rounds have been hard to find.
The peninsula has rarely been this majestic for the AT&T, but those blue skies have been accompanied by a cool, stiff breeze that has made scoring higher than unusual. Ryan Palmer has the best score at Pebble this week, a 65 that was 13 shots better than his opening round.
Davis Love was disappointed when he walked off Pebble Beach with a 71 until he looked at the leaderboard behind the green and realized his 3-under 141 was right in the mix. "It's harder than you think," Love said. "The ball isn't going anywhere."
Champions - Mark McNulty holed an 86-foot chip for eagle on the par-5 18th for a 6-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with Jerry Pate in the
"It's always a big bonus to finish like that," McNulty said. "You're trying to put it in birdie range . . . then on 18, whammo!"
Jay Haas, the leader most of the day before dropping back with bogeys on 14 and 16, was at 67 along with Bobby Wadkins, Tom Purtzer, Scott Hoch, Keith Fergus, Gil Morgan, and Phil Blackmar.
European - Damien McGrane of Ireland shot a 3-under 69 (8-under 136) for a two-stroke lead over Hendrik
Ernie Els shot 70 to avoid the cut by two, but sits tied for 44th.
European Ladies - Australian Nikki Garrett holed a bunker shot for eagle and finished with a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over 10 players after the opening round of the ANZ Australian Ladies Masters in Gold Coast.
Seven months after it opened for public play, Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., can start preparing for the US Open.
Chambers Bay, a links-style course built over a former gravel pit along the lower Puget Sound southwest of Seattle, was awarded the 2015 US Open, it was announced at the USGA's annual meeting in Houston yesterday. It will be the first US Open held in the Pacific Northwest.
"This is the first time the US Open has been to Washington, and we are confident that the golf course will provide a challenging test for the best players in the world," said Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA's championship committee.