Luke Donald was in the group ahead when Phil Mickelson blistered Spyglass Hill last year for a course-record 62. He remembers being amazed at the score, and hearing how it would be a long time before anyone else could do that at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
''It only took 365 days," Donald said yesterday. ''I'm glad it was me."
Taking advantage of weather that approached perfection, Donald holed out for eagle from 96 yards, strung together birdies, and wound up matching Mickelson's record with a 10-under-par 62 to take a one-shot lead over Mike Weir in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Not many could recall conditions so pure at Pebble Beach, where there was no trace of a cloud or a breeze and temperatures were pushing 80 degrees.
No one remembered Spyglass being such a pushover, either.
Traditionally the toughest among the three courses at Pebble Beach, it played as the easiest yesterday with an average score of 70.48. Dating to 2000, Spyglass has never had an average score under par.
It still required good golf, and Donald delivered. After missing a 10-foot birdie putt on his opening hole, No. 10, he ran off three consecutive birdies, one a 45-foot putt on the par-3 12th. Then came his sand wedge from 96 yards to a hole location on the front shelf of the green that dropped for eagle, and another birdie on the 15th.
''Not much was going wrong," Donald said. ''I didn't really threaten to make bogey today."
Mickelson went wire-to-wire to win last year after his 62, taking a seven-shot lead into the final round. He shot 67 to finish tied for 10th.
Yesterday, Donald was only one ahead of Weir, who recovered from a sloppy start to make five straight birdies along Stillwater Cove.
The low score at Poppy Hills, usually the easiest of the three courses because it has five par 5s, came from Arron Oberholser. He responded to back-to-back bogeys with laughter, then ran off four birdies over his next five holes and finished with a 7-under 65. He was joined by Michael Allen (Spyglass) and Nick Watney (Pebble Beach).
Johnnie Walker Classic -- Kevin Stadler and defending champion Adam Scott shot 8-under 64s in Perth, Australia, to share the first-round lead at the $2.1 million event sanctioned by the European, Asian, and Australasian tours. South Korea's K.J. Choi was at 65.