Daily Wrap-up: Round 4, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmFebruary 13, 2011
Staff and wire reports
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- D.A. Points won for the first time on the PGA TOUR and wasn't even the biggest star.
That's what made this Pebble Beach National Pro-Am so special.
Third-round coverage GOOD FUN LEADS TO GOOD GOLF: It was the chemistry between D.A. Points and Bill Murray that was key to a successful week at Pebble Beach writes Helen Ross. Column CINDERELLA STORY: It was a victory two decades in the making, but Bill Murray finally reached the top at Pebble Beach. Story JUST GETTING STARTED: Phil Mickelson hasn't won since the Masters last year, but his strong play to open the season is a good sign of things to come. Story
Points grew up idolizing Bill Murray, whether it was his "Caddyshack" role as the assistant greenskeeper at Bushwood or his antics at Pebble Beach over the years. To have him as an amateur partner made this week great before it even started.
Then came Sunday, when Points holed out from 100 yards for eagle on the diabolical 14th at Pebble Beach to take the lead. That carried him to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot victory. Making it even sweeter, they won the pro-am title, a first for Murray, who now gets his name on the wall below the first tee.
This really was a Cinderella story.
"It's a dream come true," Points said. "To win on the PGA TOUR, and especially at Pebble Beach, and especially with Bill Murray ... I don't think I could dream this up."
Indeed, it was surreal at times.
One shot behind and facing the scariest shot at Pebble Beach that doesn't involve the Pacific Ocean, Points hit a gap wedge that barely cleared the bunker on the par-5 14th, landed in the first cut of rough and trickled down the slope and into the hole. He followed that with a bending, 30-foot birdie putt for a two-stroke lead that made Murray laugh because he didn't know what else to do.
And when Points felt his greatest pressure, he had some comic relief of his own.
He faced a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole, and when his caddie asked him how he felt, Points replied, "Not very good." That's when he decided to take a page from Murray. As his partner stood over a long putt, Points hollered at him, "The crowd would be really happy if you could make that."
The gallery roared with laughter. Murray narrowly missed. More importantly, Points made his putt and sailed home with easy pars.
"It totally took me out of the moment for just enough to kind of help bring me back to life a little bit," Points said.
Hunter Mahan shot a 31 on the front nine and twice was tied for the lead on the back nine. He birdied the 17th with a tee shot inside 3 feet, then reached the par-5 18th in two. But he three-putted for par, missing a 4-foot birdie putt.
Ultimately, it didn't matter. Mahan closed with a 66 and wound up alone in second, two shots behind.
Steve Marino, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, never caught up after Points made his eagle from the 14th fairway. Marino missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th to get within one, then slammed his driver to the turf on the 18th when his tee shot sailed into a bunker to the right.
Marino hit his third shot into the ocean and made a triple-bogey 8 that mattered only in his bank account. Not making a par to share second place was the difference of $327,200.
Tom Gillis closed with a 70 and finished alone in third.
Points and Murray won the pro-am tournament by two shots. The trophy was locked up with Points' par on the 18th when Murray announced his "big putt" that was meaningless. He then mimicked some dialogue from the "Cinderella Story" scene in Caddyshack, when Murray swatted at flowers with his scythe and imagined the greenskeeper on the verge of winning the Masters.
"It's in the hole!!!!"
Not quite. As the putt headed toward the cup, Murray jogged over to tap it while it was still moving, then thrust his arms in the air.
"The only chance D.A. had to win was if I could make it through the entire week without ever asking what the initials 'D.A.' stand for," Murray said. "And I didn't. And he's the champion."
In case he cares, they stand for Darren Andrews.
Murray also won the pro-am title in the Pebble Beach event on the Champions Tour with Scott Simpson, his longtime partner at Pebble Beach who played the straight man to Murray's routine.
It's not always easy playing with Murray, who constantly engages the crowd and bought ice cream bars for them on the back nine.
Some of his previous partners have quietly asked that someone else play with Murray.
Points was all too happy.
"Everybody all week kept saying, 'You got the short end of the stick,'" Points said. "I never, ever felt that way. I tried to embrace it. He just seemed to have fun, and he taught me to go ahead and have a little more fun. And in turn, it distracted me from trying so hard. It kept me loose and having a good time with Bill."
Is this a new tandem?
"I'm thinking of turning pro," Murray said. "I probably won't. It's really nice to play with a gentleman. He's a good person. He's from Illinois. He's Lincoln-esque in stature and unfailingly polite."
Points showed that as he walked off the 18th green and said to the gallery, "Everyone, thank you for coming."
Shot of the Day: D.A. Points
D.A. Points dunks his approach from the fairway on the 14th hole for an eagle which vaults him into the lead.
He put on quite a show.
Points started the final round two shots out of the lead, stayed in range and was flawless on the back nine. His big run started with an 8-foot birdie on the 10th hole, and then came his magical run.
For the second straight year, the pivotal hole at Pebble Beach turned out to be the 14th -- this time for a good score. A year ago, Paul Goydos, Bryce Molder and Alex Prugh all had a chance to win until they made 9s on the par 5.
A few groups earlier, Phil Mickelson hit a 64-degree wedge that landed a foot on the green and rolled off to the left, down the slope. Points hit a gap wedge that was perfect, because it had to be. The ball landed in the first cut of rough, hopped onto the green and had just enough spin to slow to a trickle as it dropped.
His only mistake on the back nine was the chest-bump he tried to execute with Murray. They ran toward each other, and Points began to leap as Murray was landing. It looked bad, but it was an eagle 3 on the card.
Equally important was the birdie that followed, and Points was on his way.
Pebble Beach: Round 4 EASIEST HOLE TOUGHEST HOLE The par-5 6th hole was the easiest with a Sunday scoring average of 4.352.
EAGLES: 5 BIRDIES: 37 PARS: 28 BOGEYS: 1 OTHER: 0
The par-4 9th hole was the toughest with a Sunday scoring average of 4.380.
EAGLES: 0 BIRDIES: 1 PARS: 44
BOGEYS: 22 OTHERS: 4
About the winner • D.A. Points entered the day two strokes behind Steve Marino (74) but turned in a final-round 5-under 67 to defeat Hunter Mahan by two strokes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The highlight of the round for the 34-year-old native of Pekin, IL was a holed shot for eagle from 100 yards on the par-5 14th hole. • Points becomes just the sixth player since 1970 to earn his first win at this event, joining John Cook (1981), Steve Jones (1988), Brett Ogle (1993), Matt Gogel (2002) and Arron Oberholser (2006). • Points and actor/comedian Bill Murray also won the Pro-Am competition. Since 1987, just four champions have also won the Pro-Am portion of the event: 2006-Arron Oberholser, 2007- Phil Mickelson, 2009-Dustin Johnson (T1, 54-hole event), 2011-D.A. Points. • Murray, who began playing in the event in 1992, had his previous-best finish in 2005 (fourth with Scott Simpson). He is the first entertainer to win the event since Kenny G (with Phil Mickelson) in 2001. • With the victory, Points collects 500 FedExCup points and moves to No. 2 in the standings with 688 points, 320 behind leader Mark Wilson. • Points, a four-time Nationwide Tour winner, records the 294th win on the PGA TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour member and the sixth in as many starts this season, joining Jonathan Byrd, Mark Wilson (2), Jhonattan Vegas and Bubba Watson. The previous record for most wins to start the season was three in 2001 and 2006. The most wins in a row at any point in a season is seven (spring of 2006).
He won for the first time in 128 starts on the PGA TOUR. This earned him $1.134 million -- more than he has made in any of his previous four seasons on TOUR -- a two-year exemption and his first trip to Masters.