PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Brandt Snedeker and James Hahn are waging quite a battle in the day's final group.
Snedeker reached the par-5 second hole from 230 yards out and made a 4-footer for eagle after Hahn two-putted for birdie from 8. That moved the reigning FedExCup champ to 14 under while Hahn was 13 under.
Snedeker answered another Hahn birdie with one of his own at the fourth hole. The rookie converted from 10 feet to get to 14 under and Snedeker then made his from 9 to remain one stroke ahead.
Chris Kirk birdied his second and third holes to briefly pull into a tie for the lead. He remains at 13 under, though, and is two off the pace. Kirk's playing partner, Patrick Reed, is also 2 under for the day and 12 under for the tournament.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Birdie putts eluded Brandt Snedeker and James Hahn Sunday on the first hole of the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Hahn actually came the closest, leaving his 15-footer a mere 5 inches short. Snedeker's 13-footer ended up 21 inches away for the tap-in par.
Should Snedeker go on to win, it would be his fifth PGA TOUR victory and extend his exempt status through 2018. The reigning FedExCup champion would also add to his current points lead with his second win in six starts dating back to last year's TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Snedeker would also be the first player since 1990 to follow two consecutive runner-up finishes with a victory.
Hahn, on the other hand, would win for the first time in just his sixth career start on the PGA TOUR -- earning a spot in the Masters and PGA Championship in the process. The rookie would have job security, too, with exempt status through the end of the 2015 season.
Hahn would be the second 2012 Web.com Tour grad to win on TOUR this year -- Russell Henley at the Sony Open in Hawaii is the other -- and the seventh pro since 1970 to pick up his first win at Pebble Beach. He would also join K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Kevin Na and John Huh as TOUR champions of Korean descent.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- James Hahn birdied his last three holes at Spyglass Hill on a sun-drenched Saturday to pull even with Brandt Snedeker at the top of the leaderboard at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The PGA TOUR rookie fired a bogey-free 66 to finish at 12 under. Hahn, who grew up in the San Francisco bay area after moving to the United States from South Korea, used just 25 putts on a day when he hit 11 fairways and 12 greens in regulation.
Hahn and Snedeker are one stroke ahead of Chris Kirk, who has four holes remaining at Monterey Peninsula. Richard Lee iis finished at 9 under after a 66 at Pebble Beach while another TOUR rookie, Patrick Reed, is also at that number with one hole remaining on the Shore Course.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- PGA TOUR rookie James Hahn made headlines for his dance moves last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
His golf is garnering the recognition on Saturday a Spyglass Hills, though, as Hahn posted a trio of birdies in his first nine holes to move within three strokes off the lead held by Brandt Snedeker. Hahn is 9 under and tied with Patrick Cantlay.
Cantlay, the 20-year-old UCLA product, is playing Pebble Beach. He eagled the fifth hole with a 6-foot putt and added a 7-footer for birdie at No. 3.
Cantlay, who tied for 95th at q-school, is playing on a sponsor's exemption this week. He can earn special temporary membership by finishing in a three-way tie for second or better this week @attproam.
Cantlay missed the cut in his first two PGA TOUR starts this year.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- James Hahn says he's addicted to YouTube. And not just for those Sean Foley and Butch Harmon swing tips he searches out there, either.
"Once you're in the YouTube portal there's all those features links on the right and I've gone to some crazy places sitting in my bed at 2:30 in the morning watching gorillas pick their nose," Hahn said. "It's amazing what's on YouTube and I absolutely love it."
Even better, Hahn has now joined Foley, Harmon and his favorite wild animals as a part of YouTube, too, after celebrating his 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday with a "Gangnam Style" dance.
By Tuesday afternoon, when the 31-year-old Korean who grew up in the San Francisco bay area came into the interview room at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the video had been posted on YouTube more than 20 times. It had been viewed nearly 190,000 times -- with more than 138,000 of those coming at the PGA TOUR's channel.
Hahn, who is a rookie on the PGA TOUR this year, said he never rehearsed the dance made famous by Korean hip-hop artist Psy. Hahn had several other ideas in mind, too, so he was a little surprised when the gyrations started and his "inner child" came out.
"I've watched that golf tournament for the last ten years when I was a kid, and everyone as a grown up as a kid were saying, what would I do if I was on hole 16 in the final round and made birdie?" Hahn said. "I knew I wanted it to be something special, something fun, but it would only happen if I made birdie.
"There were a couple ideas I was thinking about doing. The Aaron Rodgers discount double check was high on the list. There's also the Tebow, everybody knows Tebow. The Beyonce (waving his left hand) 'if you like it then should you have put a ring on it,' everybody likes that one.
"And then the: If I made birdie, lifted up the putter, walked off the green and was possessed, and that's what came up."
The 15,000 or so people gathered at that amphitheater of a golf hole loved the dance, and his buddies keep asking for a repeat performance. Hahn was also impressed at reception he got when the man nicknamed the "Asian Brad Pitt" by his clothing sponsor, Travis Matthew, stepped to the tee.
"They did their homework and they were chanting that," Hahn said with a grin. "It was fun to be a part of the environment, the experience, and so on Saturday, made double bogey and I got booed for the first time in a week and I actually loved it.
"And then to come back out and birdie it on Sunday, that was kind of what dreams are made of."
Hahn is living his dream this year everywhere he plays on the PGA TOUR. He's made four cuts and has two top-20 finishes, including a tie for fourth at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
"I've come into the season with no expectations," Hahn said. "And my expectations have not changed. Now, I expect myself to shank some shots. I expect myself to miss some 3 footers. But I also have some goals that I strive for; making cuts is one of them. I know it sounds very small, but you can't win a golf tournament if you don't make the cut.
"And also, learning to be a better golfer and learning to just be comfortable out on this TOUR and to allow my talent to come out. I think most of the times when I try really hard or I want something really bad, that's when I do my worst. So for me, it's about being in a comfort zone and having fun out here.
"I told my wife, coming into the season, if it was the first year of 20 or if it was the first and last year on the PGA TOUR, that I would embrace every year that I have out here on TOUR, and I think I've done so far, and I think I'm just going to ride that wave till the end."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- James Hahn says his cell phone has been "blowing up," and as if on cue, it rings.
"Sorry guys, I apologize. It's my mom," the PGA TOUR rookie grins as he sends the call to voice mail. She would have to wait for the specifics of the 67 that left him tied for the lead at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Hahn, who is playing in just his third TOUR event, was simply having too much fun entertaining the media at that moment in time. And he's smart enough, and he's been through enough, to realize that the good times don't always last.
"Any time that I play a good round, it feels good and makes me cherish the momentum a little bit more," Hahn said.
The 31-year-old started playing golf when he was 4, two years after he moved with his family to California from Korea. His father ran a driving range near the Oakland airport and Hahn calls himself a "Tin Cup kind of guy, just a driving-range rat" who learned the game from his dad and watching players like Davis Love III and Greg Norman on TV.
"I met Davis Love for the first time today, and I remember watching golf when he was in his prime and he still is in his prime, I think, a good long 20 years," Hahn said. "But I remember my dad would bring me in whenever these stars would be on the TV and he would say, 'Hey, I want you to swing like this guy.' And back then I guess that was the old school YouTube. In real-time, I guess."
It's been years since Hahn had a lesson -- TV or otherwise -- from his father, whose dream was to see Hahn or his older brother make it to the PGA TOUR. Instead of seeking counsel from Butch Harmon or Hank Haney or Sean Foley, though, Hahn can be found at his computer searching YouTube.
"And you guys might joke about that, about me," Hahn said. "... I mean, these are some really big names and I go on YouTube, so I just want to make my swing look pretty and I think it's been working so far."
Hahn was good enough to play golf at UC-Berkeley -- for a little while, at least. Extra curricular activities -- "college life," Hahn said with a shrug -- got in the way so the coach soured on him and put him on the bench. Hahn quit the team as a senior, which he says he regrets to this day, then went on to graduate and turn pro.
"I could have done a little differently, looking back, but for how young I was and how much, how stubborn I was back then, it's hard to blame kids for being kids," said Hahn.
The year after he graduated, the Bears won the NCAAs "and the running joke was they finally had to kick James off the team to win a championship," Hahn reported. It hurt. A lot. He admits to walking around with a chip on his shoulder for several years.
"When I graduated from college, I had every excuse in the book," Hahn said. "My parents weren't wealthy, we never belonged to a country club, I bought my golf clubs off e Bay, you know, we just never really had that much money for me to pursue golf as a career. So I was basically just making every excuse why I would not be successful."
And in a self-fulfilling prophecy, his first year as a pro wasn't a success. So Hahn quit the game and held a variety of odd jobs, working in an advertising agency and selling women's shoes at a department store.
Hahn grew up, though, and refocused himself. He eventually won on what is now called PGA TOUR Canada and the Web.Com Tour, earning his TOUR card when he finished sixth on the money list last year.
And depending on what happens over the next 36 holes in the California desert, reality just might become better than any dream Hahn has ever had.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- A year ago, Roberto Castro had modest goals when he played in the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
After all, the popular stop in the desert was just the second event in Castro's rookie year. He wanted to stay patient, and he felt if he could just break par for each nine he would be "hanging in there."
But Castro, who ended up tying for 42nd in 2012, has a different mindset this year. You've got to "get it going and keep it going," Castro learned, and that's exactly what he's done over the first two rounds.
Castro played the Palmer Private Course on Friday and shot 67 that enabled him to maintain a share of the lead with James Hahn, who shot the same score at La Quinta. Both players had opened with rounds of 63, as did Jason Kokrak.
Scott Stallings and Darron Stiles, who both played La Quinta, and Richard H. Lee, who birdied the last hole at the Palmer Course, are all one shot off the lead after rounds of 65. Kokrak is among nine players tied at 12 under, two strokes off the pace.
Joining Kokrak in a tie for sixth are rookies Lee Williams and David Lingmerth, Zach Johnson, Kevin Stadler, Charles Howell III, Greg Chalmers, Charley Hoffman and Aaron Baddeley. The best rounds among that group came from Lingmerth, who shot 8 under, and Williams and Howell, who shot 65s -- all on the Nicklaus Course.
Russell Henley, last week's winner who only had three bogeys in the first 90 holes of his rookie campaign, had a more adventurous round on Friday but remains in contention at 11 under. Henley had four birdies and an eagle in the second round but also dropped three shots to par.
The cut will be made on Saturday after everyone has played each of the three courses. Phil Mickelson, who is tied for 91st, still has some work to do -- although his round of 67 was five strokes better than his opener and a definite step in the right direction.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Don't look now but Robert Garrigus is cllmbing the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Garrigus, you might remember, tied for second at last year's tournament in the desert -- one of four runner-up finishes he had in PGA TOUR events last year. He also tied for second in Malaysia.
Garrigus, who is making his 2013 debut at the Humana Challange, started on the back nine at La Quinta on Friday and has gone birdie-eagle-birdie to move to 10 under. He's tied with overnight co-leader, Jason Kokrak, and the two are one shot off the lead.
Roberto Castro and James Hahn, who were the other two first-round pacesetters, have played five and four holes, respectively, and are both 2 under for the day and 11 under for the tournament. Castro is playing the Palmer Course at PGA West while Hahn is at La Quinta.
Russell Henley, last week's stunning rookie winner at the Sony Open in Hawaii, continues to play well. He's 1 under through four holes at the Palmer Course and tied with Ryan Palmer and Greg Chalmers at 9 under.
Phil Mickelson, who struggled with his putter and shot even par on Thursday, is giving himself a shot at playing the entire weekend. He's on the Nicklaus Course and has birdied four of his first seven holes to move to 4 under, which is currently tied for 62nd. The cut will be made on Saturday after everyone has played each of the three courses in the rotation.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- James Hahn has known he wanted to play the PGA TOUR since he was 9 years old. There were times, though, that the dream must have seemed elusive.
The 31-year-old, who graduated from Cal-Berkley in 2003, fueled his golf career by working at an advertising agency, earning a realtor's license and selling women's shoes at Nordstrom. Hahn played on what is now known as PGA TOUR Canada, in Korea and on the Web.com Tour, too.
But he never lost sight of his goal, and Thursday, in just the rookie's second start of the season, Hahn found himself tied for the lead at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Hahn fired a 63 on the Palmer Course at PGA West, which is considered the most challenging of the three in the tournament rotation, to move to the top of the leaderboard with Roberto Castro and Jason Kokrak. He went out in 30 -- eventually making five straight birdies as he made the turn -- and gained a ton of confidence in the process.
"Today was a great day," Hahn said. "I have nothing to complain about. But selling women's shoes I would come home, there's some good stories I could tell you, maybe go grab a beer in the back or something I would rattle them off to you.
"But I've had a lot of jobs, but every job that I had was a great experience for me. Because I just like challenges, I like new opportunities. And I feel like that's the only way that we can grow as people."
As Hahn spoke to reporters, another rookie, Russell Henley slipped into the interview room. Last week's surprise Sony Open in Hawaii champion was one stroke off the lead, and Hahn couldn't resist taking a good-natured jab at his fellow Web.com Tour grad.
"I don't ever take a day like this for granted," Hahn said. "I see Russell Henley walking into the room right now and it's just a pleasure to be in his presence. So it definitely, I remind myself every day and every time I have a hard day, we have bad rounds too and bad days and we miss cuts and whatnot and we feel like the whole world's falling down, tearing apart and whatnot.
"So for me it brings me back to, well, you know, I chose to do this for a living, so don't complain. And secondly, it's something outside, so let's have a good time."
That's exactly what Hahn did on Thursday, too.