ORLANDO, Fla. -- Spencer Levin said earlier that he felt he got a lot out of his round because he didn’t hit it nearly as well as he scored. And so far, his 2-under 70 is standing up with Levin holding a two-shot lead over Steve Marino and Charles Howell, who had the low round of the day with a 65.
Right behind Howell and Marino, though, is Rickie Fowler, who is 3 under on his round with two holes to play and 6 under for the week. Hunter Mahan is right there, too. He’s 2 under on the day and one shot back of Fowler.
Phil Mickelson? He’s gone backwards today at 3 over through 14 holes to drop to even par for the tournament.
The sixth hole proved to be Mickelson’s waterloo, so to speak, with the left-hander rinsing his tee shot and then hitting his next one into a fairway bunker. Mickelson was forced to lay up from there before eventually finishing with a triple-bogey 8.
As for the cut line, it’s currently at 4 over. As a point of reference, the highest cut this season was 6 over at the par-70 PGA National. The highest cut in tournament history was 10 over in 1983.
Those currently outside the cut line include Bill Haas (still on the course), Camilo Villegas, Sean O’Hair (on the course), Ryo Ishikawa, Graeme McDowell and Jhonattan Vegas. -- Brian Wacker
ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Rickie Fowler said earlier in the week, patience is certainly a virtue in a golf tournament. As far as Steve Marino’s goes, it’s pretty good.
“Obviously I've dealt with a couple of disappointments,” said Marino, who has finished in the top 10 20 times and in the top 3 five times in his still relatively young career. “But every single one of those experiences, I felt like I've played pretty well. It's just something was missing to kind of get me over the top; a good break here or a putt to drop in there, and that's how it is out here.”
After a 67 Friday, Marino is again in contention. He made six birdies and just one bogey in the second round at Bay Hill and is 6 under for the week.
“Everybody is so good out here, that every shot is so precious, that to win a golf tournament, you can't really afford to throw away any shots,” Marino continued. “Unfortunately the times that I've been in contention, I've just maybe thrown away one or two here and there, and you just can't afford to do that.”
He certainly didn’t throw many away on Friday -- though he did miss two putts from inside seven feet.
Still, Marino is in good position and hoping to erase a number of near-misses, including one from earlier this year at Pebble Beach, where he tied for second.
What has Marino learned from all the close calls?
”I put myself in those positions a number of times and if I wasn't doing the right things, then I wouldn't be in those positions to succeed or win a tournament,” he said. “Every time I put myself in a position like that, it gives me more confidence; no matter if I don't win or if I don't play well, it just gives me the confidence to know that if I put ‑‑ if I'm able to get there, I'm able to finish it off.
“If I have the game to do what it takes to get to that point, it's just a matter of time for me until I just keep doing the same things and finish one off.” -- Brian Wacker
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Spencer Levin still has the lead after a 2-under 70 Friday at Bay Hill. For how long is another question.
At one point, Levin led by as many as six strokes at 9 under for the week, but a couple of bogeys on the back nine, couples with ideal scoring conditions on what’s been a practically windless day, led to that lead being cut to just two.
The one player to take advantage of those conditions so far? Steve Marino. He shot a 67 and trails Levin by just two.
Marino had six birdies and just one bogey and continued to stripe his irons -- he hit 75 percent of his greens in regulation through two rounds.
Marino might not be the only one near the top when the day ends, though. Charles Howell III has also climbed into contention at 5 under through 14 holes, while Rickie Fowler made a birdie on his first hole to get within four.
Dicky Pride has the day’s best round going, however. He’s 8 under through 13 holes with birdies on seven of his last eight holes. Only two of those birdies came from outside of 10 feet. -- Brian Wacker
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Steve Marino has yet to win in any of his 124 previous starts on the PGA TOUR, but he’s putting himself in position to change that this week.
Marino, who has 20 career top-10s, is 5 under on his round today and 6 under for the week, which puts him near the top of the leaderboard here early in Round 2.
The key to Marino’s week so far? Good ball-striking and putting. He’s hit 76 1/2 percent of his greens in regulation so gar and is averaging 1.731 putts per green in regulation. Marino has missed a couple of putts from inside 10 feet today, but he’s also made two from 10-15 feet and another from 15-20 feet.
Twice this year Marino has finished in the top 5 -- he tied for second at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for fourth at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. -- Brian Wacker
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – What a difference a week makes. At least for Jimmy Walker on this particular Sunday
He entered the final round of last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am one stroke off the lead and played in the final group with Steve Marino. Walker, who was bidding for his first PGA TOUR victory, shot a 75 that sent him tumbling down the leaderboard into a tie for ninth.
But it was Walker’s second top-10 of the season, and he brought that momentum with him to Los Angeles where he’s contending again Sunday at the Northern Trust Open.
The 2004 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year has just made the turn after shooting a bogey-free 31 on the front. Walker has moved to 9 under for the tournament, tied with Fred Couples just three strokes off the lead. – Helen Ross
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Jimmy Walker has bounced back well after a disappointing final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week.
He started Sunday one stroke off Steve Marino’s lead and played with him in the final group. But Walker ended up shooting a 75 and tumbled down the leaderboard into a tie for ninth.
At the same time, though, that was Walker’s second top-10 of the season. And he’s on the leaderboard again Friday at the Northern Trust Open, tied for fifth at 4 under and three strokes off the lead.
Maybe a positive attitude helps. Here’s what he tweeted on Tuesday.
@ JimmyWalkerPGA Thanks everyone. It was a difficult day but we learned a lot. I can't wait for my favorite course all, Riviera. – Helen Ross
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Bill Murray got "pro shop credit" when his team won low gross on Monday at the annual pro-am to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.
"I'll get a vest or something that's marked down," Murray said, chuckling, noting that he'd won all sorts of things but "nothing I could cash in at a pawn shop."
Sunday night, though, Murray got to take home a big piece of Waterford crystal, a replica of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am trophy, after he and D.A. Points won the team portion of the event. Of course, Points got the real thing, too, when he finished 15 under to beat Hunter Mahan by two.
By the time the two got to the 18th hole Sunday afternoon in the penultimate group, their pro-am victory was assured. And Points was one shot -- Steve Marino's third, which his opponent needed to hole from the 18th fairway to force a playoff -- from his long-awaited first PGA TOUR win.
So secure in the knowledge that he would win the pro-am for the first time in 20 years of trying, Murray sized up a lengthy putt for par on the 72nd hole and launched into the Carl Spackler commentary mode he made famous in "Caddyshack." It was a classic moment.
"I was remembering that ... a few years ago I had a putt to make the cut, and just as I lined up over the putt, some guy in the stands says, 'You're Carl,'" Murray recalled Sunday evening as he sipped a glass of red wine in the interview room.
"And it's really, it's bad, because you can't not do it. You can't not do it. It's sort of like a four-footer with a little bit of break in it, so I had to do, you know, tears in his eyes, a putt to make the cut, the sea otters and the harbor seals, paddling in attention waiting for this young strong boy to hopefully make a dream come true, seal the deal, as it were.
"And went on and on and on and then I made the putt which I can't believe I could even hit it."
Murray made plenty of putts as he played with Points this week. But he credits a tip that he got from Vijay Singh on Thursday evening with helping turn his game around. He said he completely lost his swing midway through the first round, so he had headed to the range where the World Golf Hall of Famer stepped in.
"Big, flying mud and everything, it was terrible," Murray said. "... I've known Vijay a long time and I'm friendly with him. And I would never go like, ‘Hey, you big Fijian, help me out here.’
"But he saw me, sort of struggling and he came over and he said one thing, and I did it, and then about three minutes later he says another thing, and I did it and then about four minutes later, he said another thing and I did it, and I never hit the ball that well in my entire life. And I just thought, holy cow, I don't know how you can play this long and get something that late that can work.
"That's basically why I'm up here today drinking wine and looking for another glass." – Helen Ross
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – D.A. Points two-putted for a clutch par at the 18th hole Sunday, then, as is his custom, waved to the crowd and thanked them for coming as he walked toward the scorer’s trailer.
He kissed his wife and gathered his 1-year-old daughter into his arms. Points’ win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – the first of his PGA TOUR career – was all but assured.
Minutes later, the win was official after Steve Marino hit his third shot on the 72nd hole in the Pacific Ocean. Marino, who was the overnight leader, had needed to hole the shot for eagle to force a playoff.
Points finished 72 holes at 15 under which was two strokes ahead Hunter Mahan, who closed with a 66. The critical shot in his round of 67 was the one he holed from 100 yards at the par-5 14th for an eagle that put him in the lead for good.
“Pebble Beach may be the most iconic place in America to play golf and to win here is just a dream come true and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity,” Points said. The victory sends him to Augusta National to play in the Masters for the first time, too.
Points also won the pro-am portion of the tournament with comedian Bill Murray. He said throughout the week that Murray kept him loose, and the pairing worked wonders.
In fact, Points said he was getting really nervous on the 16th green Sunday after that eagle and birdie on the two previous holes had lifted him two strokes ahead of the pack. He was facing a par putt and the nerves were running rampant.
“My caddie asked me, how do you feel and I said, not very good,” Points recalled. “And I stood over a long par putt and I hollered over at Bill like he had hollered at me a few times this week; ‘The crowd would be happy if you could make that.’ That loosened me up and (he) hit a great putt and almost went in. That helped.”
Points parred in for the double victory -- the pro-am win was a first for the “Caddyshack” star, as well. The last celebrity to win the pro-am competition was musician Kenny G in 2001 when he played with Phil Mickelson.
"I knew the only chance D.A. had to win was if we could make it through the entire week without asking him what the initials D.A. stood for, and I didn't, and he's the champion," Murray joked.
"It's really fun to win. It's pretty easy to have fun here. I honestly didn't know what to do the last couple of holes. I felt like my mind and body left and I didn't know how to behave.” – Helen Ross
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson made a bid, but he could never get closer than two strokes on Sunday during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Mickelson got to 10 under for the tournament when he made a 3-footer for birdie at the 10th hole. Steve Marino, at the time, was leading at 12 under. But Mickelson couldn’t go any lower, making two bogeys coming in on the way to a 71 and an 8-under finish.
Mickelson now has two top-10s in three starts as he heads to Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open, which begins Thursday at historic Riviera Country Club. He also said after his round Sunday that he will play in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The final group has six holes remaining, and the race has tightened considerably at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Steve Marino just missed the green at the par-3 12th hole, chipped on and missed a 21-footer for par to drop back into a three-way tie for the lead at 12 under. Also in that group at D.A. Points and Hunter Mahan, who is 5 under through 15 holes.
Bryce Molder and Jimmy Walker are one stroke behind while Alex Cejka and Tom Gillis are tied at 10 under. Of the top seven players on the leaderboard only Mahan has won a PGA TOUR event.
The leader in the clubhouse is Nick Watney, who shot 67 on Sunday to finish at 9 under. If there is a playoff, the holes would be Nos. 18, 17 and 18.