PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- There’s still a long way to go in the second round here at Pebble Beach, but Charlie Wi looks like he’s picking up right where he left off in the first round.
Wi is 2 under through his first seven holes at Pebble Beach, where he started on the back nine -- and holed out for eagle from 114 yards on his second shot on the par-4 13th for a bounce back eagle after a bogey one hole earlier. Wi then added a birdie on the par-4 15th.
Right behind Wi at 10 under on the leaderboard are Danny Lee and Dustin Johnson, both 1 under through six and five holes, respectively, at Spyglass Hill.
Three others, including Hunter Mahan, are two shots off the pace. Mahan of course finished second here last year, and he’s off to a good start this season coming into this event off a tie for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Most of the focus Thursday was on the 2012 PGA TOUR season debut of Tiger Woods, who opened with a solid but unspectacular 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill -- the toughest of the three courses in the rotation here. At the end of the day, though, Dustin Johnson, Charlie Wi and Danny Lee were the ones sitting atop the leaderboard at 9 under.
Lee and Johnson did their damage on the par-72 Pebble Beach, while Wi, who flirted with a 59 much of the day, shot a course-record 61 on the par-70 Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Johnson of course has some pretty strong history here with wins in 2009 (rain-shortened) and 2010. Both years he opened strong with a 64 and 65, respectively. Thursday was ahead of that thanks to a 6-under start through his first six holes.
“Today I would have liked any golf course,” Johnson said. “but I love being out here. I love the courses. They all set up very well for me.
“I feel comfortable on them, especially off the tees. All the greens out here I’m really comfortable with reading them. I think I see the putts very well.”
To that point, Johnson took just 24 putts while hitting 14 greens in regulation.
Lee and Wi putted well, too, needing just 24 and 22 putts, respectively.
The 63 by Lee, a rookie this year after spending last season on the Nationwide Tour, was the lowest of his career. But he’s had success in AT&T events before, tying for seventh in the 2009 AT&T National.
“I was struggling for a couple of years on how to make low scores, especially out here,” Lee said. “I kind of learned to play a little bit better the last four weeks. I was playing good the last four weeks; it just didn’t really happen for me.”
As for Woods. he felt he left some shots out there, but he was generally happy with his play, especially the way he drove it with 11 of 14 fairways hit.
“I didn’t give myself enough looks when I had wedges in my hand,” Woods said. “I have to do a better job of that.
“This is generally the harder of the courses. Hopefully I can get it going over there Monterey and over to Pebble. [Friday] will be an important day to put it together and make some birdies.“
Charlie Wi had already shot 61 on the PGA TOUR -- he did it at the Humana Challenge in 2009 -- but he had a shot at history on Thursday.
Wi arrived at the 16th tee at Monterey Peninsula at 9 under on the par-70 course. If he could birdie two of the last three holes, he'd become the sixth player to shoot 59 on TOUR.
Alas, Wi parred the next two holes. After parring the 500-yard par-4 16th, his birdie putt on the par-4 17th just burned the cup. He parred the 18th to finish at 61, but set the all-time tournament record in the process. The previous low at Monterey Peninsula was Jeff Maggert's 62 in 2011.
Over at Pebble Beach, rookie Danny Lee just missed a birdie putt on the par-4 ninth that would have tied the course record.
PGA TOUR rookie Danny Lee is 9 under with two holes to go at Pebble Beach, but since he teed off on the back nine, he faces two of the toughest holes on the course. After missing a short birdie putt on the par-5 sixth, lee birdied the seventh to become the first player at 9 under.
Moments later, Charlie Wi hit 9 under on the Monterey Course, which is playing just a tick easier. He needs two birdies on the last three holes -- all par-4s -- to become the sixth player in TOUR history to shoot 59.
Lee, a former U.S. Amateur champion, has missed three cuts in four starts this season.
Jhonattan Vegas shoots an 8-under 63 to tie William McGirt for the overnight lead.